They say life isn’t about the things that happen to you, but about the decisions you make. There’s a ton of coverage about the best decisions people have made, but not nearly enough conversation about the tough decisions. We asked folks we admire to tell us about the most difficult decision they’ve ever had to make and have shared some of those responses below.

Yulia Safiulina | Actor & Filmmaker

The most difficult decision in my life did not seem as life changing at that moment but almost 10 years later I realize the impact it has made on me. I was 15 years old when I decided to come to the US. I had a dream of working in the film industry but frankly had no real understanding of how to achieve it or what difficulties it would come with. I was alone when I came and didn’t speak English very well. I had no family or friends in the US and the isolation hit me quick. I remember coming home from school and falling asleep by 4pm just so the days would pass faster and I can go home to Russia sooner. Read more>>

Luisa Molano | Business Mentor and Mental Health Advocate

Leaving home at eighteen after saying ‘no’ to an arranged marriage – two weeks before the wedding. I was raised Pentecostal and to be a good girl. I did as I was told out of fear for the wrath of God and at 17 the pastor said that God spoke to him and that I was to marry a man 19 years older than me. We ‘dated’ for a year, until I turned 18 and then set about preparing for the wedding. Two weeks before the wedding I woke up and decided I couldn’t go through with it. I couldn’t walk down the aisle and say “I do’ when I didn’t. I sat my parents down and told them. It was difficult to go against what I perceived at the time was my parents, the church and even God. Read more>>

Ian James | Actor, Musician, Artist

I’d say coming to Los Angeles 3 weeks after I graduated college when I was 22. Thinking back on it now I had this limitless drive and motivation in those days so basically nothing was going to stop me from getting here and giving it all I had. I was the only one of my friends from college that went to the west coast, everybody else was headed to New York to be on Broadway. I didn’t have a lot of money to my name and I was leaving behind an easy, safe life to take the harder road less traveled. I was young and hadn’t really experienced a lot yet but I knew that it was an opportunity to build a life for myself I knew I could have someday. Read more>>

Matthew Herter | Photographer/Videographer

By far the most difficult decision I ever had to make was giving up all the stability I had as a restaurant consultant and throwing myself out into the world to start this business. I have always been a creative person and I spent many years across 3 different colleges studying art but out of fear I always defaulted back to working within restaurants and allowed it to take up all my time. When I finally told myself I have had enough of doing something that didnt make me happy I turned my focus on starting my photography/videography business even though I had no connections, no idea how to market myself within that world and very little professional experience to stand behind. To say it was a difficult decision was an understatement but at the end it was easily the most fulfilling one so far. Read more>>