This week on the podcast, I'm reviewing Martha Beck's Finding Your Own North Star.
If you've ever wondered how you should find your calling or passion, this book is for you. It is a guide to uncovering what has always been there.
In this episode, I discuss:
The difference between the essential self and the social self.
How to start listening to your essential self and why that's so important.
How to start charting a map to your new life
Hello, and welcome back to another episode. I’m so excited to have you guys here. We’re doing the second installment of our book club this year. As I have mentioned multiple times, this month we are reading Martha Beck’s Finding Your Own North Star and I’m going to jump into that book in a minute. But before I do, we are having our free coaching call for January in a couple of days. If you listen to the podcast, right when it releases it’ll be on the 27th so you still have time to sign up and if you listen to this later and you want to sign up for March, go ahead and go to quitterclub.com/coaching. You will be on the list and get the link - it’s a free call, you jump on, we can talk about anything you want. So often I know that a lot of you have questions specific to your situation and what steps you should take and when you should quit and all that other good stuff. So if you want to talk about it, join me. We talked for about an hour. It's been super helpful and really fun for me. I love doing it. I hope to see you there.
Speaking of book clubs, so the book for March is going to be Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic. It is a very quick read, but such a good book. I'm so excited to dive into that one to make sure you pick that up. I have it on the website, but we're here to talk about February's book club and honestly, this book, I love it so much. I cannot express how much I love this book and I was considering making this a two-parter because there's so much to talk about. I won't do that because I don't want to zap two hours of me talking about a book, but that's just to say that I think everybody should read it.
If you haven't read it up until now, please do. I get an email or a DM or a message on LinkedIn or Facebook at least once a week from someone who is unhappy in their career who found the podcast, which I'm so grateful that you did, but it's some version of I don't know what to do next and if I could write a guidebook... It would be this book, you know, this is what Martha Beck wrote this for. And I will say though, it's not just for people who lack clarity. I read this book for the podcast and I wanted to do it because I thought it would help people that didn't have clarity. I can't tell you how much these exercises helped me and we'll talk about why the purpose behind the entire point of the book. But I think for all of us, it is helpful to read the tips and guide that she has created in this book.
And so I will just put another plug that if you want to listen to the episode, great. I hope you get some wonderful takeaways, even if you haven't read the book, but I would highly suggest you go back and read it. So let's talk about it. The reason why I'm so in love with this book is because when I get these questions from people or when I have people in my group coaching program asking me about what they should do next, there is typically this energy of just I need to figure out what the next thing is going to be so I can jump to it and start accomplishing and become successful. And I'm not saying this in a judgy way. I did this very thing when I was quitting law. I felt so frantic that I needed to figure out the next thing.
And I really did jump without giving myself the time and space to figure out who am I, what do I like? What do I want my life to look like? What lights me up? And I think that I would have prevented some needless suffering if I had given myself that space. But I didn't read this book at the time, which I really wish I had. And so I just jumped to the next thing. Now I eventually found my North star and in reading this book, it really did highlight some of the things that I'm doing right and some of the things that I'm not doing as much as I should be doing and how to constantly kind of be on this path of following your own North star. So I'm grateful that I have this now and I'm grateful that my steps led me to that.
But I think that I did it in a very roundabout way. Yes. And oftentimes when we're trying to just worry about the logistics, like getting the next thing and making sure we're successful, we just end up creating the same situation for ourselves somewhere else. So you're a lawyer that's unhappy or you're in whatever current role you are, you're a doctor, teacher, whatnot, and you want to find the next thing. And so you're just so desperate to do that quickly that you're like, okay, I'm going to start this business. And whether the business is successful or not, you end up being unhappy in that. Either it fails or you are successful, but it's not the business that you wanted. And so you ended up creating another situation where you are like, well this isn't what I love either. And that creates even more of an existential crisis for you.
And so the reason I think this is an important book is because the entire focus of it is to slow down and figure out like why are you doing any of this? You've now come to this realization that you don't want what you have so far. So what are you trying to create? And then this next step, right, what is the life that you want? Get very clear on those answers before you try figuring out the next career. And that's not what most of us want to hear because we want to go, we want to go quickly. You know, when you're in these types of societies that idolize hustle and progress and achievement, it's like you just want to get to the next thing and that's just the wrong approach. And it's gonna lead you astray again. And I just don't want you to go through all the heartache and trouble and struggle of quitting something like changing your identity only to end up in that same place but in a different field.
