Extend the radius for your pursuit of happiness

The race to the finish line

Many of us live a good life and there is no serious reason to complain.  Overall, life is good and we feel like we are the lucky ones.  Although we struggle with problems, we feel strong enough to deal with the life’s challenges.  There are diseases, losses, financial worries, heartbreaks and many other painful experiences, but we accept those hurdles as part of the race we are in – the race to the finish line – the end of our lives.

Yet ask yourself; must life really be a race?  If we slow down, we still get to the end, but it might take longer and can be a much more enjoyable experience.  My mother used to tell me, “Don’t live your life so fast.”  In those days when I was young, I did not understand what she meant, but today, many years older and after many sprints, I fully understand what her message was all about.  There are hopefully many more years to go with my best intention to slow down and let others pass me in the fast lane.  Today I know it is not about winning a race but about enjoying the run.

No matter if you are in the fast lane or slowing down, I want to ask you if you have ever considered leaving the beaten path to try unfamiliar tracks.  Of course, it feels good to know what to expect when walking down known paths, because we believe we can anticipate the hardships and obstacles that await us.  (Just a belief because in reality we have little choice in what challenges we will meet.)  We prefer to stick to what we know and stay in our comfort zone.  Why take risks by trying something new?

There are also some of us who want to leave the beaten path, asking the question:  is that it?  Is there more, anything new I can explore?  Should I change the direction, my speed or simply look for new ways to go?

Life is an adventure

This blog is dedicated to these adventurers who dare to turn into a direction they don’t know yet.

Let me share with you my experience of what happened when I left the familiar.  I must admit that the first step towards the “new direction” did not happen by my free will.  Outer forces pushed me into the cold water and I had to learn to swim in a wild ocean instead of my favorite heated pool.

About 8 years ago my beloved husband’s career as a partner in a major international law firm came to an end, and he felt it necessary to leave Germany and return to his native California with me and our son.  I hated the idea, but the circumstances did not leave us much choice.  Change was in the air and it was on us to decide which direction to go.  We decided to move to California, especially for me a journey into the unknown.  We did not have a house or a job.  We did not have friends and had just a few family members who lived five hours away from where we decided to relocate.  This was a fresh start, to put it in friendly words, and at the time I was convinced that this was in fact a crappy idea.  There was no guarantee for luck and happiness.  The California sun was the only fact we could rely on.

What felt like a nightmare at the beginning, however, has turned into a wonderful adventure.  Now, eight years later and after many struggles, we know that we made the right decision.  We were happy in Germany, but we are also very happy where we are now.  We exchanged one happiness for a new happiness and we love it.  Yes, the loss of the familiar was hard, and it took me at least two years to gain a feeling of belonging, but it has been totally worth it.  We have created a new life for our family and we have enjoyed every step on the way.

With the knowledge from this experience and having learned that leaving the beaten path brings adventure and joy, I have become far more curious about what else is out there.  I have lost my fear of the unknown, and instead we became friends.

My question to you:  Why don’t you extend your radius for your pursuit of happiness and leave the beaten path.  There will always be life’s nasty surprises waiting for us no matter if we stay where we are or not.  There is no guarantee for happiness on any path, but I can guarantee you that the chances for you to find happiness and fulfillment are greater by being adventurous and open to what the world has to offer.  There are so many things we can learn in life, and life-long learning, experiencing new things, countries or people is what makes us grow and lets us live a more intense life – a life worth living.

Start your new mission

You can start this new mission in little baby steps.  Try a new dish in your favorite restaurant or, even better, try a new restaurant.  Open up towards different ways of thinking, change your perspective on life and let go of the familiar.  Even if just for a little while, try something new and experience what this change does to you.  Sometimes it is enough to change your regular seat at the conference table to gain a new perspective.  You will be amazed what this change in your routine will do to you.  You might even skip your beloved vacation in your favorite hotel, always lying on the same sunbed by the pool, and instead travel to a country or city or place you have never seen, in a hotel you don’t know, or maybe you finally go on a camping trip or a cruise wondering why you have not done that before.

There are many ways to extend the radius for your pursuit of happiness.  Start your journey into the unknown today.  The tickets are free, take a deep breath and go for it…..

Be a woman and act like one.  Please tell us about your pursuit of happiness and allow us to learn from your story.

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About Hertha Wolff-Arend

I am a business coach and writer located in Paso Robles, California. I am the author of the book Be a woman and act like one. Succeeding in business and life’’ and I write a blog for women with the same title. I give motivational speeches and offer leadership and personality trainings to women. I also work with business owners and managers to support them in their leadership skills and personal development. As a strategic consultant, I also help companies with their communication and marketing strategy. Born and raised in Germany, I spent most of my adult life in Europe. I have a German university degree in languages and economics and I worked for many years in the advertising industry as one of the few female managing directors in Germany for major international advertising agencies such as Young&Rubicam, TBWA and Bates. My client list consisted of mainly blue chip clients, where I was responsible for their communications strategies and the development and execution of the advertising concepts. Just to name a few clients: Lufthansa, Danone, Kraft Foods, Bosch, Singapore Airlines, Ericsson, Campbells etc. In 2004 I relocated with my husband and son to California. I graduated from New Venture West in San Francisco as a Certified Integral Coach and started my own coaching practice in 2007. I am fluent in German and English and have conversational skills in Spanish. Aside from my dedication to work and family, I am a passionate dressage rider. I am devoted to supporting women in business, with a focus on women in the lower and middle management who are aiming at a career in the higher ranks or who want to develop their own business.
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