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Turning Points: The Secret to Success

By Shatyra Williams, MSW, RSW

Published: March 2014

We often ask successful people how they have managed to reach their goals or what it was that drove them towards their passion. The answer is usually centered on a critical moment, event, or experience that guided them towards their direction in life. Turning points in our lives come in the form of both positive and negative experiences. This article will help you to recognize a turning point in your life and teach you how to use your life’s directions as a route to personal success.

Identifying a Turning Point

Identifying a turning point is about understanding when life is redirecting you and learning to flow with these directions, not against them. Turning points arise when a life circumstance, change of perspective, or experience provide you guidance in your life. This can come in the form of experiencing crisis, trauma, or a loss. It can also come in the form of a new job, a new partner, or a new understanding of any given area of your life. These types of life transitions have the potential to shift your life path and bring out your inner strengths, needs, and values. 


It is important to understand that turning points can only change your life for the better if you allow them to do so.  Even in the darkest of moments, when faced with a major life change you will find a life lesson that will help you to evolve as a person. The challenge is to use the fuel, energy, and lessons of your life experiences to move you in a healthy direction.  This begins with assessing yourself and addressing yourself.

Assess yourself

This involves recognizing the following:

1.How did I arrived at this critical moment in my life?

2.How has this life circumstance shaped my thoughts or life?

3.What is this experience meant to teach me? 

4.What are the natural changes this transition will bring?

5.Which area of my life has the potential for growth as a result of this change?


Address yourself

Based on what I am going through, where do I feel I am being guided in life?

What are my options for creating a refreshing lifestyle?

Which area of my life would I need to invest my energy into in order to work towards my full potential?

What is at the core of my personal interest?

How can I use my unique talents towards success?

Take Charge

We give power to whatever it is that we want to grow. Giving power involves paying attention to something, putting thought and effort into something, or speaking about something. If you are experiencing a life transition it is in your hands to make a decision about where you want this critical moment to take you in life. Take charge of your experience by giving power to the positive aspects of your life transition as opposed to focusing on the negatives.

If you are in a crisis situation, take this situation as validation that you are in need of a lifestyle makeover. Take time for yourself to understand the factors which led you to this crisis and make a commitment to a lifestyle which will protect you from this type of crisis in the future. Give power to your desire for change and focus on the opportunity for growth.


If you are experiencing a new career, have a new life partner, or even have recently had a child, discover how these changes can shape your identity as a person and be mindful of where you want these changes to take you in life. Use your new surroundings to bring out the best in you. From your ability to excel in the workforce to your ability to raise a healthy and successful child, your opportunities for personal growth are endless.


You may have experienced betrayal or trauma and have adopted a new perspective on life. Give power to your life lesson and follow the direction that life is pushing you towards. Whether your experience has taught you to re-establish your understanding of love or re-discover the importance of self-care, use your lesson to get you moving in a new direction.

The only way a life event can empower you is if you take action towards an improved life. Don’t just think about what you have learned, take visible steps towards change.

Don’t Miss the Point!

By focusing on the negativity, trouble, or challenge of a life transition, you may be missing out on a turning point in life that has the potential to bring you great success. Do not focus on the loss of your old perspective, lifestyle, or comfortable situation; embrace your new found strength and use it. Celebrate your new identity, begin your new path, and develop a new mission.

Life will continue to bring change and transition. Your success as a person will be highly impacted by what you are able to grasp from these critical moments. When faced with a turning point in life you have control. You have the option to decide which way you will turn. Where will you allow this turn to take you? A challenging circumstance can drive some people to unhealthy coping mechanisms which can destroy lives, families, and relationships. For others, the same challenge can ignite a new passion and drive towards prosperity. The choice is truly yours. Consider a turning point a second chance, an opportunity, or a set of options. Whether you find faith or spirituality in a desperate moment, or discover an amazing talent in a high pressure situation, using these turning points for the best will help you to create a stronger, wiser, and more confident you.

About the Author

Shatyra Williams MSW, RSW is a Toronto-based Social Worker with a passion for women's wellness. As Program Manager of RWRJ's Artistic Healing Group, Shatyra teaches healthy coping strategies for women survivors of trauma. Through a variety of creative educational techniques Shatyra helps women to challenge themselves, to embrace their imperfections, and to love their journey. 

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