I’m fascinated by the idea of judging whether you are on a good path. Because everyone wants to know if they are doing okay. The problem is that if you look at things out of context, you can’t really see what’s going on.

See the picture up top? You can’t totally tell what they are doing until you see other pictures, pictures of similar but different paths.

These photos are by Lauren Ceking. I think you need to see at least three of them, and look closely, to get a sense of what people are doing.

This is an extreme example, but I’m certain this is true for paths in real life, as well, which is what makes this good art, by the way.

Do you know where you’ll be ten years from now? That’s not a path, that’s a destination. If you can see where you’ll be, you’re already there. If you know for sure where you are going then you are actually living someone else’s version of a path.

I did an experiment where at the end of my writing webinar, I offered to edit peoples’ writing for three months: unlimited editing at a flat price. I thought only a few people would take me up on the offer, but nearly everyone in the webinar signed up for the editing.

At first, I had a lot of work to do. Then, my editing effectively raised the bar on everyone’s writing. They wrote much more slowly. Because, after all, writing well is tortuously difficult for even the most successful writers.

By the third week I found myself telling everyone they will not write well unless they are surprised. If you are not surprised at the end of your writing, then the reader is not surprised, and then the writing is boring both of you. But it’s hard to let yourself be surprised in your writing because it’s not that fun to not know where stuff is going.

I’m near the end of my third month of editing. There are only a few people still writing, because sticking to a path that’s full of surprises is really difficult, but it’s the only path worth taking.

Most of you are not writers, but in fact, we are all editors of our own lives, and we owe it to ourselves to demand surprise at any path we take the time to explore, because that’s the only way to grow.

I wanted to lie and tell you I charged people $800 to edit for three months. In hindsight I think I could have charged that. Actually, not in hindsight. Melissa and I were doing the writing webinar together and she thought the editing should cost $800, but I worried that some people could not afford that price. And I wanted people to sign up. I wanted to edit the people in the webinar because I loved them all and I wanted to continue working with them. And editing is fun.

But not so fun that I want you to think I undercharge because now many of you will send links about how women undervalue themselves. But I’m going to save you the trouble and tell you that I keep my rates low for editing (and coaching, for that matter) because I get lonely. I want to talk to interesting people.

I thought of not writing that because it maybe makes me look pathetic, but you probably would have known anyway. Because people give themselves away in their writing by their quirks. I know because I just read this article about James Pennebaker’s book, The Secret Life of Pronouns.

For example, a guy who wrote notes threatening to kill a woman started many notes with the word fuck. This is not a normal way to start a note. Or a sentence. It’s a quirk. And the quirk was consistent with notes in his email history as well. The jury was convinced.

In another case it was a stupid misspelling: “kan” for can. The forensic linguist knew that no one would really make that mistake. It’s an educated person trying to look uneducated. From that information and a few other clues, they were able to narrow down the suspect list and find a killer.

Pennebaker also writes about the language of secrets. And how trauma is not as accurate an indicator of future emotional mess as much as secrets about trauma is. Secrets are what give long-term emotional bite to the trauma.

So I try very hard to not keep secrets. This blog is what keeps me in line. I can tell I am keeping a secret when it starts to nag me. When I start to tell myself, “Oh! Don’t go there, don’t write about that, you’ll get into trouble.”

But one of the most true things I know is that the more you talk about secrets, the more you are able to talk about secrets. It’s like forming a habit for anything. And an article in the Atlantic, about forming habits, has a great quotation from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

So fine, I only charged $400 for editing. But I learned a lot about being surprised. Which is that we don’t like it. Do you want to know what’s happening when I don’t post for ten days? I could tell you that I’m busy, but that’s total BS. The truth is that I don’t have the emotional space to cope with being surprised. Good writing surprises us. And surprises are exhausting.

So do you want to know if you’re on a good career path? Are you scared? Are you a person who makes emotional space in your life to be routinely surprised? If not, you probably need coaching, just like the writers of boring stories needed coaching to get to a path that matters to them.

