[ARTICLE] It's time to put down your boulder

Updated: Apr 28



Great Expectations


I want to start 2021 by sharing my story. I graduated from my Masters program in 2008 knowing next to nothing about the professional world. I don’t know exactly what I expected, but it surely wasn’t quitting my first full-time job after only 11 months. Except, that’s exactly what happened. I was unhappy but chucked it up to bad luck.


This exploration took about 12 years. I received many generous pay checks and met many wonderful people along the way, but I was also beyond exhausted. On top of that, I had spent the last half of that time suffering from clinical depression.


Since then, none of my jobs brought me anywhere close to what I'd imagined for my professional life. I kept on trying and trying. All sorts of different ways. Different industries and different roles. So, when I finally walked away from full-time work, I knew I had tried everything possible to make things work.


This exploration took about 12 years. I received many generous pay checks and met many wonderful people along the way, but I was also beyond exhausted. On top of that, I had spent the last half of that time suffering from clinical depression.

Is It Thinking Outside Of The Box Or Just A Larger Box?


All throughout those 12 years I thought I was trying different things, but it was simply variations on a theme. None of these variations were ever going to give me what I wanted.


I've discovered through my jobs that I had trouble separating myself from my projects. I took to them enthusiastically and dwelled on them at work and at home after hours. I’ve discovered that I loved being very thorough and having control over my work, which wasn’t always possible or welcome in my past jobs.


I had been taking more risks with jobs than everyone I knew professionally at the time. So, I thought this was "outside of the box". But it wasn't. My box was just slightly larger than theirs.

Now, as a small business owner, I look back and smile. What I thought were my limitations became superpowers in a different environment. And yet, I haven't thought of entrepreneurship until after I ran out of ideas on how to fix my professional life.


When you are making decisions alone, it's hard to think outside of the box. I had been taking more risks with jobs than everyone I knew professionally at the time. So, I thought this was "outside of the box". But it wasn't. My box was just slightly larger than theirs.



When I finally took the plunge into self-employment, I understood the flaws in my thinking. I was finally free to use all my skills. I was learning so much again. And, most important, I felt nervous and excited again! I was no longer just waiting for Friday, for summer, for someone to give me permission to run my own business.


Why did I spend 12 years in a no-win situation doing things that I didn't like over and over again? Because my imagination had limits. Had I had a mentor or a coach who wasn't restricted by the limits of my imagination, I may have had a much faster and happier route to where I am right now.

Put Down Your Boulder


So how did I stop doing what wasn't working without any external help? I gave myself a deadline. I was about to turn 38, and I promised myself that I would be running a successful business by the time I turned 40. I knew that it would take approximately 2 years to figure things out, so I was technically out of time for messing around.


It took a massive mindset shift - I was only able to put down my boulder when I finally gave myself permission to put it down.

You know how liberating it felt to realize that I could no longer afford to spend time on things that wouldn’t work? It felt like, up to that point, I've been carrying around a huge boulder. But now I could simply put it down and walk away. It took a massive mindset shift - I was only able to put down my boulder when I finally gave myself permission to put it down.



But not everyone feels they can put down their boulders. Your boulder of an unhappy unsatisfying job may be paying your mortgage, your kid's daycare, or your parents' medical bills. This means, you need to strategize. You need to get exposure to new professional opportunities while still holding that exhausting and mind-numbing full-time job, as well as taking care of your personal commitments at the same time.


Not everyone feels they can put down their boulders. Your boulder of an unhappy unsatisfying job may be paying your mortgage, your kid's daycare, or your parents' medical bills.

I feel you. I've been there. I got out by the skin of my teeth feeling irreparably damaged. But guess what? The sense of pride I have now in myself for doing what's right for me and working on my business is beyond anything I could have imagined. I started to heal almost as soon as I started doing what I've always been meant to do.

You Don't Have To Do It Alone


Now I work with other professionals one on one to help them plot their professional growth strategies. I specialize in career pivots because of my lived experience. I am here to support anyone who is looking to put down their boulder, figure out what's been causing them to be so unhappy once and for all, and support them as they take the first few steps forward along the new path.


If you feel that you can relate to my story, I'd love to connect with you to share some thoughts and experiences. No one should be struggling with these complex issues alone! So please don’t hesitate to get in touch.



I look forward to hearing from you,

--Lana


MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR...


Lana Melnichuk is a Career Management Coach for mid-career professionals, freelancers and solopreneurs. She works with individuals who want to take a more active role in managing their careers. She founded Two Steps Forward Consulting Co. in March of 2020.