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While I questioned if my desire for personal gains was too selfish I never once questioned what I would gain.

There is much to be gained from being brave and challenging yourself and the safe conventions that you have grown into. Those people that have had challenges and found themselves and their success despite of – or because of – those challenges are strong people. I want to be among their ranks.

My mom and dad, Margaret and Jay Bethel.

My mom and dad, Margaret and Jay Bethel.

The first people I saw be brave and change their life in a big way was my mom and dad when they opened their book store. Our family did not have a lot of money and needed to make a change. Both of my parents were independent, creative people and they went out on a limb, put almost everything on the line, and opened a business. With their hard work the business grew slowly and steadily and in its best years was quite successful. I saw them create something from nothing. I saw them be brave. And it always stayed with me.

They created other businesses and redefined themselves in other ways too. With them as role models it seemed natural to make your own way, repeatedly. But I didn’t really appreciate it until recently.

I’ve been thinking about the guilt I felt in walking away from a good job and the financial stability it brought. Among many things I’ve been thinking about my parents and what they would have done in this situation. I know they were proud of the career I’d developed and I know they played a great role in my journey. It felt ungrateful to just toss it aside.

But the truth is I was getting comfortable and was not challenged often enough. I was not growing. I cannot trade comfort for growth – it’s too expensive.

My parents may have been forced to make their own way while I was fortunate enough to choose my way but whatever the driving force I see it as a brave decision. My journey will present new challenges and force me to grow in new ways. I am very excited for this growth.

I have not yet defined what success means along my new path but as far as personal growth goes I hope I become as brave and accomplished as my role models.

Here’s to enriching one’s perspective.