This post would be a great ad for coaching. Honestly, I’m surprised to have gotten here because I’m not a person who is good at advertising myself. It’s embarrassing. I hate that I get embarrassed to ask you for anything. Well, I mean, I ask you to read to the end of the post. It’s so important to me. And I feel like I can’t ask you for anything else that would mean nearly as much.

So here’s my career growth. I’m not going to cut this part about how you should get coaching. Because it makes my stomach hurt just to type it. I hate promoting myself. But you know what? I want to be on a career path where I get to talk to interesting people. And how else will I get there if I don’t seek to surprise myself?

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  1. Mark Resch
    Mark Resch says:

    Secrets are a tough one. Sharing my secrets feels to me like drawing with a sharpie…it’s permanent. And it’s hard to backtrack from them once told, or at least that’s what I tell myself when I’m hoping to be able to form my image in your mind. I keep my secrets from you (and others) because I want to control how you think of me. But I can’t, can I?

  2. Becky Castle Miller
    Becky Castle Miller says:

    I figured you were having a rough time, since you weren’t posting. And also, you WERE busy with the MBTI seminar, right? Anyway, I was thinking about you and hoping you were okay. I’m glad you are.

  3. a
    a says:

    hey i found out i’m not an ENTJ anymore, I’m an ENTP now. Does that mean i’m not gonna be a successful CEO anymore?

    • Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging
      Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging says:

      Just check out the Get Coaching link at the top.

      I can’t remember what the rate is but it will say there and whatever the cost it’s worth it.

      I got some coaching with Penelope last year and her smart ideas, patience and straight forward advice helped me see my business in a new light and tighten my focus.

      She cut through other conflicting messages to tell me exactly what I’m doing right and where I was going wrong. Those insights made me rethink the way I handle my marketing and gave me renewed motivation and enthusiasm for my work.

      So it was definitely the smartest investment I made last year.

  4. Diana
    Diana says:

    Yep.. I try to surprise myself everyday… Even with insignificant things when the day have been so flat; and I almost get it sometimes (surprise me & myself is very difficult). But the times that I have achieved it is because I think further, getting deep and deep and these great times, going beyond of yourself I surprise people… Also changing, change is a wonderful tool to dont be predictable!!

  5. Drew
    Drew says:

    Out of all of the blogs from all of the startup people, the venture capitalists, the famous designers, people worthy of admiring, yours is my favorite. Theirs are boring to read and yours is good and is about stuff I care about. I went here: http://www.sethkravitz.com/read.html
    where your blog was listed, and I went through almost all of them. Yours is one of 2 or 3 that isn’t absolute agony to get through.

    So you charged $400. It was an experiment that allowed you to connect with interesting people. It was low enough to get lots of people to apply, and high enough that people would feel motivated to do the work. It doesn’t define you beyond that.

  6. pasha
    pasha says:

    So fun, Penelope, having attended the writing webinar, to hear your voice in my head as I read your blog. I was one of the few who didn’t follow-up with the editing – my computer died like the next day (that’s why I didn’t participate in the follow-up correspondence) and I couldn’t afford it right then anyway.

    Good stuff! As some say, “You are only as sick as your secrets,” yah. Secrets really lose their power when they stop being secrets.

    I’m gonna’ look you up if I ever make it out your way and invite you to look me up if you ever make it to the big island of Hawai’i.

    Much Aloha

  7. Michael Aumock
    Michael Aumock says:

    Penelope, I could not agree with you more. The surprises in my life often turn into the road markers that give me the confidence to know that I am actually ON a path, not wandering through the jungle, lost.
    As always, I find your blog to be a grounding respite from an otherwise tumultuous, surprise-filled path.

  8. D'Ella Peters
    D'Ella Peters says:

    I always feel like if open the can of worms- it’ll turn into a can of whipass. And all my friends will flee, strangers will part like the Ref Sea on the subway & my kids will start lacing my tea with arsenic. But, given Trunk’s insight on the nagging feeling, I think I’ll have to open it soon. Oy.

