A recent conversation I had with a client brought back the vivid memory of how disenchanted, conflicted, and guilty I used to feel in my job.

Several years ago, I would wake up every morning and feel simultaneously disappointed and ungrateful because, even though my life was pretty good (stable job, great relationships, good health, etc.), I felt such a strong longing for something more.

It always felt like something was missing … like I was settling.

But then I would criticize myself for not being grateful for all the great things in my life. Why couldn’t I just be content with how things were?

I would look around my office and wonder, “Am I the only one who’s not satisfied with this life?” No one else seemed to be asking the questions I was asking … it felt like I was the only one asking, “Is this all?”

{“There must be more than this provincial life!” Am I the only one who desperately wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast as a kid?}

I WASN’T ALONE … AND NEITHER ARE YOU

Thankfully, Rachel and I were going through this existential questioning at the same time, so I felt like I wasn’t totally alone. But I still felt like the odd ball at my office … like no one understood all the internal angst I was experiencing.

Now that I’ve coached hundreds of people, though, I realize just how many other people are asking the exact same questions I was asking. It’s way more normal than I thought.

My clients come to me asking, “Is this all there is?” “Should I just be grateful for what I have and stop asking for more?” “Am I crazy for having big, unconventional dreams?” “How can I tell if I’m settling?”

If you’re asking those same questions, I’m going to tell you what I wish someone had told me a few years back:

No, you’re not crazy, and you’re definitely not alone. If it feels like you’re settling, something is off. You’re meant to feel happy, inspired, fulfilled, and lit up by your life … maybe not every day, but at least most days. It’s not a pipe dream — it’s the natural order of things.

twitter-birdNo matter what anyone tells you, your life should never feel like settling.

THE BEST ANALOGY ABOUT THIS

My client Julia inadvertently gave me the perfect analogy to help you tell if you’re close to settling.

She was telling me about a recent vacation to Kyrgyzstan that she and her boyfriend went on. For the first half of the trip, they went horseback riding (her choice). Then for the second half, her boyfriend chose to go mountaineering.

On the final day, when her boyfriend planned to climb to the peak of a huge mountain, Julia had every intention of sitting in the cabin at the bottom of the mountain to wait for him. She brought a good book, and planned to spend a cozy day in the cabin reading by the fire.

At the last minute, though, she changed her mind and decided, Why not? I’ll climb the mountain with him.

Not only was it an amazing experience, but Julia surprised herself by her enthusiasm and courage along the way. She was the one giving her boyfriend a boost of motivation at the end to reach the final peak.

As she stood on the top of that mountain, she felt totally limitless, amazing, and capable of anything — it was pure exhilaration.

ARE YOU SITTING IN THE CABIN OR CLIMBING THE MOUNTAIN?

Julia could have had a nice, pleasant day reading in the cabin. But instead, she ended up having an incredible, ecstatic experience by choosing to take a risk, climb the mountain, and prove to herself what she was capable of.

In our call, I compared this to Julia’s life right now.

She just got a new job that she describes as “fine.” It’s predictable, comfortable, and pays well. She could probably make a lifelong career of this job.

But it doesn’t light her up. It doesn’t excite her in any way. It’s the equivalent of sitting in the cabin at the bottom of the mountain. It’s comfortable, but not exciting.

You know what does exhilarate Julia? Owning a ranch in the beautiful countryside and training horses for a living.

That’s her version of climbing the mountain peak. Imagining living on her horse farm is pure bliss — I can hear on our calls how much her voice lights up when she talks about it.

Within the past month, through our coaching conversations, Julia finally gave herself permission to believe in her dream. She’s creating a business plan, signing up for horse training courses, and talking with other ranch owners to learn how to make this a reality in her future.

WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE?

It’s scary, but Julia is choosing to take the possibly risky, ultimately fulfilling path of following her big dream.

She’s finally identified her personal mountain peak, and she’s choosing to climb the mountain instead of being a spectator down in the cabin.

twitter-birdAre you content to be a spectator of your life? Or will you choose to be a creator?

Rachel and I are doing the same. Years ago, we both decided that we simply couldn’t live with that icky feeling of settling for any longer. We refuse to be content with lives that feel anything less than exhilarating, fulfilling, and limitless.

We left the comfort of the cabin years ago and we’re climbing our mountain (it’s sometimes terrifying, but ultimately SO worth it!).

So now I’m asking you the same tough question I asked Julia: Are you content to sit in the cabin? Or do you want to climb the mountain and experience the exhilaration of reaching the peak? Leave a comment to let me know what you choose (and what your personal mountain peak is)!


I WOULDN’T SETTLE FOR SOMETHING I DIDN’T LOVE … IF I COULD FIGURE OUT WHAT I DID LOVE!

We know that a big concern many of you have sounds something like … “I have absolutely ZERO desire to settle for something I don’t love, but I have no idea what I’d rather be doing, so I’m kind of stuck here until I can figure it out.”

This is a really normal thing! And thankfully, we’ve got something coming up in a couple weeks that will help you immensely:

Join us on Tuesday, September 15th at 12pm Eastern for a FREE live hangout — How to find a job you love … that loves you back

We’ve coached countless people into career opportunities that feel un-real. Doesn’t matter what you want … freedom, flexibility, autonomy to do your own thing, international travel, remote work, an inspiring team, variety out the wazoo, or a substantial salary … we’ve seen it happen.

Whether or not you can join us live, register anyway and you’ll get the recording sent to you post-hangout.

9-15-15 live hangout registration image

See you there!

Much Love,

Kristen (+ Rachel)

1 comment | add a comment | Share this > Tweet this > Email this >
  1. I have been reading your posts for a few months now…I’ve taken the Passion Profile Quiz about three times now, always the same results….I’ve also registered for the free live hangout on the 15th. I know that I could be doing so so much more than what I am doing now but I just don’t know what that is. I’m really eager for the live hangout and I’ve been contemplating for quite a while about signing up for the virtual experience. I’m pretty sure I’m going to but I want to check out the free live hangout first. I don’t want to sit in the cabin anymore but I haven’t found my mountain yet….

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.