Is Your Dream Career in the Shadow?

by Gabie Rudyte September 18, 2019 3 min read

a woman's shadow on the floor

Something has been on my mind the last weeks that I wanted to talk to you about. I've been thinking a lot about dream careers, dream jobs, and how often people don't pursue their true calling. The passion that they want to turn into their profession.

So often, people pursue their shadow career, rather than their dream career.

What do I mean by that?

“Sometimes, when we're terrified of embracing our true calling, we'll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.” — Steven Pressfield

The things that we want to pursue the most usually feel the most terrifying and require taking a risk.

Writing a book, starting our business, going to an art school, opening a bookstore, applying for that dream job.
When there's something that we really really want, we usually come up with escape plans, excuses, and plan B options.

Before getting certified as a life coach and beginning my content creator career, I would think to myself:
'Maybe I should just stick with personal training... I'm good at it, I enjoy it, and I've already done it for years!' 'What if I won't be a great coach, what if I'm not creative enough? I love fitness, I mean... I can still help people by being a personal trainer."

However, something still kept nudging me.

Becoming a certified life + mindset coach and starting my own coaching business.

a man's shadow on a wall

When I had my own personal training business, I was helping people. I was transforming people’s physical health, working with them 1:1, and having a fun and wonderful time.

However, as much as I was helping people. I wasn’t helping 100% in the way that I wanted to help.

My personal training business was a beautiful shadow career, because it’s shape was similar, it felt similar, but it was a metaphor for what I really wanted.

(I mean, I was helping people and I was working with clients 1:1, but it wasn’t in the way that I really wanted to.)

Here's the thing - when we go with plan B, or as Steven Pressfield calls it, a shadow career - we don't feel like we're truly taking a risk.

It won't matter if we fail (because we're failing at a plan B and not a plan A), and it won't really matter if we succeed, because... we will wish we were succeeding at our true calling. It's absolutely incredible (and at times hilarious) to see the lengths we will go to in order to avoid doing that very thing that we want.


Want to sit down and write a chapter of your book? Oh, look, you realized that you have to clean the whole house. right now. immediately.
Promised yourself you will email 5 people you could potentially collaborate with? Wow, actually, it's a great time to go clean your garage!

My question for you is: Where are you stepping into your shadow instead of your light? Are you pursuing a shadow career instead of what you truly want? Are you procrastinating and coming up with shadow tasks to do in order to avoid doing the real & important things?

I hope you're able to take a risk and go with plan A, and follow your light, no matter how uncertain or risky it might feel.

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