  9. Jeff G.
    Jeff G. says:

    This is the promotional equivalent of a humble brag: “No really, I really don’t want to promote my coaching!” It’s passive-aggressive promotion.

    But then there’s your brutal candor and nonlinear, almost parable-like approach to getting your points across. It’s brilliant and I find myself a little jealous. Surprise for me. ;-)

  10. Laura
    Laura says:

    This is an inspiring post and I hope you buy yourself something nice for writing it. You know what’s making me smile right now? I wrote a couple of pieces since our last editing exchange, but I didn’t send them because I knew you were busy with MBTI, but also because I knew what you’d say so I just made the changes myself. I guess your editing was no longer surprising. :)

  11. Meg
    Meg says:

    We missed you, Penelope.
    As for coaching, how about a promise that you won’t expose our secrets, Melissa style. I have wanted to get coaching both for myself and as a gift for my best friend. A “buy now” button is a great idea.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I’m surprised that you think I would write about other people like I write about Melissa. Believe it or not, I only write about people who say it’s okay.

      It’s such a big thing to me that Melissa and the Farmer let me write whatever I want. Most people would die if they had to be on my blog, for even one paragraph.


  12. Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging
    Annabel Candy, Successful Blogging says:

    Your writing and editing feedback always surprise me which is why I keep coming back for more.

    I always want to leave a comment because I know that’s the best way to thank a blogger for their writing but, even though I usually have an opinion on everything, I rarely comment.

    When I get to the end of your posts it all seems so random which leads me off to random thoughts which would make my comments seem random and strange.

    So I surprise myself by staying silent even though I really want to add to the conversation.

  13. Therese
    Therese says:

    Hey Penelope,

    The fact that you keep it honest is the reason I love you. Thanks for being you :).

    I LOVE what you say about surprises, too. That is some good shit. Sharing. :)

  14. Michael
    Michael says:

    You’re absolutely right. One of my favorite theatre professors used to tell me “Don’t act. Just be.” The same thing goes for writing. I do my best work when I get out of my own way and let it happen. In fact, the writing that surprises me most are the pieces I read a week, a month, or a year later and cannot ever remember writing. Go figure. I’m currently working on my first novel and it’s scaring the piss out of me every day; apparently a good sign I’m doing something right.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      It seems like a really hard part of life to know when to take that advice and when it won’t work. Writing, acting, for sure, the advice is good. Maybe dating. Managing one’s life, I don’t know. There needs to be posturing maybe to get where you want to go. Like act the role and you’ll get it. I don’t know… it just strikes me as surprisingly complicated advice.


  15. Dean
    Dean says:

    I would have to disagree with the surprise factor. I believe that to surprise the reader, the author has to REALLY know where he/she is going with this, but that’s me.

    Great stuff overall!

  16. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    There should be a premium coaching product, for those who know what needs to be done and how to do it, but aren’t sure where you get the balls to pull a Nike and just do it. I imagine that’s called therapy but potato potahto. I think there’s a demographic you’re missing – the rich elite who are miserable in their career but terrified to deviate from living someone else’s path (because let’s face it, that’s easier).
    Also, I love your blog as it has made me realize my introverted/HSP nature and allowed me to adjust my strategy for surviving in a high stress workplace. The downfall is you’ve made me more successful in a career that is so obviously not the one where I can thrive as a human being. Maybe you will write one day on how to decide whether to stay in a job you are very good at and pays more than well, but kills your soul. Or maybe you have written about that and someone (or you) will hyperlink me to that post.

    • MBL
      MBL says:

      Scroll up to the top and check the mailbag.

      the short version goes something like:
      figure out what would be a good fit
      scale back on your life style
      suck it up and quit already

      Best of luck to you!!

