practicing courage when you hate your job

You might be someone who sees all of these people on the internet quitting their jobs and starting businesses, and you might think:

“I have truly looked at every option, and I have big dreams that I’m building. But–right now? I simply cannot afford to quit my job. That is reality.”

Every day that you sit in that reality might feel utterly soul-sucking.

This video is intended to help you practice courage, even when you hate your job.

It’s possible to practice courage while being right where you are, even amid circumstances that feel less than ideal (in fact, that’s the best kind of courage to practice; the kind of courage that really helps you to develop some powerful muscles).

After watching the video, consider each of the ideas posed and how you might apply them to your own current job situation.

Head over to Facebook ( to share a bit about how you practice courage even when you hated your job/if you hate your job, currently.

breathe through this, and you will get the gift (how it began part 3)

(this is the third part of a 3-part installation: Part 1 : How it Began , Part Two : Transforming complaints into prayers, Part Three: Getting the Gift).

When it comes right down to it, I credit a few significant things with drastically changing my life, and I see now how they were prayers, answered.

They were:

  • Matthew Marzel, the guy I affectionately call my guru.
  • Challenge Day, the most powerful workshops I know of or have had the pleasure of experiencing.




I initially started working with Matthew in a couples capacity, working with my partner, Andy. Therein would start a journey of trust and vulnerability with a teacher unlike any other I had previously been able to conceive of.

Imagine being able to tell someone your deepest, darkest, most shameful stories, and then come out on the other side with powerful ways to work with all of that. Matthew has been the greatest influencer in my own approach to working with clients–I want to be with all of it alongside you, and walk with you through the muck until you see that the muck was never muck, it could never hurt you, and that you are more powerful than any limiting story that you could tell.

There have been times when I’ve been royally pissed off by his unflinching stance that he would hold me in integrity, to my highest vision for myself. The variegated tones of my relationship with him have always interested me. I don’t think I’ve ever met another counselor or coach who lets themselves be so fully seen, and the power of his work continues to delight and amaze me.


Challenge Day

Then there were the Challenge Day workshops (they have two offerings; one for teens in schools and the one I’m talking about here, which is for adults). They were recommended to me by Matthew. They taught me the meaning of committed, ferocious love. People come from around the world to attend these workshops–they are that good.


“Courage” as a guiding theme

I think I realized that courage was my pivot point after I had an experience that I initially viewed as utterly annoying: a random comment made by someone on Facebook.

I wasn’t yet coaching full-time, and on my small teacher’s salary, I had saved up enough money to spend the summer in Italy. I was ecstatic about this, reveling in the joy and beauty of a country that I love deeply, enjoying the language and gelato and sight-seeing.

I posted something about my happiness on Facebook, and someone made a wet-blanket comment about how not everyone could just go off and do something like that.

At first, the comment rankled me. Then, like a white-hot bolt of “Duh,” I realized that the person who had made the comment had no kids, plenty of vacation time to take from their job, and a total annual household income that was five times more than what I made.

They could have gone to Italy for the summer, if they had wanted to. They hadn’t made it a priority. Now, triggered by what they were seeing me do, they were raining on my parade.

And–that was bullshit.

That was one of the first times that I truly made the connection.

That summer in Italy, I thought about my life–a lot. I thought about what I was a stand for. I thought about why and how it was that I had grown up in a shitty, drug-infested neighborhood, poor, and what I had done with those circumstances. I thought about the guy who had told me, before I finished my graduate degree, that I would “never” find a job as a professor, and how he said it in such a knowing way–and how I had found one straight out of graduate school.

He had been wrong. I had defined this, for myself.

I thought about the choices I’d made in my life and how they had all scared the shit out of me in some way or another–and yet–I’d decided that, like my mother, fear was no reason whatsoever to not do something in life.

I thought about how I wanted everyone in the world to have that gift–how, if everyone knew what I knew about fear and if they were willing to practice courage, they could have anything they wanted.

I had started my coaching practice in 2006, but didn’t really ramp it up until the fall of 2009. Prior to then, coaching always felt like a sort of “side hobby,” this thing that I was passionate about but that I didn’t really believe I could do for a living.

In the fall of 2009, I decided that I wanted to be “all-in.” I started with an e-course called The Courageous Year that debuted in 2010. I took on more clients. I raised my rates for the first time in four years. I was writing, writing, writing.

There was a continuity that my life came to in 2009, a space where the work I’d been doing for years was fully integrated into my bones. I was living it, breathing it, working it with every cell.

So–naturally–I got it tattooed on my shoulder: the word “courageus,” in sanskrit, delicately inked. You’ll always remember your first.

  • It was that year that I realized that I wanted to live with integrity like I wanted everlasting salvation.
  • It was that year that I came to understand for the first time that I had always been held in the palm of God’s hand, protected.
  • It was that year that I was willing to take the risk to have something I dearly wanted–to extend this concept of living life on my own terms even to the realm of my career–and that this was the ultimate declaration of sovereignty.
  • It was that year that I got serious about the business of loving myself, working the tools that would nourish me, and not making excuses.

You know what I think, now, when life is throwing me a shit sandwich?

“Hold steady, girl. Hold steady. Because if you can just breathe through this, you will get the gift.”

