Monday, August 28, 2006

Part I - Trust that Bigger Things are in Store for You--The Beach

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The majority of us have spent part of our lives not knowing what we want to do. We seem to drift aimlessly thinking that life is about paying the bills until we are presented with a set of circumstances that force us to sit up and take notice of why we are here. Some of those events are quite jolting while others represent a gentle reminder.

Have you ever had an “Ah-ha” moment where the answer you were seeking came to you in the form of a thought that flashed through your mind? You’re almost never prepared for it. You go into a situation thinking you’ll accomplish one thing but end up achieving something else entirely.

One day in 1996, in the middle of a particularly busy trading day at Merrill Lynch, I made arrangements to fly out to Florida for a well-deserved break. Eager to recharge my batteries and get away from the daily hustle and bustle of Wall Street, I couldn’t wait for the cool ocean mist to dampen my hair (I had lots and lots of it back then) and feel the hot sand beneath my feet.

The morning after arriving, I hurriedly ate a low-fat breakfast (i.e. yogurt, banana and coffee) and then headed straight to the beach. I brought with me the usual paraphernalia including a bottle of tanning lotion, an extra large beach towel and a good book. After finding myself a lounge chair, I plopped down for a full day of nothing but relaxation.

The combination of an engrossing book and the tantalizing feel of the hot sun against my pale winter skin made me comfortably drowsy. Everything in my body let go and sort of melted. The stock market slowly faded from memory and I lost all track of time.

Drifting further away from reality, my eyes grew heavier and heavier with each passing moment. No longer did I feel the weight of the book sitting on my chest. It rose up and down with each breath I took. A gentle breeze would pick up now and then to brush against my moist forehead, giving me that cool sensation. As I slid into the abyss of sub consciousness, images began to form and solidify. Characters swam into focus. They were all talking to each other and to me. My mouth opened and closed as if on autopilot, while bits of salvia involuntarily slid down my chin. I hope to God no one captured that on tape - I must have looked awful!

Then it happened.

A thought suddenly thundered its way into my head, shoving aside those dream characters like a tidal wave, stunning me with its forceful impact. Jolted out of my stupor, my eyes flew open. Bolting upright, I unconsciously wiped my mouth with the back of my hand and blinked against the now harsh sun. Then I looked around to see if I was imagining things.

Rubbing my eyes vigorously, it took a moment to realize that I was having one of those divine "AHA" moments. The thought was so clear even though it made no sense at the time. It was an inner knowing that despite my success on Wall Street, buying and selling stocks and bonds was not really my life's purpose. Instead, it was to become a motivational speaker and writer, touching many people's lives. (Note: It had not yet occurred to me that flying was part of that package - it would come later).

What was so strange is that although I had not spoken to a live audience since college fifteen years earlier nor had I ever published anything, I just knew that I was supposed to head in that direction. Every single cell in my body was tingling - I was now wide awake. I couldn't wait to return to New York to begin laying the groundwork for the future.

Despite the rousing excitement, I had some doubts, voices in my head telling me that I was crazy for doing this. It meant peanut and jelly sandwiches would be replacing expensive dinners for a very long time.

Eight months later, with only two weeks to go before Christmas, I cleaned out my office and said my goodbyes. Walking across the marble lobby of the Merrill Lynch building for the last time, I remember thinking I had no idea what would become of my future. Little did I know that I would eventually go on to become the world's first deaf instrument pilot, publish stories in 3 best-selling books and become an in-demand speaker and writer, sharing my life's experiences.

Food for thought: Trust that bigger things are in store for you if you listen to your intuition, take action and believe that things will work out despite lack of clear supporting evidence.
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Corinne Edwards said...

I think we all get these "flashes!"

But, we discard them as simply flights of fancy. We don't act.

How wonderful that you paid attention.

Thanks for reminding us!

3:59 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Corrine:

It's really exciting when those "flashes" happen. Too many of us discard them as "coincidences" and end up not paying attention to them. If only they knew!

Thanks for commenting.

Stephen

4:09 PM  

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