And so that's why I think it's so important. So let's talk about what the point of the book is. The entire point is that you have, as she calls two parts to you, you have your essential self and you have your social self and we'll talk about what each of those are, but she talks about how we get so focused on the social self that it basically just overtakes our essential self and we forget who we are. And so this journey that you're going on is a discovery that of what it's always been there. You are uncovering rather than creating. And I think so often we think that we have to create ourselves into something new. But really it's just the reverse. It's taking off all of the layers that you have put on yourself, that society is forced on you or that you've chosen to take on to really getting back to who you are at your true essence.
And then figuring out how to create a life that works for you. From your essential self. And so she goes to the book and we'll talk about some of the things that she talks about with this internal navigation system that we all have that guides us towards our North star. And it's just a matter of understanding the signals and being able to read them and follow them and be brave enough to not get steered away by what everybody else thinks. And so yeah, that's basically the book. So let's get into it. So the first chapter starts out with the disconnect itself. Now I'm not going to go chapter by chapter, but I think that the first and two chapters provide a lot of the foundation. That's very important. So she talks about how, you know, when you're a child you say no all the time.
You know what you want very emphatically. Someone doesn't have to tell you, you don't see a lot of children that are wishy-washy. It's yes or no. And we start programming children to say yes even if they don't want to write because it's not polite or it'll hurt other people's feelings or we have to share or whatever it is. And so from two on or even before then, you know, you start getting programmed what you should be doing and that becomes the social self. So the social self is a part of you that learns to value the things that were valued by the people around you. This keeps us safe. It keeps us in a tribe. I mean this is our natural way of being. It's something that babies learn. They learn when their caretaker, laughs at their cooing like that is going to get them love and affection.
So they coo more - it's been studied. We do it from one word, newborns on. And as you get older we value so much what other people in our immediate circle look and see and judge us that we end up doing contorting ourselves and creating this social self so that we are accepted. There is also the essential self, which is the true essence of who you are. Deep down it is your makeup from when you were born, it was formed. It is your characteristic desires, your preferences, your emotional reactions. And one way she talks about it that I like is to think about your essential self would have been the same regardless of where or when you were born. Doesn’t matter who your family is, what country you were born into, what religion, what culture, what time.
That would've been the same thing. But your social self obviously is very much dictated by where you're born, who you're born to, what year you're born into. And so it's a good way of thinking about that. This is the true essence of who you are. Now that's not to say that the social self is a bad thing. We were just talking about the fact that it's part of our tribal being and she, you know, makes a funny point that there are people who tend to stick to their essential self and not really let their social self takeover. And she says if you kind of go around just following your essential self and your all of your desires and really putting that first, you tend to end up in prison. Because we cannot function in this society without following certain norms and rules.
And even with children, you know, it's not necessarily a bad thing that you're, we're socializing them because children would make terrible decisions for themselves cause their desires would not keep them alive. Like they would only eat sugar all the time. And you know, we do things because we know it is in their best interest. So when these two systems can function together and communicate and they're on the same page, it's wonderful. But that doesn't typically happen. Because most of us ended up valuing the social self so much more that we let it basically cannibalize our essential self. It completely takes over. And so what happens is that you end up thinking that you have your essential self. What I hear so often and what I felt when I was leaving is that I have nothing else that I like. I have no other passions or interests [inaudible] now looking back that's laughable because obviously I always had them, they were always there, but for so long I allowed myself to be guided by what other people thought and what other people wanted for me and what was considered successful or acceptable or powerful or whatever else that I really had it tuned in to like what is it that I actually want for my life.
So I think that when you can re-establish contact with your essential self, that's how you will get guided toward your North star, towards what you should be doing towards the life that you want to live. And you have to be able to tell your social self to relax, to sit back and let you kind of go inward. And that's the hard part. We're not used to that. Now in the chapter, one thing I love is that she gives this assessment where she asks these statements and you're supposed to answer how often this kind of happens in your life. And you can say often, sometimes, rarely or never. Okay. And there's, there's a long list you can go through yourself, but the list, it's statements like, my life feels like a great adventure. I have fun, I laugh out loud, I get so involved in projects, I forget to stop. I feel deeply understood. I do things I loved when I was a kid. I try new things.
