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I couldn’t see the easier path right next to me. (This is so common.)

I couldn’t see the easier path right next to me. (This is so common.)

I was recently out for a walk on a winter afternoon, and I had to laugh at myself at what I did. I was looking down, trying not to fall on the icy path. As a result, I missed seeing the easier, non-slippery path right next to me. Ha.

I missed the easier path while looking down at the ice.
I was so busy looking down, trying not to fall on the icy path, that I didn’t realize a non-slippery section was right there beside me.

So simple. I felt myself relaxing as I started on the easier path and then I could also enjoy the great view.

It reminded me of what I see so often with people and their career or business stress, and what I have done myself. We miss seeing what could be so much easier, because we’re occupied with managing stress.

I had a good laugh at myself that day, after my spouse pointed out the easier path. Where else am I doing this and I don’t even know it? I need to think about that because saving my energy for the right stuff is important.

Examples of missing the easy path in our careers

I’ve got 3 examples for how I see people using the harder path in their career choices. I’ve certainly experienced these. See if you recognize yourself in these. They are all very common.

Example 1: Searching endlessly for jobs as a way to find your career path.

The typical hard way: It’s so common that people search and search online for new career options, and try to fit themselves to what they find. It’s exhausting and doesn’t work very well. Reminds me of spinning wheels on the wrong path.

Typical method for finding your career path: Searching, searching. Waiting for insights.
Typical method for finding your career path. (Exhausting and doesn’t work.)

The easier way you might have missed: The more effective method, and faster (and more fun), is to first do some clarification of your strengths, values, personality and basically what is the best use of you. When you know that, it’s much easier to see where that aligns with possibilities out there. The order of steps matters. (I can walk you through these steps in the Career Clarity Course.)

Example 2: Getting stuck on the obvious path without checking out other options.

The typical hard way: This classic example helps to explain… Many people think that if they enjoy psychology and care about people, that it must mean they should be a psychotherapist or social worker. End of story. But then…

In many cases, they go down that road and feel drained but assume it’s the only way so they plod along and stay stuck. In other cases, they dismiss it before checking it out, and then assume there’s no meaningful path for them that will work.

Mistake: Keeping your options too narrow, then giving up.

The easier way you might have missed: You could search wider than the one expected path. If you enjoy psychology and want to help others, AND you want work that fits your own energy needs too, consider alternative career options to being a psychotherapist where you get to feel energized, not drained. Whatever path you are drawn to, there are alternative paths worth exploring.

Example 3: Assuming self-employment isn’t a fit.

The typical hard way: Many introverts and HSPs assume self-employment is only for extroverts or that it will be too hard, before even learning more. This was me! For years. I just didn’t know what I didn’t know. I saw people doing it and loving it, but I still couldn’t see how it would work for me.

The easier way you might have missed: There are ways to make self-employment work well for introverts and HSPs. We sure do love the freedom of self-employment and how our natural talents can flow, so it’s worth a look. It just takes learning a little to see how it might actually work for you.

I am so passionate about this path to freedom that I tried to address the common worries in my self‑employment 101 course, Bridge to Self‑employment, so that you can decide after knowing the inside story on how it could actually work for you.

It doesn't have to be a cliff. It can be like a bridge.

Let’s Both Think About It…

I’m going to go think about where I might be walking on the slippery path instead of the steady easier path. I hope you will too.

Please say no to doing it the hard way because that’s a burnout path. It’s not just a slower path, it’s harmful. Plus despite all that effort, it usually doesn’t even work. And often, the easier path is right there waiting for you.

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Val Nelson

I’ve been a self-employed career/business/purpose coach since 2009. I help introverts and HSPs (like me) who want to make a difference — in a way that fits our practical needs too.
Val Nelson | Coaching | Groups | Courses | Newsletter | LinkedIn

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