The Two Arrows of Suffering

There are two elements to fear:

Fear of an emotion
Fear of the fear itself

Most of the challenges we face in life and our careers are a result of fear. Fear can take on different flavours too: fear of being unloved, fear of not being good enough, being wrong, fear of being alone or the fear of being ashamed.

If we can change our relationship with these fears, many of the challenges we face will disappear.

There is a fable about a person who goes for an early morning walk in a farmer’s field and is shot in the chest by an arrow. The first arrow is the pain of being shot in the chest with an arrow. Ouch! The second arrow is wishing not to have been shot in the first place. Berating oneself for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Getting angry with the farmer for being out shooting deer that morning etc.

It is often the second arrow that we suffer from the most and the worst part is…it’s self-inflicted.

So, learning how to accept our outer situations and inner emotional landscape just as they are, stops us from suffering over what is. Surely some situations and emotions are painful enough without adding the second arrow of suffering in top?

Acceptance is the key to all emotional states. When we can accept our feelings without trying to get away from them, we can move through those feelings and they can be released more easily.

Start today by reflecting on emotions that you really hate to feel – we call these emotional allergies. For me it is ‘shame’. How about you?

Imagine trying to design the next steps in your career from fear, the results will be: procrastination, avoidance, non-aligned action or playing small. That’s why the second foundational layer to my Intentional Careers methodology is helping you overcome your personal limitations so that you can design a career from an empowered position, released from fear.

Drop me an email with the words INTENTIONAL CAREER if you are interested in attending a free 1-hour career design workshop 13th June 20:00-21:00 (UK Time) where I will take you through my 6-step career pivots compass. Replay will be made available of course to those registered.

Keep opening up,


PS To be added to the list for my free 1-hr career design workshop 13th June 20:00-21:00 (UK Time), email me with the words INTENTIONAL CAREERS.

PPS Listen to the latest episode of the Women in STEM Career & Confidence podcast 🎧 iTunes 🎧 Spotify 🎧 All Platforms > 28K downloads.