And she's funny at the end of it, she says if you didn't answer often to every single one of these questions, then you could stand to be closer to your essential self. And sometimes when I'm working with clients, I ask a lot of these types of questions and I know there's a lot of resistance again because I don't talk about if I laugh out loud, you know, or if I have fun like I want to figure out what I should be doing. And again, going back to why I love this book is because it really just focuses on what is important and if your life does it feel like an adventure or you don't have fun or if you're not laughing out loud, there's a problem.
Because you very much should have those things in your life regardless of what your career is. And we, in our Western cultures, get so wrapped up in achievement and succeeding and stability and you know, suppressing the fear that we feel and whatnot that a lot of us, most of us, I would say the far majority of people would answer “rarely” to a lot of these statements because we don't have time. We've convinced ourselves that we don't have time to live these lives where we prioritize joy or we do things that just are fun because you know, we have responsibilities and we have kids and we have work and we have 1,000,002 dues and it's like, what's the point? What is the point of that life? And so as we'll go through to getting really tuned into this navigational system that you have that leads you to fun and joy and laughter and playfulness that will lead you to the thing that you should also be doing.
The more aligned you get into understanding what brings you happiness in this life, the more you will figure out what kind of work you should also be doing. Not focusing on, you know, how much money I want to make or what kind of business I should have, what is working online right now, but really once I get that thing, will I love it because it brings me unbridled joy? And so I think it's a really good way of realizing and reassessing. If I don't have these things in my life, why is that? Even with my current job? How can I start creating a life where I'm doing things that I enjoy, where I try new things? Do things that I loved as a child. Why am I not doing that stuff anymore? And I know I'm not the only one.
I see this in everybody I talk to. For me personally, I loved it. Dancing. I've always been a dancer from when I was a child and then I stopped dancing for a really long time and I don't even know why. But I look back and it's like that was the one thing that brought me so much joy. Why would I not do it? And when you're in those states and you're doing those things that bring you joy, it's amazing how much clarity all of a sudden you cane in where your life should be. And that's when she talks about a lot is that essential self speaks in that language so loudly to you. Like in your joy. It will show you the clarity for how you should live. It's just that we are taught to ignore that as suppress it so long that we need to learn how to reconnect.
So she goes on to basically talk about how you can figure out this language of your essential self. So she talks about how the central self doesn't really use language. It doesn't have that part of the brain. And so it's not like it's an internal dialogue. It comes out in other ways. And so you have to start listening to these clues. Now, some of the things that she talks about, like the ways that your essential self says no, she talks about an energy crisis. When you're lethargic, when there's something that you're doing that you're always exhausted to do, that is your essential self telling you not to do that thing. The opposite is, you know, you've all seen when you do something that you love, you're just failed with an unbelievable amount of energy. And so the more you can start doing those things, the closer you are to your North star.
She talks about sickness. There are actual studies that sickness goes up during finals in schools. Because stress decreases your immune response. So if you're finding yourself being sick all the time, maybe look at the things that you're doing right now. I think it's so insane, but I never questioned it when I was a lawyer that myself and so many of the people around me, I have these insane physical reactions. I had a friend who would constantly break out in hives, all over her body and then quit law. And surprisingly she never breaks out in hives anymore. And I'm not saying that it is the law, but it's the stress that came with it. Or people have panic attacks or their hair falls out or they get depressed or whatever it is. Well let's take a look at the underlying source of what is causing that instead of trying to put a bandaid on it.
We're just taught to cope. Like how do you deal with a panic attack? What pills can you take so that you can still go to work? No, let's figure out what is causing that. So she goes through a lot of things that you can read about. She talks about times where you forget important things and that's your essential self basically trying to steer you away from that. You have important meetings you forget about or you say really stupid things to people and it's just your essential self trying to guide you. I think you need to read more about that cause it's a little hard to explain and she talks about, you know, getting to, yes, there's a lot of like when you feel like you lose track of time, when you're doing something, we hear this a lot with people that are in the flow.
Hours go by and you thought it was about five minutes. There are people that have a magnetic attraction to something or somebody, it's like they can't explain it, but they feel so called to go to this class or to talk to this person. And a lot of the times when we actually stop and listen to that as opposed to having our brain jump in and think, Oh that's stupid. Don't talk to them. They're gonna think you're annoying… If we follow those clues, it's amazing where it will lead us. So she goes through a couple of exercises of what you can do. And I think that really looking at those exercises and thinking about how does my essential self say yes, like when do I show up and I'm the happiest and then the most energized and I'm the healthiest and you know, I, I feel the most in flow versus when am I lethargic and depressed and in a bad mood and all this other stuff.
