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There are times I wonder if it’s just me.

Is it just me who has given up reading fiction, even though I desperately need the mental escape, because my stack of unread self-improvement books is just too high?

Am I the only one who occasionally dreads unexpected calls, even from friends, because I feel like my life cannot absorb even one more thing?

Does anyone else lament their exhaustion, even if only privately, while simultaneously committing to big, impress-the-pants-off-everyone dreams?

I have published articles on why you need a to-be list instead of a to-do list and how self-improvement can ruin your life. I have considered unconventional advice such as how to relax by doing more. I have promoted time management methods that worked in the short term, but clearly failed me in the long term.

Today I stand before you to say I was wrong.

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“I learned that it was in hard times that people usually changed the course of their life; in good times, they frequently only talked about change. Hard times forced them to overcome the doubts that normally gave them pause. It surprised me how often we hold ourselves back until we have no choice.”—Po Bronson, from his book What Should I Do With My Life?

I made the decision to change careers just hours after suffering my second miscarriage in a year.

I’d talked about my career frustrations for years, but it wasn’t until I literally had death staring me in the face that I found the courage to make a decision.

I’ve interviewed dozens of career changers, and found similar circumstances. Brian Clark waited until he almost died from a head wound. My friend Larry Warrenfelz made his leap after six rounds of cancer, two amputations, and a brain-stem stroke.

I want to spare you the agony of feeling you can’t change until life gets that bad.

It was this idea that led me to start the No Regrets Career Academy. If I could prevent just one person from having to go through a major trauma en route to their career shift, that was well worth the effort for me.

What I discovered once I started coaching clients surprised me.

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It’s become almost cliche to say you want to change the world.

But for you, it’s different. You know deep down that you have something of value to offer. You’re passionate. You’re hungry to make a difference and you’re willing to work hard to make it happen.

So why isn’t it happening?

You tell yourself you have a job to do, maybe a family to feed, and that doesn’t leave a lot of time for world changing. And when you’re being really honest with yourself, you admit you just don’t know what to do.

A vague kind of stress gnaws at you. You know it’s ridiculous, but there’s a part of you that expects to be the next Martin Luther King Jr. or Jo Salter.

And the gap between what’ve you’ve done to foster change and what you feel you should be able to do is driving you crazy.

I get it. As an overachiever, I’ve always had big dreams of changing the world too.

Then I realized those big dreams were just holding me back.