Do you find language as fascinating as I do? English is one of the most complicated yet interesting languages. It’s likely to have more words than any comparable language. I often find myself looking up words and researching their origin while I’m reading and writing. Sometimes I stumble upon a truly life-changing word, like kairos.
Kairos is Greek for time. But not just any time. Kairos is the opportune moment for decisive action. Studies trace the root to archery. It’s the “moment in which an arrow may be fired with sufficient force to penetrate a target.” It’s that perfect moment in which our lives can change forever.
Can you think of any kairos moments in your life?
Maybe it was a job loss that propelled you to find your passion. Or the end of a relationship that set you up for a happy and joy-filled life. Perhaps a devastating loss sent you down the path of nurturing and caring for others. Or a financial win that gave you the freedom to create the family life you’ve always dreamed of.
We don’t always recognize these moments at the time. But looking back, we can identify the exact moment in which massive change began.
It’s important to look for and be open to these moments. We can learn a lot about ourselves and what we’re meant to do during these times of change. These moments are unique to each individual. My hope is that by sharing my story, you’ll be able to embrace your own kairos moments to create a life you truly love.
I’ve experienced many kairos moments throughout my life. I didn’t recognize most of them until I began looking back to try to find them. There are two specific moments I want to share with you today. I picked these because they created who I am today. These moments helped build the foundation I teach and coach on. They also reshaped my perspective on life.
Everything I teach and write about today began in 2011. Until that moment, I believed that you were supposed to work for 40 years, at a job you more than likely hate. While you’re there, you’ll need to save a good chunk of money so that hopefully you can retire someday. THEN if you’re lucky, you can do all of those things you’ve always dreamed of doing.
I was famous for saying, “when I retire, I’m going to”:
- Enjoy Life
The truth was that other than hiking on vacations, I didn’t do any of these things. I was too busy working and saving for someday.
That summer, while hiking the beautiful North Shore of Lake Superior, I slid on loose gravel and rolled my ankle. After a grueling two-hour hike back to the car, I began to feel like I had been living my life all wrong.
I was saving all of the things I wanted to do for someday. But what if someday never came? Not to mention that I probably wouldn’t be able to pursue those dreams if I kept living the same unhealthy, workaholic, lifestyle.
If I wanted to garden in retirement, I should see if I enjoy it now. If I plan to hike around Lake Superior when I’m 65, I better start training today. What’s the point of waiting to start living a life I actually enjoy?
That was the catalyst I needed. Little by little, my husband Jer and I changed our entire lives. We found financial freedom, are the healthiest we’ve ever been, are building great relationships, and growing to become people we’re proud of. Most importantly, we’re enjoying the journey.
The second kairos moment that brought me here was in 2014. As Jer and I were wrapping up a celebratory trip to Hawaii, I found myself looking at apartments. There was no way I was going back to my soul-crushing job at The Worst Company in America to Work For. (Believe it or not, this is a real thing.)
I told Jer my plan. I would stay in Hawaii and he could go back and sell our house and all our crap. When he was done, he’d come back and we’d live happily ever after in paradise.
Jer asked what I’d do for work. I said, “I don’t know, work in an ice cream shop. I don’t care. Anything’s better than going back to that job.” It occurred to me that I was stressed and miserable 49 weeks of the year, just so I could enjoy occasional three-week vacations. It wasn’t worth it anymore.
With some prodding from my dear husband, I grudgingly went back to Minnesota. When we got back, we began creating an exit plan from that soul-crushing job. It’s amazing how quickly things happen when you make a decision and start taking action.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe where we are today and just how far we’ve come. Simple dreams like starting a garden and hiking have transformed into big dreams like eventually settling down in paradise. Like everyone, our lives are far from perfect. But we’re genuinely happy, enjoy each day, and are excited about the future.
Throughout our lives, we all have moments where we say, “I can’t do this anymore,” or “this shouldn’t be so hard.” Pay attention to these moments. If you let them, they could be the catalyst for exciting changes. Changes that will help you create the life you deserve. A life you are proud of and love living!
Author’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2015 and has been completely revamped for relevance, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.