My Plan B is My Plan A: How Choices Shape Our Lives

On a recent trip to Miami, I sat at Oeno Wine Bar in the United Terminal of Newark Airport reflecting on the chain of events that led me to that very spot. I was traveling to Miami for the first in-person weekend of my professional coach training through University of Miami. I picked up a copy of The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates at Hudson News on the first leg of my flight, and as I sat reading and sipping my Chardonnay, I came across a passage that struck me: “The choices we make about the lives we live determine the kinds of legacies we leave.”

I thought about that quote and about my current life path. I was on my way to begin a new chapter in my life; one that would allow me to fulfill my purpose in helping women to become more confident in themselves. Thinking back to my original career aspirations, professional coaching was not in my plans. In fact, I didn’t even know it existed as a profession. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a doctor. I grew up watching medical dramas and Rescue 911 and reading my parents’ books on home first aid and medical conditions. I loved everything about medicine.

If you’ve read my About Me section, then you know that I didn’t become a doctor. I made choices that took me on a different path in my life and career. Choices that forever determine the legacy I leave.

I made my first choice when I decided to attend college 10 hours away from my home and family. I always wonder had I attended Temple University in Philadelphia (my second choice college), would I be a doctor today? Would I have joined a different sorority? Would I be married to someone else?

I made another choice when I decided to major in Pre-Med with a minor in Psychology. I wondered, “If I majored in Psychology instead, what would my life be like now? Would I have stumbled upon coaching anyway?” Surely I would have had a better GPA.

A third choice came when I first met my husband. A surgeon I worked with asked me to come with her to upstate New York to be her office manager. It sounded like a great way to gain some experience on the administrative side of healthcare while I applied to medical school. But I turned her down. I felt something for this man I just met and I wanted to see where things would go. Six years later, we’re very happily married with two gorgeous Birman cats.

My life would have been so different had I moved to New York so early in my career. Shortly after the decision to stay in Pennsylvania, I decided to pursue a Master’s degree in healthcare management over medical school. My Plan B had become my Plan A.

I still think about that decision and wonder if I made the right choice. I work with doctors every day and sometimes feel pangs of jealousy and regret that I didn’t pursue medical school myself. Then I think about the amazing things I have in my life – a great relationship with my family, a loving husband, two beautiful cats, a challenging and rewarding career, and the chance to make a difference in the lives of women around the world. I may not have all of these things today if I made a different choice back then.

Our choices shape our lives. I recall being so fixated on this thought that I almost missed the first boarding group for my flight to Miami. As I settled into my seat, I reflected on the journey before me. If you asked me ten years ago (or two years ago!) if I thought I would be starting my own business as a life and confidence coach, I would have laughed. Today, I can’t imagine not taking this step. I know the legacy I want to leave, and this is the right choice to make it happen.

Be Powerful: Our choices shape our lives. The next time you find yourself at a crossroads, be bold in the choice you make.

Be Confident: Accept that things work out as they were meant to. Your Plan B (or C or D) just might be your Plan A. Roll with it!

Be You: Your action item this week – reflect on a choice you made and how your life might have turned out differently if you made a different choice instead. I would love to see your thoughts in the comments below!