So you can read more into that. The part I love about this book so much is chapter four. She starts talking about other people's opinions and we all do this where we know deep down like I am now convinced, everybody I talk to says that they don't know what they want. And I know deep down they know. I knew. I knew looking back now I know that I knew what I wanted to do. I just didn't think it was possible. I didn't think I can make it into a career. I didn't know what, and I was worried about what everybody was going to think. And she talks about this, everybody, the quote-unquote everybody, because we just have this generalized other. We think it's everybody. When in reality it's only five or six people and we all do this. And it depends on what our social circles are, what our religion is, what our political party is, what our culture is.
You know, how we create this generalized other, but we tend to want to think that it's much more massive than it is. And so one exercise that she has that I think is invaluable that everybody should do, is when you're starting to feel that doubt, like what will everybody say? If I quit this, then everyone's going to think I'm not smart enough or I'm a failure, or everyone's going to laugh at me or think I'm crazy, or whatever that is. Whatever that statement you have in your head, write that down and name six people that you actually know that verifiably hold that opinion because it's almost impossible to even name six. There's a lot of assumptions. There's a lot of assumptions that people are thinking things that they aren't actually thinking. I know I felt this when I quit my legal job.
I remember thinking though it'd be so judged by my coworkers and I had a lot of stuff, stories about especially being a working mother, a working woman and kind of quitting at that time when I had a new baby and was leaving, you know, was that kind of selling out and whatever. All these other stories that I've created for myself. And I remember when I went to Kuwait, I had so many people congratulate me and tell me they wish they could do it. And I was so taken aback by it because I was convinced that they were going to be harsh and roll their eyes or be mean or whatever. And obviously I had created that in my mind. And I think that when you start stepping out into the stuff, a lot of those things that you think everybody is going to do just turn out not to be true.
But it's really powerful to start writing this down and seeing if there are six actual people or do you have to start generalizing and saying people at work or people at my church or you know, just a generalized other. And even if you have that, you can write that down. That's fine. But I would say try to list as many specific people because the important point in this is that, quote-unquote, everybody is made up partly of loved ones and partly of hated ones. And Martha Beck writes in her book every single day, you hand over control of your life to the very people you most dislike.
It’s a very true and shocking statement. And I think a lot of times we don't realize this. I mean we realize that we're doing it, but we don't think about it kind of objectively where there are people that you don't even like or maybe you don’t even love. You know, it might be a family member, but it's the meanest and most demanding and narrow-minded person in your family. And it's not someone that you would want to mirror their life or they don't seem happy in their life or whatever it is and whatever they're going through, whatever they were raised with, whatever thoughts they have, you don't agree with that. And yet you don't do the thing you want to do because you're so scared of what that person is going to say. And again, this is an understandable thing, evolutionarily we are programmed to avoid danger and mean people are more dangerous than nice people.
So we do this all the time where we ignore the loving people. Like all the people that we know we will have in our corner and we focus in on that mean boss or whoever that uncle that's always has a snide comment or that friend who is a friend but not really. And you know they're going to talk behind your back or whatever it is. But I think becoming conscious of that actually kind of loses its power. You start realizing why you’re not living the life you want to live because of a person you don't really respect that much or don't want to model you life after doesn't understand. Once that becomes more conscious, you realize how ridiculous it is and it can help. But she talks about how to get over this fear of everybody is one kind of realizing that it's not everybody but to starting to look for evidence of the people that are on your side.
Writing out statements like I am lovable exactly as I am, or I can be wildly successful at whatever career I choose or I'm amazingly capable and then fill out who you think would hold those statements as true. And we all have those people too. And when you look at the difference between those two lists, it's like who do you like better? Why are you listening to the people that, are like, the negative Nancy is in your life? Why are you not listening to the people that are supportive that like, you know, I know I did this, my husband was always very supportive of my decision and I was so terrified for so long for quitting, of quitting, even though he's one of the most important people in my life. And knowing that I have support has meant everything to me in this journey, but for so long I didn't care.
