How did we end up here? (And what to do about it)


From an early age, we get sucked into “The Success Trap”. We stay working in businesses with toxic cultures or in jobs that we are good at but don’t actually like that much.

It starts with our grades being tracked at school, decisions about which university you choose to go to and the name of the business you eventually start working in.

The path is well worn, we slide up the greasy pole and once we reach the top and take a look at the scenery (because we didn’t take the time to do this on the way up), we often ask ourselves “How did I end up here?”.

The thing is, you are here now. The next question should be how do you take control of the next part of your life.

In his book ‘The Three Marriages’, David Whyte suggests that you need to separate self, work, and others and have conversations about how each one of them works before you bring them back together in a way that they can co-exist.

Here are a few questions you can use to start the conversation.

Questions about self

  • Am I following the vision I want for my life?
  • Which energy sources drain or elevate me?
  • What should I start to care less about?
  • Which priorities are mine and which are others’?
  • What am I ‘stuffing’ into my life?
  • How do I like to disconnect and recharge?

Questions about work

  • How can I work smarter not harder?
  • Do I ask for help and/or delegate at work?
  • Is my work causing me any personal dis-ease?
  • Why do I find it hard to leave work at work?
  • Have I set specific goals instead of just going with the flow?
  • How can I exercise alternative work options?

Questions about others

  • Which relationships have I neglected and why?
  • What rituals might I need to put in place with people?
  • What conversations do I need to have to establish boundaries?
  • How can I stop begin resentful about other people’s choices?
  • Where can I ‘be of service’ (do good) for others?
  • Am I making enough time for tech-free relationship development?

I also add in questions about home

  • Can I have good peace of mind in my home?
  • What is my wake up or slow down routine?
  • How well am I eating?
  • Can I streamline my food decisions?
  • Can I work at home and do I want to?
  • What is zapping my energy at home?

What next?

Take a look at your answers. Remember, Whyte suggests that we need to break each part down before we can bring them back together in a way that will co-exist.

Which of your four areas needs more focus?

Action Steps

Take the time to plan out your week, making time for each of the four elements.

At the end of the week to monitor how well you stuck to each commitment.

This is an ongoing process that should adapt and flex with you as your situation changes and you start to create more balance.

The great thing about this process is there is no right or wrong answer. You don’t have to share this with anyone else, unless of course you choose to. YOU get to create YOUR version of success – one that is unique to you and nobody else.