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Follow these simple secrets to change your life


Posted June 1, 2006

Defining Moments

Mark Susnow

Take a second and think about your life. Think about who you are, what you are doing and the people in your life. How satisfied are you? All of your past experiences, the people you have met and the choices you have made have contributed to who you are. Without any of these experiences you wouldn't be who you are today. Your beliefs about what is possible in your life are a reflection of these past experiences. Those moments from the past have also prepared you for the fast pace of the modern world. You have more choices than you realize. You also have more strengths than you realize. You can change how you think, what you do and who you hang out with.

Part of discovering who you are and what you are capable of requires you to reflect upon some of the key moments from your past. We all have experienced "defining moments." Those moments that define who you are and what you stand for. Those moments that help you create clarity about your life purpose and your life values. Sometimes those moments are in response to life's challenges. It's when you rise to the occasion. It's when you become the person you always wanted to be.

And at other times those moments are in the form of challenges. Challenges that force you to make a decision that ultimately determines your character and your destiny. To help you in this process of remembering and discovering I will share with you some defining moments that have contributed to my journey.

Expanding my sense of personal power was at the core.

What I mean by personal power is the ability to create the Life you want by expanding what is possible. It's the ability to consciously determine your life path and to stay on purpose. It's making a commitment to your self and keeping it. Staying on purpose requires you to say "no" to the distractions and influences that are taking you off course. This involves discipline and though challenging for almost everyone is essential. I was a smoker while in college and in law school. I wanted to quit but wasn't ready to stop. As I was preparing for the bar exam I set up a personal challenge. I knew if I was successful with this challenge my sense of personal power would be expanded. I quit smoking the day before the bar exam. Although I failed the bar exam the first time and had to take it again, I have never smoked a cigarette since. This defining moment expanded my belief in what was possible in my life.

Developing a clear sense of boundaries was the next building block.

When I was a young lawyer and struggling, I had planned a trip to Greece and Israel with my girl friend. It was going to be my first vacation since I started practicing law. My biggest client who gave me a sense of financial security wanted me to change my plans so I could complete his project sooner. He let me know that if I didn't comply with his wishes he would get someone else. The time on my calendar was already blocked out and if I didn't take the vacation now who knew when I would have another chance. I went ahead with the trip and the client got another lawyer. This defining moment for me established at a young age the importance of personal boundaries. It also established for me the importance of living a life in balance which has always been one of my strengths.

Making the decision to take time for quiet reflection was the next step.

When I was 29 my life was falling apart. I was experiencing one of the darkest periods of my life. And because of what was experiencing I was the most open and vulnerable. The next defining moment was when I decided to begin meditating. Regardless of how busy I was or what was going on in my life I always began my day with this practice. This practice has helped me integrate my many interests and responsibilities.

All of these moments as well as many others have contributed to who I am today. Of course there have been continual challenges since then and the ride has had its share of ups and downs. But what helps me get through these challenges are the decisions that I made in the "defining moments from the past." They have helped give me the inner strength and faith to navigate the challenging waters of life's journey.

I bet if you reflect back upon your life, you will discover your own defining moments. After you have revisited them, build upon them to help you discover your destiny.

Imagine making a decision today or tomorrow that can potentially define the direction your life takes in the future. What will this decision be? When will you make it?

Copyright © 2006 Mark Susnow
All Rights Reserved

Mark Susnow, formerly a trial attorney for 30 years is a coach, speaker, and group facilitator. He's inspired hundreds of people to believe in themselves and to achieve their goals and dreams. Give yourself the gift of coaching and make an investment in your future. Contact Mark to discover how you can benefit from coaching and his other services at


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