I was thinking, well, of course, he'll support me. But you know, there are these other people that are going to say something and when you look back you think, why do I care about those other people when I have somebody so incredible that's fighting for me that's there to pick me up when I need it. And so it helps a lot to start having a list of those people and to start spending time with those people. And here's the thing, if you don't have those people, you get a new community. I know that sounds harsh. We've talked about this before and I think this will come up in other books that we're going to read actually in atomic habits by James Clair. He talks about how just statistically if you want to be successful at a goal, you have to surround yourself with a community that values that goal.
So yeah, if you want to lose weight, you have to surround yourself with people that value health and wellness and exercise and eat. That’s just the way it works. If you're around people that are eating fast food all the time, you're likely not going to stick to your goals. It's the same thing with this. I think that maybe your church is not supportive of your lifestyle. Maybe your family doesn't understand that you want to quit your career. Okay? You don't have to talk to them about it. You can start going to meetups with entrepreneurial people who understand not wanting to work a nine to five, surround yourself within everybody that supports your ideas so then you don't feel as crazy or you feel like you have go against the whole world.You feel like you do have a support system.
But the thing is that we've had these deep-seated ruts in our brain for so long about the negative stuff or the people that we focused on that it takes time to build those ruts with good positive thoughts write about yourself. And so you have to understand that that kind of happens slowly, but you can do it. And so some exercises that she talks about is to write a list of all the positive feedback that you've received. I've heard this from other people too who talk about writing a badass list because we do all these incredible things in our lives and then we just like kind of explain them away. Like, Oh yeah, that wasn't that big of a deal. But then we focus so heavily on all the things that we failed at. And so a lot of times, well you just have to give your brain proof of your capability.
I will figure this out. I am smart enough to do this. Look at all these other things I've done. So I think that can be really helpful. Another one that I really love in the exercises that she gives is write an autobiography with you as the hero and not the victim of your own life to tell the story of your life with you, the hero, that acts as the primary problem-solver rather than the helpless victim. And I think a lot of times we don't realize that we look at ourselves as a victim and yet we're just waiting for someone else to change our situation. We're waiting for a boss that's gonna be nice to us and make our work life better. Or we're waiting for a spouse or a friend or whoever to come and fix this situation and they're not going to.
And I think seeing yourself as the hero that is gonna solve these problems is a really big step towards your own personal freedom and power and understanding that you have everything you need to make the life that you want. So she goes through, and I won't go through this cause it w we'd be here all day, but she goes through a couple of chapters of how to identify this emotional compass. So she talks about it in three different ways. So it's your body, your emotions, and your intuition. So she talks about your body again, we were talking about how your body might break out into hives or panic attacks. Start listening to that. Like we ignore our bodies so much and yet we understand that like our body reacts to our thoughts. So for instance, how do lie detectors work?
When you're lying and you feel guilty or nervous, your heart rate starts beating, your blood pressure rises. Your body is responding to you. And so start noticing when you're having stomach aches or headaches all the time are, you know, like when you feel the most alive, when you feel light, when you feel joyful, pay attention to what your body is telling you. The emotional part again, she talks about which is so true. So many of us don't feel our emotions. We have this constant state of pleasantness. We're just going to be happy all the time because that's what society wants from us. And so it really takes time going inwards and feeling your feelings, thinking about, “What am I feeling and why am I feeling like this? What's going to make me happy and what can I do to make myself happy?”
And so I think it, it requires really going inward and listening to a lot of the signals now she goes and really in-depth in exercises that you can do. So I would suggest you read these because it provides a lot of guidance for how to do this, how to really get in touch with your emotions. But it's a thing to think about. If you're always feeling a certain way, when you walk into a place, your body is telling you something. And the last one that she talks about is intuition. And you know, this can seem kind of woo woo and we can talk about in a lot of people may roll their eyes, but the reality is we have all felt a gut feeling. We all know it's there. You walk into a room and something feels off or we've all been in a place where you feel fearful and you don't know why, like something is off or you meet someone and you don't know why, but you're just like, something is telling you that you need to hang out with this person or there's some kind of an attraction, not physically, I think that's different signal.
But I mean, you have something inside of you in your gut telling you whether it's a right or wrong decision and it's just that we aren’t really trained to listen and react to that. And we all haven't. And it takes practice. And I think really keying in and learning to listen to that intuition will guide you. But it takes practice. And if you've never done it before, if you've never given into your intuition, then you don't know what to look for. And so there's a lot of guidance on how to kind of feel that and go with your gut. So that's basically what the book talks about. And then the last couple of chapters is how to start charting your own path. And I'm not going to go through all of these steps cause there are four steps, but I'm just going to talk about why I love it.
