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Defining Moments

By • Apr 3rd, 2008 • Category: Lifestyle Choices, Personal Development

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Most often, we can trace life’s defining moments to a big decision. However, even a small insignificant choice can spark a major defining moment for us. The moment the choice is made, the wheels are set in motion and our lives begin to change.  

Sometimes a defining moment is that instant when we get it, everything falls into place and we know that life as we know it will never be the same. Other times, we are oblivious to the effects of a capricious decision. Then it may be days, weeks, months and even years, before we can trace the path back to the precise moment when an inconsequential choice made a difference and altered the course of our lives.

You could probably link a particular defining moment to a time when you were younger and not sure about yourself, your feelings or your dreams. It was the catalyst that defined you and moved you to make the choices you’ve made since then. Or your defining moment was fairly recent. You’re in the early stages of the aftermath. The feelings are still poignant and it may take a while for you to work out where you go from there and feel comfortable with the changes to come.  

Defining moments, or “Ah Ha!” moments, as Oprah has termed them, can make us or break us. Some of them confirm long-held beliefs, show us a clear way to follow our dreams or validate a position we might have held about certain people and circumstances. Other defining moments may force us to postpone or even abandon dreams, sever relationships or alter an establish lifestyle.  

Frequently someone else’s choice results in our defining moment. They make their decision and we are forced to make our own in response. And therein, lies our defining moment. Regardless who or what triggers the chain of events, we can still look at our defining moments and the outcomes as opportunities to get on with the business of living our lives as fully as possible.

We live multi-faceted lives. Here are four areas where defining moments can have a dramatic impact.

Spiritual beliefs

Nothing impacts our lives as our spiritual beliefs. They begin on the inside and work their way outward, from the heart.  If they don’t, we need to question their veracity as well as our commitment to them.  

The defining moment comes when we grasp what we truly believe and it envelops every fiber of our being. When our spiritual beliefs radiate in our thoughts, our words and our actions, we know we have faced a life-changing defining moment. 


There is a great deal of pressure today to conform. However, those very pressures sometimes force us to make crucial choices. And that defining moment makes all the difference to our perception, understanding and acceptance of who we really are.

To accept who we are as individuals and to be comfortable with our unique personalities is one of life’s most liberating moments. It ranks right up there with the best of the “Ah Ha!’ moments we’ll ever have.


Relationships are faulty, if we function on the basis of unclear and false perceptions of each other’s feelings and motivations. The happiest and most rewarding relationships are those in which each person is free to be him or her self, to be honest, and to disagree without animosity or reprisal.  

Far too often, it takes a major emotional upheaval, accompanied by hurtful words and accusations before we encounter a defining moment that could heal the relationship or clear the way for us to walk away. 


More and more I hear people lament the chasm between what they do for a living and what they would love to do for their life. They express a deep desire to feel a heart connection to a career that not only puts food on their table but a song in their hearts. I know what they are saying. I’ve been there.

However, until you can make the transition to something else, it is possible to find the fulfillment you seek in your current job and hear your heart sing every day.

It begins with an attitude of gratitude, the practice of going the extra mile and doing your assigned work as unto God. It is your required response to the blessing that it is.

It may take a defining moment to bring you to the point where you decide that you will “shine” where you are, even as you hold fast to your dream. You work diligently, until the doors of opportunity swing open unto the career that fits your personality, your skills and your talents. That defining moment is the beginning of a whole new mindset that will make it easier to walk the path that is necessary today, until you arrive at the path you desire tomorrow.  

Defining moments are often tainted by negativity. But if we dwell on them we will miss the positives, the opportunities, the possibilities. Furthermore, when we get bogged down with the daily grind of life, we lose focus and forget our motivations. Recalling our defining moments can put the spark back into our dull existence and turn it into living again.

Revisit your defining moments. What choice or choices defined or redefined you, your religious beliefs, your relationships, your career or some other area of your life?

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