This I know to be true–if you breathe through it and with it, you will get the gift.

Absolutely, every time.


And, Today

The work that I do? The coaching and the writing?

It is the privilege of a lifetime to live my life from a place of alchemy–transforming all those years of pain into something that can be given to others, to the world.

The beauty is that there’s always more learning.

I’m no guru; I just have a skillset that I’ve learned. I practice courage. I lean into that fear again and again as I try something new or un-peel a new layer of vulnerability.

What excites me the most is this: When you choose to do this kind of work, you give a gift not to just yourself, but to the whole world. Just by being exactly who you are, you can have an enormous ripple effect. For your efforts, I thank you and applaud you.


Part 1 : How it Began

Part Two : Transforming complaints into prayers

Part Three: Getting the Gift


transforming complaints into prayers (part 2 of how it began)

(Cont’d from the previous entry)

To be honest, I don’t think it was the book that shifted my life, so much as it was that this book came into my possession at just the right time.

It was just one of those ubiquitous new-agey books about how you can attract something into your life if you want to, but it was my very first foray into that world, and I took this book seriously–and I do mean, seriously.

I bought a new notebook, completed every single exercise that it said I should complete, didn’t skip a thing, and applied every ounce of steadfast earnestness to what I was wishing for: A job, a friend, a boyfriend.

I know. Of all the things to put steadfast earnestness behind in this world (solving world hunger? world peace? ending homelessness?) I wanted a job, a friend, and a boyfriend.

I had finished graduate school and was moving to Oakland, California, but I had yet to find a job. I knew no one. I wanted a man.

The week before I formally moved into my apartment, through a series of completely fortuitous circumstances, I was offered a job as an English professor. A few months later, I had the friend. A few months after that? I had the man.

There were synchronicities everywhere, and I was loving it, for the first time–I was loving, wildly ecstatically loving, my life.

I tend to find that this is a common experience: when you’re first introduced to the world of New Age living or transpersonal dynamics or whatever you want to call it, it’s like you’re high on life.

For me, it felt like I’d been living in a world of naysayers, and had suddenly discovered an entire culture where people didn’t talk of limitation–they talked of what was possible. I had needed these people, these ideas, this relentless commitment to optimism. My entire life, well-meaning people had warned me to be practical and to always have a backup plan.

This new crew was inviting me to believe something that I think I’d always believed at my core, anyway–that if I really wanted something, I could use that desire to fuel me.

(Now–as the years have gone by, my bullshit detector has been finely honed. I’m a staunch believer in energetics and the unexplained and that which cannot be seen, and yet–yet–I don’t really fork over the cash as readily as I first did when every other week I was riding the high of some new motivational book.)

Over the years, it has settled into quite the nice cocktail of Midwestern, down-to-earth, don’t-bullshit-me pragmatics and surrender, not knowing, not needing to know, not clinging to the illusion of knowing.

But even this was not enough. For awhile, I was wildly happy. I loved my job, my friend, my man.

And then, as things are sometimes wont to do, things fell apart.

“Dislocation” was the word of 2005. There was a dislocation of a bone in my foot. I was out on a routine run, felt something shift, and I would spend the next 2 years trying to figure out how to walk normally, again.

There was a dislocation in my friendship–the new friend I’d made, who I just utterly adored beyond reason, who I thought was smart and sassy and who I found funny and wise even on a random trip to Target to get toothpaste–was triggered as hell by a dynamic that was at work in our friendship. We’d talk about it, and never quite get underneath it, to the bottom of it.

There was a dislocation in my relationship–once past the honeymoon period, I was suddenly wrestling with these feelings of how to be in relationship with someone I loved deeply, but who also brought up all of my stuff, seemed to know just the right way to annoy me or piss me off.

There was a dislocation in my career as a college professor of English. I was disillusioned. I vacillated between feeling perpetually inadequate at making any difference whatsoever, up against 18+ years of poor education or disadvantaged backgrounds–and seething anger, taking it extremely personally that a student would waste my time by doing less than their best, cheating, plagiarizing, or getting mad at me when they earned anything less than an “A.”

By 2005, this is where I had arrived: I had gotten beyond the low-grade, constant depression as a facet of daily existence. I still felt sad at times, but I would, for the first time, have described myself as “happy.” I was curious, open, trying new things.

Yet–I was still left with a nagging sense of being unfulfilled, like something just wasn’t clicking quite right. I knew that I was doing some self-improvement work. I’d been studying Zen Buddhism for over a year. I had invested years into therapy and self-exploration.

But I didn’t wake up in the morning, excited about the day, about my life. My emotions swayed me–someone or something external to me could so easily “make” me mad or sad or frustrated. I had no control over it.


Complains & Prayers

I look back and often think that even when we are not aware of it, we are all living our lives as a series of complaints or a series of prayers (and gratitude, to me, is a prayer). I had been living my life as a series of complaints, up until I got my New Age Freak On and started living my life as a series of prayers.

As it would happen, the prayers I was offering up–prayers I didn’t even feel fully conscious of asking– would be answered. Three things would come into my life that would change everything.


Part 1 : How it Began

Part Two : Transforming complaints into prayers

Part Three: Getting the Gift