The way that she outlines this. So she talks about this change map and it's basically a circular, okay. You can imagine it’s four squares, but it goes in a circle. So you start in square one and death and rebirth square two is dreaming and scheming. Square three is the hero saga and square four is the promised land. But when I say that it goes from square one to two to three to four, back to one, two, three, four. And it's kind of going around. And the reason I love that begins because in Western society we are sort of given this lie that we have this linear path. You start, you work hard, you get somewhere and then you're there. Obviously we all realize that that is not true. And if we were taught a little more that our whole life is just a series of deaths and rebirths and kind of going through this process again, we wouldn't feel so blindsided by it.
I think we wouldn't feel that it’s as big of a catastrophe as we make of it. It's part of personal growth. It's part of life. And when I say this, we are constantly going through this. You have a death of your childhood and a rebirth into adulthood. You have, you know, you can go from single to being married. You can go from being child-less to becoming a mother. All of these things require the death of a prior identity and a rebirth into a new identity. And a lot of what she talks about in a lot of this can be applied to that. And the same thing happens with a career. It should be normal. You evolve and you sort of realize whether you're off course or not and you should be able to have this rebirth into a new identity.
But because we don't value that, it seems like such a jarring thing to us. And so I just want to go a little more in-depth into death and rebirth because I think it's the people that find the podcast or that I find are in this initial stage and it is, it can be one of the hardest. And I think there's a lot of power in realizing that this is normal and it's normal to feel the way you're feeling and it's not like something has gone wrong. And so I want to talk a little bit about that and then we'll wrap up. But she talks about how with the initial death, you can only get through it by actually grieving the death of that old identity. Letting yourself feel that sadness. And I think we don't do that. We are constantly kind of told to be fine and act fine and put on that brave face.
And so we walk around acting like we're fine. Especially if you're choosing this new change. If you want to quit a career, you feel like I don't have the right to be sad. What am I sad for? I'm choosing to quit being a lawyer. But that's not how it works because that was your old identity. That is what you have worked towards. That is who you are. Put yourself out to. That is the way you thought you were for so long that it's okay to grieve the death of that because it changes so many things. It changes your social circles, it changes the way the world reacts to you, it changes your income. It changes so much. And it's okay to say I'm having a hard time realizing that I will never be that person again.
I'm changing into a new person then that's okay. And I'm going to get to this place where I'm much happier. But for now, I’m in a really hard kind of death space. And she talks about a lot of the things where there's a catalyst for this death and rebirth. And sometimes it's not up to you. Your spouse leaves you blindsided, so now you're single and so you'll kind of have this death and rebirth and you didn't choose that. And then there are times where you did choose it. You just are unhappy and you want to quit your job. And so either one of those things can be a catalyst. But the thing is for that to stretch you beyond your limits, to bring about a new identity, it's gonna bring about fear. So it's like, yeah, you want to quit your job and you want to start a new business, but now you have to figure out how to start a business like that.
You know how to do that. So that's obviously going to bring about fear. And you have guilt because you're leaving this old life behind. And you know what if all of your coworkers are mad because you're leaving them behind and it changes everything and you know there's all this disruption in your life and that can cause a lot of self-doubts and it causes some shame and some guilt and indecision and it's a very scary place to be because you'll have to let go of this old identity but you don't know what you're going into. And that can feel really jarring. And again, because we're not taught that, that's okay. We think we have to know what that next step is. But I think if you can kind of just understand that this is normal, that everybody goes through this process and then there's just the process that you have to go through.
And so not to make it as big of a deal as we make it, it can help. And one of the things she says is like, again, spend time with the quote-unquote everybody that's on your side. Find a community that's going to support you and spend time going inward and listening to that internal compass and realizing what it is that you want. And that again, can help you understand that. Even if you don't know what the whole course looks like, you know that you're on the right direction and you want to beat on that path, even if it's hard, right? But then she talks about how through death you get to this midpoint where she calls a threshold space. And actually in episode 76 with Sean Askenazi, we talked about this too, where you've kind of accepted the death. You realize you're leaving this old identity, but you still don't know where you're going.
