Earlier this year I got to coach a remarkable young woman in her 20s who was searching for her “what next?”. 

The previous year she had lost both parents and a grandmother to cancer yet despite this adversity she continued to help friends and family members deal with their problems and at work, she was making a real difference to young vulnerable women who had fallen on hard times.

Despite her incredible resilience and strength, the burden of responsibility had started to take its toll. 

What she learnt about her “what next?” was that it was time to put on her own oxygen mask first, take responsibility for her own needs and follow her dreams.

Last night I arrived home to find a postcard on my doormat from her. Here is what it said:

Merry Christmas Denise. I’m having an amazing time. We’ve had a 6-week campervan trip around New Zealand. It was adventure-packed. We skydived and bungee jumped, so fun and terrifying, definitely something I will remember forever. Now in Sydney and then heading up to Byron Bay for Christmas. Thank you for everything you did to help me get here. Have a lovely Christmas.

Tragic things happen in life that we have no control over. They happen to good people. It is one of those realities of being human that we secretly hope we never have to experience.

Life can change in a heartbeat for the worse and in another heartbeat, it can change positively. We can’t control every aspect of our life, but we can choose how we respond.

As we head into a new year and a new decade, I invite you to reflect on where in your life might you need to put your own needs first? What is that one decision you could make in a heartbeat that moves you more towards your goals and dreams?