A Stand Against Ruts

May 11, 2007

A lot of people I talk to seem trapped.

Some are trapped on the path of what they “should” be doing with their careers. They are spending a few years at one company and trying to get a better job at another company, which will lead to a different better job at a different company—and they aren’t sure where it stops and they know they don’t even want to take the ride.

Some are in jobs they’ve had for years, where they hear lots of promises of change and better opportunities, but all they get are empty words. They hang on wondering if the words will ever come true in spite of the evidence they see every day.

Some are bored, or even worse they feel like their souls are shriveling up. They pour their productive hours into monotonous tasks without meaning and with no end in sight. They don’t think they deserve to enjoy their work.

The sad thing, but also the powerful thing, is that all these people know they have a vision to do something unique that’s bigger and more fulfilling. But they won’t pursue the vision, because of what they “should” be doing instead, or because they’re holding on to safety and security while they whither away. Worse yet, some hold on to not-quite safety and not-really security hoping what they have will become “good enough” some day.

Fear is insipid. Creative career counselor Barbara Sher likes to refer to “the Dobermans” in our minds that start barking and howling when they sense danger—even when the danger is merely changing from the boring rut to the exciting unknown of possibility. Like the guard dogs, our internal Dobermans are overly alert and greatly exaggerate the threat, but we hear the barking and think it must be really dangerous so we pull back.

Most of our “support” systems just support the status quo. Be normal, like us. Don’t excel. Don’t do unique and exciting things. Have the same kinds of jobs and take the same kinds of vacations and enjoy the same kinds of activities as the rest of us. Then it will be really easy for us all to talk to each other, because we won’t have to stretch our minds, leave our comfort zones, and think.

I stand opposed to ruts that keep people from knowing their true nature and expressing their true talents.

I stand opposed to ruts that hold people back from taking reasonable risks to try the new, the unique, and the interesting.

I stand opposed to ruts that tell people fitting in with other people’s expectations is more important than creating a life that fits just right.

I stand for creative thought, visions pursued, authentic living, and the power of expressing your true self.

I stand for hope.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey


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