What Can You Learn from the Pivotal Points in Your Life?

What Can You Learn from the Pivotal Points in Your Life?

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When was the last time you stopped to analyze the major events in your life, those instances where you faced a fork in the road and had to make an important choice that transcended the rest of your life?

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Analyzing these pivotal points can provide useful insights on how you behaved under pressure, how you reacted to a negative event, and how you found worthy alternatives where there did not seem to be any.

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These insights will help you identify opportunities for growth, where you can take 100 percent responsibility and accountability for the decisions in your life. This is the first of the three steps I recommend you follow to define and achieve your mission in life. The other two are to develop and record in writing your personal mission statement and to live your mission 24/7.

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From the several pivotal points in my life, I have picked three to share with you in this and future newsletters. Each of them provided me with important lessons, some of which could be applicable to your life as well. More important, I am sharing them with you so they can motivate you to identify those pivotal points in your professional or personal life and draw insights and lessons that can help you enrich the rest of your life.

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The first one I want to share happened when I was 18. I had been attending college in Peru for a year, but my school (and the country) was going through a difficult time. We had lost a semester due to political unrest and strikes. With no signs of improvement, I went to the American Embassy in Lima and applied for a scholarship to a U.S. school.

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After a year-long process of documenting financial need and transcripts, taking tests and undergoing several interviews, I was granted a free tuition scholarship to the University of Kansas. However, I was expected to pay for room and board for the four years of study abroad. Between my parents’ savings and my own, we had enough to barely cover the first year. I was scared of running out of money in a foreign country and told my parents that perhaps I should stay and finish undergraduate school in Peru. “Things will surely improve at my school,” I said. My parents asked me to think about the pros and cons of going to Kansas. On the one hand, they said, I may indeed ran out of money at the end of the first year and have to come back. But I would have completed two school semesters that I could transfer to my Peruvian school. I would have also perfected my English. On the other hand, once in Kansas, I could find part-time jobs and additional financial aid to fund room and board for the remaining school years.

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I reluctantly accepted and, sure enough, it all worked out. After three wonderful years in Kansas, I was able to graduate as a chemical engineer. This experience and the follow-up MBA became a strong foundation for my nearly three decades in the corporate world with P&G, IBM and Microsoft.

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Through this experience, I learned the following lessons:

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    Have meaningful goals. In this case, the goal was to earn an engineering degree. This drove me to look for alternatives when the current situation was not optimal.

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    Involve others in your decisions. Had I not had my loving parents paint the two scenarios, I would have likely reacted to my fear of the unknown, avoided change, and stayed in Peru.

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    Act based on a plan. Once I decided to go to Kansas, I was committed to two priorities: getting the best possible grades, and covering my room and board expenses. For the latter, I took whatever job I was able to get and found additional financial aid.

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I want to close this newsletter with a quote credited to the Roman censor Sallust (1st century BC): “Every man is the architect of his own fortune.” As you embark on this journey, count on me to help you succeed.

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In the next newsletter, I will share suggestions on how to improve the work and life balance of people in the workforce. Stay tuned!

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Percy M. Cannon\nAuthor, Business Consultant and Professional Coach\nwww.cannonbalance.com

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PS1: Use this link to ask questions, post comments, and request topics you would like to see in future issues.\nPS2: Use this link to subscribe to future newsletter issues or review previous ones.\nPS3: Use this link if you want to buy my book, The Business Apostolate, Insights to Define and Achieve your Mission in Life with a special discount for newsletter readers. Just enter code UN2WS547.

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