1 Key to a Better Future

This is a guest post written by Jason Owens. Jason researches and encourages entrepreneurs. His thought-provoking blog articles on overcoming entrepreneurial challenges can be found at JasonROwens.com.

I never set out to “grow” into a better person. All I wanted was to start a business.

Cord of Three Strands

While reading through the IntentionallyRefined.com article Be Superior to Your Former Self, I reflected on the long journey my wife and I have been on in pursuit of working in our passions every day.

The part of the article that really stood out to me was “…what matters is that you are working on you. You intentionally make changes in your life for you.”

Karen and I were like most newly married couples. We were starting careers and finding our footing in our professional lives. We bought a modest starter home and settled into the routine that becomes so common.

Work, fix dinner, and cut the grass.

That’s all we had time and money to do.

And this worked…for a while.

I can’t quite put words to why I arrived at my mid-life crisis at age 28. Corporate America was treating me quite well, but all of a sudden I could see the next 30 years of my professional life playing out like a movie montage. I saw one endless string of meetings, design reviews, cost savings initiatives, and product launches. I started to hyperventilate.

I had to get some air.

What makes this story even more poignant is that my wife and I hit this point at nearly the same time. Turns out that she was looking for a change in her professional life as well.

I cover this journey in far more detail in my book, Finding My Voice, which I am giving away as a freebie to Intentionally Refined readers.

We sold our house and moved 500 miles away so I could become an entrepreneur, and we could both get a change in our routines.

But the story takes an unexpected turn.

My venture folded about as quickly as it started, and Karen and I quickly found ourselves lost in the woods without a map. Neither one of us would have chosen this path, yet there we were.

We had two choices in front of us — evolve or stagnate.

Here is what happened for me from the months leading up to our move through the past several years:

  1. Engineer form Corporate America feels need to spread his wings
  2. Aspiring entrepreneur with one failed venture under his belt
  3. Business improvement expert who morphed into a business coach
  4. Financial advisor turned traveling corporate trainer
  5. Researcher, author and speaker on Entrepreneurship

Here is my wife’s path during the same period:

  1. Educator and classroom teacher
  2. Part-time classroom teacher & volunteer at the city animal shelter
  3. Self-employed dog trainer
  4. Head animal trainer at the city animal shelter & sought-after public speaker

Each time we made a choice, we were moving toward roles where we could use even more and more of our unique talents and abilities. We were moving toward our future selves.

Was this easy?

No!

Most of the time we were scared out of our minds, but thrilled to be seeking the adventure anyway. What’s the 1 key to a better future? Take the first step. We were thrilled to be doing just that.

What we’ve learned over the years:

  • How to recognize opportunity in disguise.
  • That bending with the changes preserves your sanity.
  • How to be in this journey together.
  • Letting go of defeat is one of the strongest things you can do.

As I bring this article to a close I just realized that my wife and I have been intentional about stepping out to grow our skills. God, however, is the one who brings the refinement to our character.

Me, my wife, and God — a chord of three strands.

Be Intentional Today

Your one key to a better future starts by taking a single step. In what area(s) do you feel the urge to change? Take one step in that direction.

  • Does the idea of completely changing your career path sound exciting to you? Take a few minutes to write down all of the positive benefits that would come from changing.
  • Do you feel the urge to start a program that positively affects and helps others? Seek out someone that has started a program and have a conversation with them.
  • Have you ever been intrigued at the thought of doing international missions work? Call someone on the missions team at your church and ask about their most recent trip.

Being the best you that you can be often starts with just one step, and I encourage you to take that step today.

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