      • Ashley
        Ashley says:

        It’s pre-coffee, so apologies in advance, but what’s the mail bag? Thanks for the luck. I think you’re right. I wonder though, if the courage to be happy can be taught. Appreciating that fear (of surprise) can’t dictate one’s life, I still would like to know how to choose happiness over already secured mainstream success. Maybe I need to redefine success. Or find a way to do something I love and make an equal amount of money. Probably the latter. The risk would be worth the possible payoff only if it materialized. What if it doesn’t? Bird in hand will get you every time. Maybe my risk profile means I am actually happier being miserable and safe, than I would be being not miserable but on shaky ground. And people say you can’t really change someone’s risk appetite. The irony is that the high stake nature of my current job (and the stress it causes me) is the part of it that makes me miserable. Even though I am good at it. So my “brave” choice would be to walk away from a risk management position, and go to a job that day to day feels “safer.” How does someone essentially trained to manage risk, decide to jump boat?

  17. Martin
    Martin says:

    Reading to the end of your post(s); it’s not much to ask. You are such an artist. If Hemingway could blog, he would ask you to edit him.

  18. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Hi Penelope! Your post gives me hope because I’m constantly being surprised by what I learn. I have always thought that the best careers are those where we are already excellent. But there’s no growth there. We also don’t know right now the fields where we’ll excel. Thank you!

  19. KimBoo York (@kimboo_york)
    KimBoo York (@kimboo_york) says:

    Powerful post on fears and the hard slog of facing them, thank you! Your comment about being surprised by my writing hit me hard; I don’t have much to say about it now, but I’ll be mulling on it for days.

    I’m facing a lot of risk and change in my life right now, and that plays into my dislike of surprises, but some of the best things that have ever happened to me (or to my writing, for that matter) were out of the blue surprises. What is there to dislike, really? *ponders*

  20. Rebecca@MidCenturyModernRemodel
    Rebecca@MidCenturyModernRemodel says:

    Interesting post Ms. Trunk. I read every word intently for many, many reasons. And, what writing webinar with editing? Seriously? How did I miss that??? I didn’t do the Meyers Briggs because I felt like after years of studying it, the value would only be in listening to your thoughts directly vs. through the writing. But I could really, seriously use a writing seminar with editing. How about again?

  21. Alan
    Alan says:

    Not good at advertising yourself? I doubt that. Look at this empire here, and we don’t even see all the things that you’re involved in.

    As far a coaching goes, I’d love it if it were a real craft with real standards, but it appears to me that any nitwit can hang up a shingle as a coach, and a client could spend his life unsuccessfully looking for an effective coach who could have a positive effect.

  22. Steven
    Steven says:

    Thanks for the thought provoking insight which forces me to dive deeper into the person I currently am and be real about the person I want to be (as you analyze this writing). Surprises are what forces us into a new era of us; however, being cautious and afraid of what’s around the corner or as others have stated what some may think of our bold statements is what keep us from truly growing and evolving out of mediocrity and into excellence.
    I too find you’re blogs captivating and self reflecting, so a huge Thanks for being YOU!
    I look forward to hearing more from you and hitting the BUY know button!

  23. Olivia
    Olivia says:

    Thank you so much, Penelope. I read both of your blogs and look forward to the surprises.
    Today I’m doing an essential strangers shout out project. Every day my life is enriched beyond measure by folks I will likely never meet, but I hear their voices every day. I consume their words on screen or on paper and am nourished. So thank you and happy Valentine ’s Day, my beloved strangers. You are a motley crew, but I could not live – or at least, not nearly so richly – without you!
    Can you guess my Meyers Briggs type from the full list?

    Matthew Inman – The Oatmeal
    Jennifer Dziura
    Asha Dornfest – Parent Hacks
    Tanesha Awasthi – Girl with Curves
    Laura Vanderkam
    Gretchen Rubin – Happiness Project
    Christine Valters Paintner – Abbey of the Arts
    Richard Beck – Experimental Theology
    Thomas Moore
    Sam Keen
    Martha Beck
    Stephen Mitchell
    Center for Action and Contemplation – Richard Rohr
    Mary Oliver

  24. Holly Fuller
    Holly Fuller says:

    How do you make your life surprising when you can’t afford coaching? My husband and I make over 6 figures but we are bored and broke. Do you do financial coaching? If so, can you please tell me how I can afford you without saying something about prioritizing, because we need to pay our mortgage and eat – those are our priorities.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      You don’t need coaching because you already know what you have to do: prioritize. And you already know the first two priorities are food and shelter.

