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9 People Share Defining Moments That Changed Their Life Forever

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1. That Time You Weren't Afraid To Fail

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"I graduated college at the height of the recession and couldn't find anything other than part-time, hourly restaurant work. So, I rode out the worst of the recession for two years, living paycheck to paycheck, but rising within the corporate restaurant organization I worked at until I was a manager. All the while, in my mind, this was just supposed to be a temporary gig until I could get an office job in what I got a degree in.

One day, I was approached about becoming the regional manager. That's when I had to decide: was I going to make this job a career, or was I going to follow my passion and try to get back into the field I loved? I took a chance and quit my job, and I enrolled in a master's program that put me into a crazy amount of debt — all with no guarantee that I'd be able to get a better-paying, more secure job in the creative field during the recession. It took another several years of struggling to find full-time employment in the creative field after I got my master's degree, but I finally landed myself a job that I love. My mom recently asked me if my path was worth the struggle, and I said yes, without hesitation. It was all worth it!" —Kristen B.

2. That Time You Committed To Following Your Passion

Courtesy of Kylie M.

"After graduating college I was working in fashion public relations and at the same time having a "quarter-life" crisis. I remember I was on my hands and knees shoving a too-small shoe onto a model’s foot, and I tore a bow off the shoe. Some people acted like the world was ending—I simply superglued it back on. But at that moment I realized that I needed a change: Why on Earth was I working in this industry if I didn’t have the passion for it?

I had always cooked — in the past it was my creative outlet, a way of decompressing after a long day, but I never saw it as a career path. It wasn’t until I was writing down all the recipes I had created over the years as a Christmas present for my mom that I realized working with food was my true passion. It led me to creating my food blog, Cooking with Cocktail Rings, and I love every minute that I spend on it — the recipes, the narrative, the photography. Following my dream and doing something I love has made all the difference.” —Kylie M.

3. That Time An Epic Adventure Made You Stronger

Courtesy of Emily C.

"I had never traveled alone until I was 24. I desperately wanted to go to Thailand and tried to enlist a friend to accompany me, but to no avail. Eventually, I just decided I was going even if nobody else wanted to come. I went for nearly a month, not knowing a single person and never staying in any one place more than a few days at a time. It was the best thing I've ever done for myself. I made amazing friends in hostels, rode an elephant, cliff-jumped, ate amazing things, couch-surfed, and saw some really beautiful sights. I also got chased by a pack of stray dogs, perved on by some Danish creep, sprained my neck badly, and lost my way tons of times. But all in all, I learned that I could survive on my own and that I could do it damn well; the hardest part was just finding a passerby to take my picture while I did it." —Emily C.

4. That Time You Took A Chance On Yourself

Courtesy of Joseph R.

“I worked as a manager at a call center before the company folded in 2008. After spending eight months unemployed I got together with a former co-worker for dinner, and we got to talking about the things we would have done differently had we been in charge. We thought, "The people we worked for weren't any more equipped to run that business then we are, so why can't we do it too?" In February of 2009, with very little money, we started a tiny call center out of the extra bedroom in my business partner's house, and almost eight years later, we have grown it to manage 20+ employees in multiple offices and gross $1.5 million annually.” —Joseph R.

5. That Time You Tried Something New

Courtesy of Ashley C.

"I went to this big music convention in California sophomore year of college, just because I wanted to go to California. When I got there, I realized the drummer of my favorite band was signing autographs for a company he was sponsored by, and I waited in line for hours to meet him. While I was standing around, I struck up a conversation with a guy from said company.

Long story short, he and I kept in touch, and a little over a year later, when he knew I was looking for an internship, he put me in contact with the management company of my favorite band. I landed the internship and went on to work at that company, with some of my favorite musicians, for the next six years."

—Ashley C.

6. That Time You Were Bold

Courtesy of Marjorie L.

"When I was a freshman in college, I was pretty shy and rarely started conversations with people. One afternoon, when I was turning in an essay for a class, I saw this other student next to me trying to push his essay into his professor's box. I noticed it wasn't stapled (I was also a perfectionist), and I had an interior debate about whether I should point that out or not (I didn't want to be mean). I decided to just go for it and said, "Hey, don't you want to staple that?" This was the first conversation I had with the man who is now my husband, seven years later." —Marjorie L.

7. That Time You Embraced Change

Courtesy of Danielle O.

“I had a pivotal moment when I had my son — not when I was pregnant or even just after I gave birth. It came the first night in the hospital. I hadn't slept in two nights, and it was just the two of us in the middle of the night. I was just staring at him, and I knew my life would never be the same. But at the same time I never wanted to go back. This little baby in my arms was mine, and I already loved him more than anything I had ever loved before.” —Danielle O.

8. That Time You Ventured Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Lindsay / Via Flickr: lindsaydeebunny

"Parties where I know everyone are fine, and I can make do when I'm at parties where I know nobody. But parties where I sort of know everyone there are the worst for me. I avoid those like the plague.

Eight years ago, I had exactly one of those as a Christmas party. I managed to force myself into the car and drive to the house, but at the house I was so disinterested in going in that I just sat there, trying to psych myself into going in. I found myself making excuses in the car: I could tell them my flight home for the holidays was tonight, or maybe I could just not go in and no one would notice.

Ultimately, I managed to drag myself into the party. I'm very glad I did. Inside, I met the most wonderful woman, who I am still with eight years later." —Patrick B.

9. That Time You Became A Better Person

Courtesy of Chesney L.

"This would hands down be studying abroad in South Korea when I was back in college. I went there alone after lightly planning, knew almost none of the language, and didn't know a single person over there to help me. I decided to go one summer because I fell in love with the culture, and after I returned to the States, I can honestly say I became a better person. Going through everything over there made me a more open person, more positive, and definitely more independent. I wasn't afraid of taking risks anymore, especially after experiencing stepping off that plane and not being able to read any of the signs." —Chesney L.

Catch more moments that change lives forever on Billion Dollar Buyer! Catch the new season Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CNBC!

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