What if today was the day when your life changed for the better?

If you look back, I'll bet my last dollar that you all can remember one day that completely changed your path forever. That one day when your world tilted and it caused you to walk in a new direction.

I can remember mine.

It was 1979 and I was 18 years old. I had just graduated from high school and decided to take a year off before I went to college. My dysfunctional childhood had turned me into an angry teenager with no direction. I was tired of being the family ping pong ball, and I wanted to get away from everyone.

So that summer, my father sent me away to a teen outward bound program. Mostly to get me out of the hot city, but I think he hoped that it might give me a new perspective on life. Since I had nothing better to do, I agreed and spent the next 3 months in the woods hiking up mountains, canoeing down rivers and generally learning how to survive in nature.

In the middle of the program, we were all required to spend three days alone in the woods. I was given a tent, a very small bag of granola and was placed next to a stream. They checked on me a few times a day, but never spoke. Just walked by and waived.

Now something strange happens to you when you are all alone in the woods... you start to think.

The first thing I did was to hang my food up on a tree so the animals wouldn't get to it.

Then I made sure that my tent was up correctly as I didn't want to get wet if it rained, which of course it did later that night.

Then, with nothing left to do, I started to think. I reached for the notebook and pen that I was allowed to bring with me and I began to write.

My brain took me back and I examined everything that had happened to me. The memories made me happy, sad, cheerful and angry. Back and forth it went as the memories flowed through my mind.

Eventually, the garbage that I had been telling myself (and others) for years and years began to sound really stupid. It's hard to lie to yourself when you are alone with only your thoughts to keep you company.

By the end of the second day, I was finally able to see what I had become, and I didn't like her at all. She was a spoiled and angry brat who was given a hard start in life certainly, but had a lot going for her in spite of it. I remember sitting under a tree and crying for what seemed like hours. Then once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I became angry. I stomped around the woods for a while throwing sticks and rocks and yelled at the air around me.

A few hours later, totally exhausted from the emotion of it all, I found myself on a large boulder by the stream where I had pitched my tent. I can remember watching the sun set behind the mountain I was next to. I then stared at the fish in the stream and poked at the water with a stick to pass the time. My mind was numb by now and I felt empty. I had no where to go, no one to talk to, and no destination in mind.

It was just about then that it happened. I'm 49 now and I can still remember the exact moment when my entire world changed.

As I looked into the stream, a slow anger started to boil underneath my skin. It was as if something in my brain snapped. I remember thinking about what I was going to do after this solo in the woods and I decided to show everyone how wrong they were about me. A fierce determination overtook me and I remember thinking that I would show them all. I was going to become a lighthouse. I decided right then and there that I would be an example of how to do it right.

Once the solo was over, I began helping out everywhere I could. I helped build the fires, I carried as much in my pack as I could and I helped cook every meal. The counselors were stunned and all asked me what brought on the change. They told me that in the years they had been leading kids in the woods, no one had changed as much as I did. I just shrugged and told them that I had simply decided to grow up.

My new path had started.

Unfortunately it took another 15 years before I was finally able to become the teacher that I dreamed about on that rock so long ago. Why? Mostly because I was young and had a lot to learn, but I'll never forget the moment when it all started. I'll never forget that sunset and the way the light played with the water in the stream.

As Oprah would say, it was my "ah ha" moment.

How about you? Can you remember the day that changed your life?

What if today was another one?

What if today you decided to be a lighthouse to the world and change your life?

Why can't we just decide to make today the day? The day when our world changed into a positive, abundant, loving world? The day when we started to do what we actually wanted to do? The day that we started to live our destiny?

I think today is a good day to start. A great day to change your world. In fact, let's start with something simple. How about this... the next time you are in line at a drive through, like Starbucks for example, why not pay for the car behind you? Or how about leaving a bigger tip at the next restaurant? Let's say an extra $20 dollars or so?

Pass it forward.

Treat people like you want to be treated.

Be a lighthouse and change the world by being an example.

Show everyone how to do it right.

Make today the day that changed your life.

Copyright © 2010 by Katharine Giovanni

Author's Bio: 

Katharine Giovanni is an international Concierge Training Expert, Award Winning Author and consultant, Certified Concierge Specialist (CCS) and Speaker. She is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of ICLMA - The International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association as well as President and co-founder of Triangle Concierge, Inc. Katharine can be reached via her website at www.triangleconcierge.com