And it's the middle of nowhere. And that can seem like a very frenzied and desperate place. This is where I think I see a lot of people where it's very panicky and there's a rush to get somewhere, but then you're never feel like you're getting anything done. And you just feel are sort of in this indecision. You're, you're in this intense self-doubt. You don't know if what you're doing is the right thing or not. And so she gives an example that I love from, if you've seen the movie Shawshank redemption, she talks about how the older inmate who was being released, you know, was trying desperately to commit another crime, like kill somebody in prison. Not really, but attempt to so that he could stay in prison because he was so scared of that change of being let out and when he is released ends up killing himself and that's how awful it can feel right to have changed even if that changes exactly what you want.
I know Kara Loewentheil, who was on the podcast, she talks about this kind of change, like it literally feels like you're dying. That fear doesn't go away and it's a scary place. And so I think that knowing that can kind of take that edge off, knowing that, Oh, that's normal. Everyone feels this scared. Okay. It's not supposed to feel good. It's the dev. And leading to a rebirth that is an intense place to be in. And so some ways though I think you can cope with that I think and so some things that Martha back puts in her book that I think is brilliant in helping you cope with is instead of focusing on stage four, that end goal that promised land, which so many of us do, we just want to figure out what that final thing is going to be and how to get there.
Go inward and focus on your internal compass. Focus on getting one step at a time to the next thing that makes you feel good. That's all your job is right now. Make small moves stay present. Don't try to plan for five years from now, 10 years from now, figure out you're not in that place yet. You're not in the place of planning. You're not in the place of deciding what your next career is going to be. You're just in this place of grieving that the death of the old you and getting really clear on your internal compass and taking steps to figure out where the new you is going to be. And the other thing that can help, like I said, is reframing it so that it's not this huge catastrophe. It is an essential part of personal growth.
Everybody goes through it. And I think when you can accept that and realize that it's normal, it's normal to feel however you want to feel, then it doesn't seem as big of a mountain to climb. She gives her clients a mantra, I don't know what the hell is going on. And that's okay. And it can actually be really liberating, because I actually think nobody knows what the hell is going on. But telling yourself like so often we just, I dunno think we need to know how to do it. Like I should know how to run a business by now. I don't know why. Or I should know the thing that I should be doing. That's just not the truth. And it's okay to not know. And so okay to just take a step without knowing and if you have to keep repeating that to yourself, then do so.
And lastly she talks about basically accepting being in this place of threshold, being in this place of death and rebirth. I'm accepting that you don't know anything. Stop trying to act like you know something. Stop trying to get to achievements or progress and accept that you're in this space. Accept that it's okay and maybe you might have some fun in it. Maybe you will have a better time kind of realizing that what is on the horizon is so much better for you and that you don't need to have it figured out immediately. So I think that that chapter really doesn't tell a lot of people. I see. And so I think understanding that everyone goes through that is a really important step in helping you feel less crazy and less frantic. She goes on to talk about that step two is dreaming and scheming.
That's when you come out of that and you do have these really huge dreams for yourself and you start kind of seeing what that future can hold. It can be a really exciting time. It can be scary for some people because some of us are scared by big dreams because that would require a lot of action and putting ourselves out there. The next stage is the hero saga, which is your journey. And that's more actionable and you start taking those steps day by day and you start getting to that dream. And a lot of people do better in that because once you have that plan, it's easier to work into. And then the last step is obviously the promised land. It's better than you could've ever expected, but it's also not a finite place.
There will be other changes. And understanding that, understanding that this whole thing is a process. Now again, for the sake of time, I'm not going to go into each one of those because I've already held you guys too long. But I hope that this episode helps and I hope that it gives you a glimpse into how good this book is. I think if you are struggling at all with feeling like maybe I'm not making the right decision or I'm crazy for leaving, this book will do wonders for you. And in just making you understand that we all feel this way and that you are allowed to create a life that feels true to you, that really aligns with what makes you tick. Getting clear on what that is and getting clear on how to make yourself happy and what kind of a life you want to live as opposed to no money or a certain prestige or title. It's just going to make you happier in the long run. And so it's worth spending the time to get really clear on that. And obviously I think if you're listening to this, that's what you truly want. So I hope you guys pick up the book and like it.
If you have any thoughts on this book, feel free to email me. I would love to hear about it and I will be back next week for another episode. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcast. I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you in the next episode.