Commitment and the Universe

How making a commitment to what I really wanted transformed my entire life.

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“At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I have a story I want to share with you. It’s a story of transformation. It’s a story of overcoming fear and doubt. It’s a story of the power of commitment. It’s my story.

Sixteen years ago, if someone were to paint the picture of my life it would have been filled with grey, blue, and taupe colors – muted and monochromatic. On the surface a life full of travel, experiences, friends and a rising career. To most onlookers I had it all. Scratch the surface though and the frustration with my work and the loneliness of my life bubbled up. Hiding this and maintaining the persona I had created took all my energy leaving me empty and exhausted.

But I knew what to do! I knew that if I could just transition out of HR into another line of work everything would be fine. A new career would allow me to discover my value and purpose in life. Therefore, like all good resolutions, in early January 2002 I decide to engage with a professional coach to help me sort out what the next iteration of my career would look like.

Wheel of Life

Early on in the coaching engagement my coach, Linda Balkin, gave me a number of simple exercises to do to help me get clarity around what I wanted to accomplish with the coaching. As I looked at them I thought easy-peezy. A new job. A new career. That’s what I need. That’s what I want. If I get that everything will be fine.

Easy-peezy until I pulled out an exercise called the Wheel of Life. How hard can it be I thought? A circle divided into spokes like a wheel, each labeled with an important aspect of life – finance, health, spirituality, friends, career, family…

“Family? Wait, what? This should be an easy one for me to fill in.” Instead I found myself stopping every time I looked at the word on the wheel. I could hear my thoughts trying to put this word into context. I could feel my chest tighten and the breath in my lungs catch. As if from nowhere I knew I didn’t need a new job, what I needed was to have a whole, complete, colorful life. I needed, I wanted a family.

The moment of commitment…

In that thunderbolt moment I knew what I needed to do. At the next coaching session I announced what I really wanted was a family; to be more specific – a child. Saying it out loud however made it scary, intimidating and overwhelming. For the next few weeks I found myself frozen like a rabbit hoping that the thing that is stalking you doesn’t see you and walks on by. I was single and didn’t have a strong support system where I lived. I was in a role that required long hours and was not family friendly. I couldn’t be a mother, could I?

But this awareness wasn’t going anywhere. It was with me when I woke up in the morning and it was with me when I went to sleep at night.

Finally, at the end of February, after several more coaching sessions, Linda challenged me to take action. She stood up. On the floor in front of her she drew a line with her toe across the hardwood floor of her dining room and said, “If you are ready to commit to this then step over the line.”

I could see the line on the floor. This line that didn’t exist glowed back up at me. I could see it’s edges like the sun behind your eyelids when you’ve looked at it too long. I could feel the tremors in me beginning to build. The desire to freeze. To stay still. To stay the same. To stay in my comfort zone.

I stepped over the line.

..the Universe conspires to help

Nothing had changed. Everything had changed. Linda looked at me and quoted Goethe, “At the moment of commitment, the entire universe conspires to assist you.”

Fast forward 18 months.

…My sister Linda had moved from Minneapolis and was living with me temporarily until she got herself settled in the area. 

…I had been asked by the company I was working for to step out of HR and work with a newly established business unit which I found engaging and challenging.

…and I got off the plane from Moscow with my nine-month old son, Nikolai, in my arms. My son, whose birth-mother would have conceived him around the time I stepped over the line.

Did he vibe me? Did I vibe him? Is it all a coincidence? You get to decide. For me I will always believe that when you truly commit, not just wish it was so, but commit your whole self to making it real, the universe conspires to assist you.

Now if someone were to paint the picture of my life it would be filled with yellows, oranges, reds, and purples – vibrant hues that radiant energy and joy. Sometimes messy. Occasionally challenging. Always meaningful. {Side note: My sister Linda has joined me on this journey co-parenting Nik with me all these years. Together we make an amazing team but heaven help Nik’s future wife!}

To this day, any time I have a major decision to make in my life I envision myself stepping over a line and saying thank you to the universe for the help that I know is coming my way.

Your turn. What are you willing to commit to? Are you ready to step over your line?

Originally published at

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