      If you both make six figures and you can’t afford food and shelter then you need to move, or you are in so much debt that you need to declare bankruptcy.

      But you already know that. You don’t want to do it. So you don’t need coaching to get what you want. You already decided what you want more than anything else: You want to not have to prioritize. So you are broke.


    • lhamo
      lhamo says:

      You should run, not walk, over to the forums here and submit a post on your budget asking for where you can cut costs — you will get more free coaching than you know what to do with. They call it “facepunching” over there.


      The blog is pretty awesome too — you can learn a lot from MMM. He’s kind of like Penelope for the financially minded.

  25. Annie Kip
    Annie Kip says:

    Really interesting post -I am trying to learn from your twisting and turning and surprising at the end. It is very hard for me to figure out which details to keep in and which details to take out of my writing. Maybe I am trying to decide before I am actually finished…anyway thank you for sharing yourself and your process.

  26. Robert van Tongeren
    Robert van Tongeren says:

    Man, after having walked a bad path for most of my life, I feel wonderful finally walking a good one.

    Sometimes it feels like, once you make a decision to head in one direction, you have to follow through until you get to the end. You have to follow the path you chose, just like everyone else.

    But you don’t. When you’re tired of your path, you can take a turn.

    I dropped out of school right near the finish line, because I just couldn’t stand it anymore.

    Everybody called me crazy, but I felt miserable, and I felt unmotivated to get to the future I was working towards. I knew I had to find a new direction in life.

    I’m twisting and turning as I go along, and life is great. I’m traveling a path I thoroughly enjoy (teaching men how to dress better through my blog).

    And learning no longer feels like a chore, but more like a hobby. I think that’s because I’m just learning what I want to learn, and not what somebody’s telling me to learn.

    But the best part is realizing I can find a new direction whenever I want. I don’t have to be stuck in the same mold for all of my life.

    I’m glad I stumbled on your blog, Penelope. It seems to hit on a lot of subjects I’ve been pondering recently. Awesome stuff!

  27. Janna
    Janna says:

    Hi Penelope: I’ve wanted to have a coaching session with you for at least a year, but I think I’m scared of what you will say. Reading this post inspired me to finally take action! There’s a request for coaching from me in your email inbox. :-)

  28. Tony
    Tony says:

    Self promotion aside, this is good advice.. When it is yourself being too close to the problem is part of the issue. I know in my field I have the drive and knowledge to specialize, but can talk myself in circles on which way to go.

  29. Christina
    Christina says:

    So I followed the first link and learned those images are not by Lauren Ceking, they’re published by Laurence King and (according to your link) by artists ” Vincent Bousserez, Jonah Samson, Lisa Swerling and the Rainbowmonkey.” Now I’m wondering if you were a) checking for pedants, b) giving a tiny gift of surprise to people who follow links, c) aiming to capture the search traffic on the typo Lauren Ceking (which auto-corrects in google to Laurence King, so I doubt it), or d) just parsed the URL wrong and skipped over the details.

    To your main point, I’m not scared, but I’ve got a well-paid, interesting-enough, 3 day/week job that gives me almost enough time with my kids. Coaching seems extraneous until they’re older and I’m ready to stop coasting/my husband’s ready to be less ambitious. It does feel like I’m on a good path and that 10 years from now wherever the four of us are we’ll be more happy than not, but who knows, really?

  30. downfromtheledge
    downfromtheledge says:

    2 things.

    1. This quote, “Trauma is not as accurate an indicator of future emotional mess as much as secrets about trauma is” of course reminded me of the advice you gave me a while back about my blog:

    “You should blog under your own name. Of all the things that are terrible, doing something this good, that you are this devoted to – doing it anonymously is too close to a metaphor for suicide. So you have to use your name. To do it anonymously is to give up on everyone around you — their ability to see the site and see you for who you are. Your ability to be yourself in the world and be accepted. All that stuff is really important given that the topic is suicide.”

