So often, we get busy with our day to day lives and don’t step back to look at the big picture. Are you enjoying life? Or does life feel like a struggle? Do you wake each day thinking, “Today I have to…”” or do you wake thinking, “Today I get to…” There is a big difference.

I recently coached a client most people would describe as successful. Married with two children, Christina* worked as a registered nurse supervisor. She lives in a nice neighborhood, drives a late model SUV, and recently traveled to Hawaii with her family.

But, Christina felt unhappy. She did not enjoy her work anymore. She liked her co-workers and she received plenty of recognition for her efforts at work. But, she felt something missing.

Christina’s job was the end result of a series of choices Christina made over the last fifteen years.

When faced with an opportunity, Christina always made the most “sensible” choice. Her series of sensible choices landed her in an “okay” job and an “okay” life. But, many days, she came home feeling depleted. Her job drained her energy. Some days, she did not want to go to work. Many days, she had a gnawing voice telling her something was missing from her life. Many days, she woke up thinking, “Today, I have to…”

When Christina came to coaching, we had an honest conversation about what Christina really wanted. What a powerful conversation!

For the first time in years, Christina gave herself permission to dream. Although she liked being a nurse, it was not her first career choice. Highly creative, with an entrepreneurial spirit, Christina felt boxed in by the structure of her job. She really wanted to start her own business.

For the first time in her life, Christina made a choice many might consider to be “un-sensible.” Christina decided to start her own business as a wedding planner.

Christina did not do this hastily. She spent months learning about business, researching the market in her area, talking to other small business owners and developing a solid back-up plan in case her business failed. She did all of this while she continued to work in her nursing job.

In the process, something amazing happened!

In spite of taking on even more work as she developed her business and worked full-time, Christina felt excited and energized. She woke up each morning looking forward to the day ahead. Maybe that day she would have lunch with another business owner. Or, maybe she would spend time working on her business plan after her children went to bed. It really didn’t matter how much time Christina devoted to her business on a given day. Christina got to do something everyday that excited her.

By the time Christina walked away from her steady paycheck, she had so much momentum going, fear no longer consumed her. Even though Christina faced plenty of obstacles and financial risk as she developed her business, she persisted. It did not take long before Christina made more money from her business in one week than she made from a month working as a nurse.

Christina’s success is not effortless. She works very hard at it. But, to Christina, it feels effortless. Christina loves what she does each day. She is pursuing her passion.

Did you wake this morning thinking, “Today, I get to…” or did you wake thinking, “Today, I have to…?” Those two thoughts highlight the difference between thriving and surviving. When you wake thinking, “I get to…,” you’re having fun in your life and work. You’re experiencing each day as a new opportunity to get to do what you love. Work can be fun and when it is, you thrive.

It’s your life. Are you having fun?

*Name and identifying information changed. Used with client’s permission.

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