Changing Direction: Five Lessons About Change to Create a Life You Love

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Change can be difficult, but do you know what’s even more difficult? Not changing when things in your life aren’t taking you in the right direction. 

As Ferris Bueller said, life goes by pretty fast. Do you really want to spend it being stuck in a life that’s not bringing you all the joy and fulfillment you dream about?  I didn’t think so.  Neither do I.

If you’ve been thinking about changing directions in any aspect of your life — career, relationships, health, or anywhere else — the lessons I’m about to share will guide you on how to proceed in a way that will successfully carry you through those changes.   

What you learn today could be exactly what you need to add greater happiness and satisfaction to your life so you can live the life you want

Lesson One: "Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” — Jim Rohn

In this quote, author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn talks about the power of taking action. It’s easy to daydream about a better life, thinking that things will magically align one day. But the truth is, the magic happens when we decide to make a change. 

You don’t have to make major life changes all at once; it’s often better not to. You can start small. Swap out one habit that’s not serving you for one that does. For example, if scrolling through your phone at night keeps you awake, try reading a book instead. Or, if you’re spending too much time in front of your television, devote a few hours each week to learning something new instead.

Remember, living a life you love is not about luck; it’s about choosing to live intentionally and make better choices, one at a time.

Lesson Two: “No matter how far you have gone on the wrong road, turn back.”—Turkish Proverb

We often stick to our guns, doggedly pursuing a path because we’ve poured so much into it, even when every sign screams it’s not right for us. It’s our stubborn nature at play, hating to admit we might have been wrong. 

But here’s the kicker—acknowledging you’re on the wrong path and daring to change direction is a sign of strength, not weakness. Stop allowing past efforts to chain you to a future that doesn’t align with who you are or want to be.  

If your gut tells you it’s time for a change, listen. It’s never too late to reroute towards a life you love.

Lesson Three: “When obstacles arise, you change your direction to reach your goal, you do not change your decision to get there.” - Zig Ziglar

Your plan A (or B or C) won’t always work out.  Everyone faces setbacks, failure, and disappointment at some point in their lives, but that doesn’t mean your goal was wrong or too high. It just means you may need to experiment with charting multiple ways to reach your goal. 

The path to our dreams isn’t always straight. Resistance — in the form of dead ends and detours—will try to convince you that your aspirations are too lofty, difficult, or simply out of reach. In these moments, faced with unforeseen barriers, your resolve is tested.  This is when you decide “how badly” you really want to change.  If your reason for making the change — your “Why” as Simon Sinek calls it — you can push through.

Do not abandon your dreams at the sight of a roadblock; instead, find a way around, over, or through it. Adaptability is key. Be willing to explore new routes, but keep your eyes on the destination. Your dreams deserve your unwavering commitment to seeing them through, regardless of twists and turns.

Our Favorite Books on Changing Directions

Lesson Four: "The key to change is to let go of fear." — Rosanne Cash

Fear is like a gatekeeper to every significant change we wish to make, holding us back with a barrage of “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios. It’s crucial to face this fear head-on, not by denying it, but by acknowledging its presence and choosing to move forward regardless. 

Wavering in your resolve because of fear almost guarantees failure. Being resolute in your decision to change is non-negotiable. 

To bolster your courage, draw on your well of resilience. Reflect on past moments when you faced challenges and emerged victorious. These memories are powerful reminders that you’ve succeeded before and can do so again.

Embrace the discomfort of change as part of the personal growth process. Doing so turns fear from a roadblock into a stepping stone, paving the way to a life you love. No matter how small, every step forward is a victory over fear.

Lesson Five: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” ― Andy Warhol

You’ve likely heard the saying, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.” That’s essentially what Andy Warhol was saying here. You can’t wait for a white night or a magic genie to come and save you. If you want to change your life, buck up, Buttercup, because this is up to you.

Waiting passively for life to improve is like expecting a painting to paint itself. The only one who can truly transform your life is you. This means taking full responsibility for where you’re at and where you want to go.

Yes, it’s daunting, but you’re stronger and more powerful than you might realize. Embrace perseverance as your ally and ditch your self-doubt

Challenging obstacles will often precede your greatest achievements. So, lean into the struggle, knowing that it’s part of sculpting a life you love. You have the power to change your life, but it requires action, persistence, and an unrelenting belief in your ability to overcome.

Staying the course, especially through discomfort and challenges, is where the magic happens. 

The more significant the change you’re making, the more likely you will face resistance. But you are a person with grit who can push through when everything in you wants to give up. It is in facing your most demanding challenges head-on that you achieve your most important breakthroughs

Examples of Famous People Who’ve Changed Directions

Are you beginning to feel inspired by the idea that you can make big changes in your life?  Or are you still fretting about how you’ll overcome your self-doubt? Maybe it’s a little of both. That’s understandable.

Perhaps these examples of famous people who’ve changed the trajectory of their lives will inspire you to believe that changing directions in your life is possible and, quite possibly, could dramatically change your life.

Arnold Schwarzenegger:

From world champion bodybuilder to Hollywood action star and then to the Governor of California, Schwarzenegger’s career path showcases dramatic changes in direction.

Julia Child:

Child worked in advertising before joining the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during World War II. It wasn’t until she was nearly 40 that she attended cooking school in France, leading to her legendary career as a chef and television personality.

Vera Wang:

Before becoming a renowned fashion designer, Wang was a figure skater and journalist. She entered the fashion industry at 40, becoming one of the leading bridal wear designers

Jeff Bezos:

Initially working in computer science on Wall Street, Bezos left his job to start Amazon.com, an online bookstore that would become one of the world’s largest e-commerce and tech companies.

Andrea Bocelli:

Bocelli graduated from the University of Pisa as a lawyer. He then changed his career to pursue music and has since become one of the most famous opera singers in the world.

Ken Jeong:

Before becoming a comedian and actor known for his role in “The Hangover” series, Jeong was a practicing physician. He changed his career direction to follow his passion for acting and comedy. .

Alan Rickman:

Before his acting career took off, Rickman was a graphic designer. He decided to pursue acting in his late 20s, attending RADA and became one of his generation’s most beloved actors.

More Quotes About Changing Direction

I love a good quote, and here are some of the best I’ve found that have inspired me to make big changes in my life.  I hope they’ll do the same for you.

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” -Dolly Parton
“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start paving another one.” -Dolly Parton
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” -Wayne W. Dyer
“Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change.” -Wayne W. Dyer
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” -Alan Watts
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” -Alan Watts
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell
“We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.” -Joseph Campbell
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” -Nathaniel Branden
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” -Nathaniel Branden
“If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.” -Lao Tzu
“If you do not change direction, you might end up where you are heading.” -Lao Tzu
“Change is hard at first, messing in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” -Robin Sharma
“Change is hard at first, messing in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.” -Robin Sharma

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