    Believe it or not, I think about your words a lot, even though I still can’t fathom the aftermath of telling anyone. The one friend I did tell about my blog subsequently never spoke to me again.

    Nonetheless, hiding eats away at me on a daily basis. If I don’t find some way to integrate the past that I am so ashamed of with my present, I fear that I will be imprisoned forever by the secrets I keep.

    2. I’m so glad I clicked on your link to Lisa Firestone’s piece (her Huffington Post articles are amazing) if only for this one tiny sentence: “In many ways we are reliving rather than living.”

    • Sarah Rolph
      Sarah Rolph says:

      Your comment made me curious about your blog, so I visited just now and read a few posts. It’s excellent. Do you realize how talented you are? You’re a great writer. And if you can write that well and that truthfully about such deep and painful topics, you have a lot of courage, as well. I would like to suggest that you give yourself more credit for that courage. In my view, putting your thoughts out there into the world, using your voice, giving us the benefit of your wisdom, is not hiding. Your topics are very personal and sensitive, so there is a case to be made for keeping your name out of it, especially since it sounds like you don’t have a lot of support in your life right now.

      You say you feel like you are hiding, and that it eats away at you. That is very important. I wonder if there is a sense in which that feeling is not just about the blog, but about the split between the honesty of your blogging and the politeness and propriety you feel bound to in the offline world. You say in one of your posts that in the “real world” you can’t just tell someone to STFU when they give you a cliche like “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.” You clarify in a reply to a comment that you actually don’t want to say STFU since you are too nice. I think there’s something in between. You can say something honest that is not mean. For example, you can simply say “I disagree.” You don’t have to explain a thing after that unless you want to (if a reasonable person wants to know you can say something like “people do break under pressure sometimes, and I think it’s offensive to suggest otherwise” or “that notion trivializes human suffering, and I think that’s wrong.” Etc.)

      If I’m right that your sense of having to hide is part of your life and not just a blog issue, then taking small steps to hide a little bit less in “real life” might help.

      Take it one step at a time and remember that your pain makes everything more difficult. That is NOT your fault. It’s a fact of reality and you are allowed to take it into account.

      I applaud you for taking the emotional risks you are taking with your blog. I’m sure your searingly beautiful writing helps other people to realize they are not as alone as they thought they were. Thank you for sharing your stories with the world. It does make a difference. Your voice is important, whether or not your name is attached to it.

      • downfromtheledge
        downfromtheledge says:

        I really appreciate all of the thoughts you shared Sarah, especially about the middle ground between hiding my true thoughts….or being a complete bitch when people make insensitive remarks;)

        DEFINITELY, yes, I hide in the offline world as well…I wrote a post called “My Representative” about that very thing. http://www.downfromtheledge.com/2012/07/my-representative.html

        I am working on that, little by little. There are a -lot- of us out there, I suspect, who are working to do better in life than just faking it.

        There is probably a lot more I could say, or should say….but I think it can be summed up with the words “thank you.” Bri

  31. Dannielle Blumenthal
    Dannielle Blumenthal says:

    The greatest waste of a life is to spend it being bored. Living in the moment is never boring because you don’t program how that will turn out. I do have goals but in a very general way, and I try not to focus too much on them, but rather be spontaneous and trust that I will get there by following the current.

    Thanks Penelope for always inspiring me to stay true to myself. And trust that I will get there with G-d’s help, not by PUSHING.

  32. jennifer
    jennifer says:

    I was thinking today about 2 things : that it’s easy to tell when a blogger is in his /her 20s, and it’s particularly easy to tell when the blogger is a guy in his 20s. Their posts make things seem straightforward. It is clear what an “epic ” life is, and achieving such a life is completely under your control. I appreciate your blog because it’s more nuanced. Second, I moved into a new job in a very different career area a year ago. I am still tapping my way in the dark and missing the feeling of knowing what I was doing. And i don’t know what the next career goal is. Your posts are so helpful to keeping morale and hope up when you otherwise are filled with job anxiety every waking moment!

