Health & Wellness Articles

Be Ready When Opportunity Knocks

Take Risks to Take Your Life to the Next Level

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One of life's biggest ironies is how often people complain about their circumstances, yet rarely do anything about them.  It's not that they don't have good intentions, or the desire for change isn't great. It's that change is scary and risky.  Even when we're unhappy with our current situation, we are familiar with it. Change is just so unknown!
For this reason, we often miss opportunities, even when they are staring us right in the face.  Let me share with you a story about my client, Laurie.  Frustrated and burnt out from a very stressful job, Laurie found herself with little energy or time to work on her wellness goals.
Working in the face of constant deadlines led to lots of eating on the run, convenience foods and stress munching.  Extraordinarily long hours made getting to the gym difficult.   The only enjoyment Laurie got from her work was the huge paycheck she received at the end of the week.  Of course, she had no time to spend it on entertainment or shopping.  Although her savings was growing, her happiness was declining rapidly.
The one bright spot in Laurie's week was the volunteer work she did with underprivileged children on Saturday mornings.  Despite the hectic schedule she kept, she never missed that appointment. She also served on the organization's board, made it to every meeting and did all the bookkeeping for them.

I was fascinated that although she complained about having too much on her plate, Laurie never entertained the idea of giving up her volunteer work.  It was the one place she got to use her strengths, forget her daily concerns, and have fun!
Laurie and I began coaching around the idea of looking for another job.  As so many others, Laurie had a vision of a better way, even a clear picture of what she would need to get there, but she was so often frozen in her progression. At times, she was desperate to switch gears, and yet sometimes ambivalent about making the change. 
The more we talked about it, the more her confusion and worry mounted.  What if I can't find a job that pays as well as this one? Could I make do with less? What if I think the new job sounds great, and it turns out to be just as stressful as this one? "What ifs" were keeping Laurie exactly where she was--except now, on top of everything, she was feeling frustrated and annoyed at herself for being "too scared" to try something new.
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About The Author

Ellen Goldman Ellen Goldman
Ellen founded EllenG Coaching, LLC to help individuals struggling with health issues that can be impacted by positive lifestyle change, such as weight loss, stress management, exercise, and life/work balance. As a certified professional wellness coach and certified personal trainer, Ellen holds a BS and Masters in Physical Education and is certified by ACSM, AFAA, and Wellcoaches Corporation. Visit her at Get her complimentary report, 52 Tips, Tools & Tricks to Permanent Weight Loss Without Going on a Diet, at

Member Comments

  • ASLANGEL1030
    Is there a way to print this article in a one-page format? I need it to remind myself I am worth it! - 6/3/2014 11:43:19 AM
  • Good one! - 2/27/2014 6:49:36 AM
  • Great article! This is exactly what I needed to read tonight! - 10/13/2013 11:08:24 PM
  • This was a really great article. - 7/23/2013 7:05:48 PM
  • This was a really great article. - 7/23/2013 7:05:24 PM
  • ''Defining Your Core Values." link is broken - 6/10/2013 10:43:22 PM
  • I totally agree w/BLUEJEAN99 and also--could not access the core values doc. Not sure why I couldn't access it and am wondering if anybody else had that issue. But still, good article. :) - 2/15/2013 1:49:56 PM
  • Great article! Thank you. - 11/8/2012 8:08:35 PM
  • Thanks for this great article. I have struggled with almost every category in my life and have certainly missed out on many opportunities because of fear of taking risks. I don't want to be in that "rocking chair" with only regrets to remember. - 10/30/2012 3:57:37 PM
  • Thank you for the article, though Ayn Rand is not someone I would ever want to emulate in any way. There are many other smarter, kinder people to draw motivational quotes from! - 7/21/2012 1:58:10 PM
    This was a great article! I've just decided to pursue my dream of a being an antiques dealer and I am amazed at how opportunities keep opening for the me the more I move forward! Love the "rocking chair test"- that's how I finally decided to do this! - 7/17/2012 2:21:12 PM
  • Loved this article. Have printed it for reference and emailed it to others and interesting enough, I read this article at the right time in my life as I am at that moment in time where I am crossing the fear line and have started to make those changes and go for the opportunities. I thank spark people for the support and assistance in getting to this point/feeling in my life!! Laura - 7/17/2012 7:31:46 AM
  • I have been straying a tad from my plan of exercising and eating right. I haven't been taking the time to plan things ahead which makes meals and exercising easier to make happen every day.

    I LOVED THE CORE VALUE work sheet!! I've heard a lot about how to make decisions based on your core values but wasn't sure what the were really. I can see how making decisions could be a lot easier now!

    What a great way to start the day! A new mind set.............T
    hank you. - 7/17/2012 4:49:27 AM
  • GAYLE119
    wished I had cared more about myself when I was younger....I can see the roads not taken and things might have been different - 6/12/2012 4:49:36 AM
  • I liked this article until the mention of Ayn Rand. There are a lot of hateful things that have been written by this person, so I'll just have to wait for something more suitable to my taste. . .. - 6/7/2012 6:42:23 PM

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