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Advice / Career Paths / Exploring Careers

The 2 Questions That Rescued Me From a Career I Hated

So, there I was, sitting on smugly my couch in another nacho-fueled, misery-inducing Real Housewives marathon.

I was miserable in my job, I was feeling ungrateful for being miserable in a prestigious six-figure role, and I wasn’t really sleeping (or making good eating choices—hence the nachos).

I was also smug.


Because I knew I was right.

I was right that quitting my job and starting a new business like a career coaching practice was completely not practical and doomed to failure (not to mention, how would I pay for my shoe addiction?).

I was right that the only thing I knew how to do well was consulting, so obviously I should do that, you know, until I died.

And being right meant that I got to sit on my high horse (or in this case, my purple couch), and do nothing.

I didn’t have to make scary choices about my career. I didn’t have to get off the beaten path and have people judge me. And I didn’t have to change my routine in any way.

Nope, instead I got to eat nachos and watch women scream at each other. And you know what? It sucked and I was miserable.

Then, two things saved me.

The first thing was asking myself, just for a minute, this question: “What if you stopped being right, and started being curious—just for a second?”

Which lead me to wonder this: “What if you could start a coaching business and be successful? How would you do that?”

Asking those questions was kind of relaxing (being right is stressful!) and they made me feel just a little bit better.

And that led me to the second second thing that saved me—I asked myself this question: “Who do you know that you could ask?”

And I started asking friends and family (and Google): “Do you know anyone who is a successful coach that I can talk to? I’d love to learn more about how they did it.”

I also knew a couple of people at work who were coaches in addition to being consultants, and I spoke with them.

Those conversations were good: “Coaching’s great—you should totally get certified!” And bad: “The DC market is saturated with coaches, you’ll never be able to set up your own business.”

Even with the bad news, I found myself inspired—if other people were doing it, maybe I could do it too? I was surprised that my family and friends knew some people too—and those conversations were really really inspiring “Of course you can be a successful coach in this market—I’m doing it and I’ve been doing it for years. You’ll do fine.”

Yep, my network started to show me a new way forward, and as I kept asking questions, I got more and more excited.

Those initial conversations and questions led to more information, a coaching program, a certification, a new business, a Forbes award as a Top 100 website for careers, and many other amazing honors and fun, but mostly, I get to help people.—and that feels great.

And it all started with two things:

  1. Being curious instead of being right
  2. A great and supportive network.

So this is me, on the other side, telling you that you can absolutely do this. Take a moment and worry less about what you can’t do (that you know is absolutely right) and instead embrace what you might do.

You’ve got this. The world is your oyster.

And if you need more help with creating a network out of thin air to 100% support you, here’s a five-minute fancy-pants free video to help!

Photo of person looking out courtesy of Dave and Les Jacobs/Getty Images.