  33. Nishat Farhat
    Nishat Farhat says:

    I was never the blog reader but accidently I stumbled on your blog one day and have been following it ever since. What I love most about your writing is the honesty part. You are so honest with yourself, your life, your friends and you dont mind putting it all out irrespective of how people are going to judge you. I think that is what moves people emotionally. Wheather we like it or not, honesty surprises us. We are constantly taught to hide our trueselves and do brand management all the time. Cudos to your insights and experinces.Keep up the good work and I look forward to a lot more from you.

  34. The 73rd Virgin
    The 73rd Virgin says:

    I guess I’m a little surprised that not posting for ten days leads up to something as thin and pointless as this. I took 6 weeks off from my almost unread and occasionally unreadable blog. Helped a lot.

  35. Melita
    Melita says:

    I like to be surprised in my work – it doesn’t happen often enough. Surprises are exhausting, but being bored is even more exhausting, I find. I try to make my work more surprising, but it often requires getting people to come along with me, and usually they don’t want to. I am constantly frustrated. Well – not constantly -but often. And in case anyone is reading this – you should TOTALLY get coaching from Penelope. She is great.

  36. susan
    susan says:

    “Are you a person who makes emotional space in your life to be routinely surprised?”

    Interesting idea that I want/need to think some more about.

    My quick answer is no because I am tired a lot of the time. I could make changes so that I am not tired all the time. But then I would have no excuse about ignoring my life and being routinely surprised.

  37. Yvette
    Yvette says:

    > > So do you want to know if you’re on a good career path? { yes } Are you scared? { yes, sometimes } Are you a person who makes emotional space in your life to be routinely surprised? { yes, but i agree it’s exhausting } If not, etc… { getting to a path that matters } . > >

    Yes I’ve thought about making time for getting coaching, and Penelope has written a lot about it, enough so to give me some confidence that I don’t want to pay for it right now, because any more than I’m already getting from mentor types in my life would probably just confuse me. I know I’m on a good path, because I said yes to the above questions, and I think I get it….

    Still, I was left wondering … that’s it? Leaving space in my emotional life for surprise, and being on a path that matters to me. Seems … too easy.

    And, it hasn’t been. Easy, that is. I mean I agree with all the comments about part-time work being undervalued, women parenting while trying to be financially stable is impossible alone, and even that the school system stinks.

    Still, my child is in a top public school in my city, and I think I’m doing well by her. I try really hard to make sure home life is where real learning is being done, thus keeping school in perspective. I stayed married, even when I wanted to give up, several times, yes, for the sake of the children, and me. It’s turned out alright. We’ve been together 25 yrs.

    And, oddly enough, I’ve finally found my dream job, part-time and flexible, as a self-employed / independent contractor. But, it wasn’t easy….. I guess I’m still wondering, does it ever get easy? Does knowing I’m on a good path, make it easier? Probably not.

    As PT always says, you probably already know the answer. A coach will likely make you simply face it. Of course, facing scary stuff isn’t easy. So, friends, can help, too.

    Reading here that success can be defined as simply being on the path I want(ed) to be on … well, that made my day. Cheers.

  38. Siegfried
    Siegfried says:

    I am a bit tired of all that bs with career path – what I have to do, what I need to do etc. I getting older and slowly running out of time – maybe I should start doing something I really like? :)

    • Franklyn Anderson
      Franklyn Anderson says:

      When it comes to choosing which fork in the path to go down I always try to follow my heart. Your head can get so messed up with all the BS from other people trying to influence what you should do. How would they know what’s best for you anyway? Your heart knows.

  39. JJ Wong
    JJ Wong says:

    This post reminds me of the Quote: “Success is not a destination, it’s a journey.”

    For me, while fighting hard for my life towards a path, a destination, I too want to enjoy the process well. As life is an on going process, enjoy every single moment, is already part of the good path in our life. :)

    Live life, enjoy life.

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