As soon as I read Turning Pro by Stephen Pressfield I knew I had to write this post.
This post is for anyone who feels they are working in a job that is not their true calling. Do you know deep inside that there is something else you would love to do, but you feel too afraid to take the leap to follow your heart?
I feel extremely passionate about this topic because that person used to be me. I know how it feels to have a burning desire to create something in the world, but to be working in a day job that is not taking you there.
I read Turning Pro two days before conniechapman.com was due to launch. I knew it was time to shift my perception around my business and the level I was playing at.
I read 3/4 of the book in one sitting and could not put it down, but it was the section on ‘shadow careers’ that stopped me in my tracks. Suddenly I realised why it had taken me so long to get to the point where I could follow my heart and launch my own business.
This paragraph explained it all.
“Sometimes when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow career instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. It’s shape is similar, it’s contours feel tantalisingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us”
Shadow Careers Keep Us Safe
The message resonated so deeply with me, as I realised this was why I had spent so many years jumping from job to job. None of these roles were what I truly wanted, but on some level they satisfied me enough to justify not having to put myself out there and do what I really wanted to do.
These jobs ‘interested’ me and ticked many of my ‘boxes’ but none of them satisfied the deep longing I had within to pursue the true calling of my heart. That calling was always there and always had been, but I had been running from it for years.
Shadow career’s give us certainty and safety, but they are not an authentic expression of who we are. Here is how Mastin Kipp from The Daily Love explains it;
“Shadow careers… (are) things we do that are not our true calling. We get a lot of certainty out of our shadow careers, but not true fulfilment. Imagine the artist who chose the corporate route instead. Or the writer who chose to be an attorney. Or the healer who chose to become an insurance agent. Or the entrepreneur who took the 9 to 5 because it was a more certain path. The shadow career is a false expression of who we really are”
You can read more of Mastin’s post about Shadow Career’s here.
Do What You Love
There is no greater feeling that doing work you love.
The most beautiful thing about doing work you love is that it no longer feels like work. It is simply something you choose to spend your time doing because you absolutely love it. It is no longer just a segment of your day. But it is the time you choose to spend each day pouring yourself in to something you deeply enjoy.
When you are doing what you love – or what you are here to do – all you need to do is just show up as the most truest and authentic version of you and beautiful work will effortlessly flow from that place.
This is how I live my life now, but it was not always the case. I struggled for years to find a ‘job’ that not only fulfilled me, but allowed me to be the person I wanted to be. I spent many years in jobs that I didn’t enjoy and to some extent that I even dreaded going to each day.
Many people come up against resistance when they think about doing work they love . They worry about finances, security or other people’s opinions. And yes I did too.
It took courage to leave my day job and set up my business. It was damn scary. But it came from having a deep commitment to doing what I love over anything else.
I really believe that if you are not doing work you love, and you are making excuses as to why you cannot go out and follow your heart, it is time to get really honest with yourself.
I want to encourage each and every one of you reading this post to check in with yourself and assess whether or not the career you are in, is truly what you want to do.
If your answer is No, then pull out a blank piece of paper, tune in to your heart and start brainstorming. Allow all of your dreams and ideas to pour out on the page without judgement. And then ask yourself, what is one thing I can do to start turning this dream in to a reality?
Do you feel that you are working in a job that is not what you truly want to do? Share with me in the comments below what you really want to do, and let’s start working to make it happen!
15 thoughts on “Are You Hiding In A Shadow Career?”
Wow! I feel like you are reading my mind – this topic has been burning for me lately as I’m spending 30 hours a week at a great job supporting other people’s dreams. It’s a lovely environment, I love the women I work for, and it certainly has its perks…but it’s not mine, AND the worst is that I’m not even getting paid enough to support myself. So, it feels like a catch 22 since I have yet to be in a financial position to end it and start off my own. I recognize this as an excuse and see the lack of trust in the universe to support my highest vision – sigh, it just feels really challenging right now. It’s interesting because I just started B-School and I am hoping this will give me the kick-in-the-pants I need to get started. I find that of my heart’s desires and priorities, B-school is coming first, writing my masters thesis second, and my job third. So that really says it all right there! Thanks Connie for mirroring this back to me so I can really meditate on what steps I need to take next. <3
Hi Danielle. It takes courage you get really honest with yourself and admit that the job you are doing is not truly right for you. So, well done for doing that.
Don’t be too hard on yourself that you have not made any changes yet. It can feel like a really big step. Rather just keep sending out your intention to create something new and trust that everything you need will come to you. In fact, it already has – you have attracted Bschool, plus this blog post and I am sure plenty of other forms of guidance are on their way to you.
I love that you shared that you will be taking this in to your meditation. That is a beautiful first step! x
This has also been in the back of my mind for ages now. I’m in a full time job where I know in my heart I’m not supposed to be, however, I’m still trying to figure out what I want & where my heart truly wants to go. A bit directionless & frustrating at the moment…
My Job isn’t in any way a burden on me, I love the people I work with, the role its self is quite easy & puts me in a great financial position, however I know in my heart that it is just ‘not me’.
I feel as though I need to research and meditate more on what I do want in life, and took your post as the perfect ‘sign’ that I need to get serious about this.
I’m torn between being financially safe and doing something that isn’t my favourite thing in the world, to leaving that ‘safety’ and trying to find out what it is I want to do in life.
Time to get cracking!
Thank you for the tips & extra push I needed to get serious! 🙂
Hi Erin, I can really relate to your struggle. I really enjoyed a lot of aspects of my day job and loved the financial security it brought me. BUT I knew deep down (as do you) that there was something more for me.
For you, it might not be about quitting your job right away, but really committing to finding out what is you really want to do. This is the first step. Once you start to really connect to your vision or dream it begins to pull you forward towards it. So, start there. Start in your meditation and see what arises for you.
From personal experience I have to share that leaving my day job was the best decision I ever made. There is no greater feeling that doing what you really love. And the amazing thing is that when you do, you are ALWAYS taken care of financially.
Sending you lots of positive, supportive energy on your journey x
Thanks for the great post! it resonates perfectly with where I am right now transitioning from the shadow career to doing work I love..another great reminder I am headed in the right direction xx
Awesome Mel! So thrilled that you know what it is you would love to do and you are taking the steps to create that! The transition period can be challenging at times, so keep your mind focused on where you are going and never let go of your vision x
Do you have any others books to recommend? I love reading and educating myself.
I use to read topic like: business, personal development, spirality, health, coaching..
Hi Sara. There are SO many books I could recommend. You could try
You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success by Deepak Chopra
The Law of Attraction by Esther and Jerry Hicks
Real Magic by Wayne Dyer
I hope that helps!
Thank you! x
So many truths in this post. Just brought Steven’s book too (have been meaning to for ages!). Looking forward to catching up and hearing you speak your majic at the Live Aspire event x
You will love the book Tegan. It is small and simple but super powerful!
So happy to hear you will be at the Live Aspire event! I look forward to meeting you x
Great post. This is so true for so many people, and it was for me too (until recently). We get so caught up in the perceived certainty and security of a “safe” permanent job that is “ok” that we don’t want to risk losing it.
As Tony Robbins mentions in his book “Awaken the Giant Within”, human beings will naturally do more to move away from perceived pain than they will to move towards perceived pleasure…so we stick with the safe option so that we don’t risk the pain of losing that income and the pain of potentially “failing” at pursuing our dream…the thing is, by not getting out there and giving it a red hot go we miss out on the potential of “failing” at it but we also miss out on the potential to be successful and live our dream life.
As you’ve mentioned, it’s about trusting that deep down at an unconscious level we all know what we truly desire and what the next step is for us to start working towards making our dream a reality.
Courage shows up when we take action that is outside of our comfort zone – when we feel the fear and do it anyway.
Here’s to us all taking that next step towards living the life of our dreams!
Hi Georgie. So lovely to hear from you!
What you shared in your comment is spot on! The certainty and security of the regular income and familiar job is the biggest factor I see stopping being following their heart. I know that we have both gone through the experience of leaving jobs that were not truly what we loved to do, and you’re right – it is all just about finding the courage to take that first step!!
Well done with all you have achieved beautiful lady! x
I just finished Turning Pro last night…wow. And then B-School started today so my mind has officially been blown, vision is much clearer and now the hard yards start. So many aspects of that book spoke to me, I would also highly recommend to anyone who has even the tiniest inkling that your current life isn’t quite complete.
As you know Connie, I have just started in my ‘pro’ life and I am so excited for all the possibilities to come. The hardest part for me is to not rush into things because I want them now. My motto is Trust the Process and I really need to put faith in that – it will all happen when it is meant to x
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