Are you sitting on a Nail?


Google ‘sitting on a nail’ and you’ll find a few stories all broadly the same with a few nuances.

Since it’s simply a fable to wrap your head around it doesn’t matter which one we use.

What does matter is that if you are sitting on a nail and you haven’t noticed it, today’s the day you get to realise. And that could change everything. Even if you choose to stay on it a little bit longer…

The story

A man walks by a farm and hears a dog howling and groaning intermittently. He sounds like he’s in pain.

Seeing the farmer, he calls out to him, ‘Hey! What’s wrong with your dog?’.

The farmer shrugs, ‘Him? He’s sitting on a nail.’

Confused, the man asks, ‘Well, why on earth doesn’t he get off it? It’s obviously hurting’.

The farmer gives a wry grin, ‘My friend, it’s simple. It doesn’t hurt enough’.

Sore butt?

It’s quite astounding how often we choose the pain we know over the pain we think might occur in the future. Or is it? In fact, it seems to be human nature. There are a bunch of experiments out there, conducted in particular by Daniel Kakhneman that demonstrate that our fear of losing what we’ve got almost always outweighs our excitement about what we might gain.

Which leaves us in the bonkers situation of staying where we are. Getting a super sore butt from sitting on a rusty nail.

The most popular nail

There’s a favourite amongst our clients.

Staying in a job that they are slowly growing to resent and hate.

The thing about that particular choice is that it turns you into someone you don’t want to be. As the nail gets rustier and rustier, something changes inside you too.

You start to look around you and blame others for what’s occurring,

‘They just behave appallingly around here’

‘No-one even notices how hard I’m working’

‘Did you SEE what she just said in there?’

‘If only they would start to change – this company could be so much better than it is’.

Every day you get a little bit more bitter. A little bit more gossipy. A little bit more moany. You lose your sparkle.

Or you start to strap on your Warrior armour and fight. This job isn’t going to beat you.

Everything becomes a battle, something you need to win to be true to yourself and your integrity and values.

Whatever way you look at it, this nail is doing you no good.

Not surprising really, I mean, if I actually asked you to sit on a rusty nail for months at a time, you’d think I was mad. You’d say, ‘get out of here, why would I do that? That thing is gonna HURT!’.

Time to get off then?

I think I’ll just stay a little longer

The key question, is always this:

‘How are you creating this?’

It’s a sticky one. Because when I ask it, you look at me like I’ve grown extra ears, and say, ‘Danielle, I’m not creating anything. Listen to me again. They are doing all these things…’

 And then you reel off your list of crimes and I listen patiently, waiting for the moment that I can point out the missing link to you.

‘You’re creating it for yourself.

Because you’re choosing to stay.’

Ah. Is it really that simple?


Of course no also. Because bills need to be paid and the job market isn’t so strong at the moment, and IT COULD BE SO GOOD HERE if only it would change.

And so sometimes, even knowing the truth that there are still choices in your own hands, you stick around a little longer and continue to fight or fall victim to what’s occurring.

Believing you can change others is a daft move lady. The only person you can change is you.

There’s another way

You have literally thousands of choices, if this is the situation you find yourself in. For now, let’s just work with two.

  • Take tiny steps that ease you off.

I believe the fear comes from some far off distant land. The place where you have already chosen a job that’s even worse than this one. The place where this change in direction has already gone horribly, horribly wrong. And so there you are, paralysed.

The thing that you’re missing is, you could take teeny tiny steps to get you in motion, none of which commit you to that terrible outcome you’re envisioning. Update your CV, speak to an agency, start looking at what’s out there.

And while you’re doing it, do it from a place of curiosity and excitement. Because looking to affirm that you’re right, there really are absolutely no jobs out there that you could ever love as much as this one you hate, is going to keep you exactly where you are. Sore bum ad infinitum…

  • Choose to love your life EXACTLY AS IT IS.

To be honest, whatever you choose in life, choose this one. For your own peace of mind and inner joy, it’s a bit of a no brainer. And if you are going to stay in that job that you don’t love, then choose to love it. Really love it. Look out for the ways you can serve profoundly, the people you can make smile, the ways in which you can make a difference. Love it for what it is.

(By the way, this means ACTUALLY LOVE IT. Not pretend to love it but still do that victim / warrior thing of moaning nor fighting, or a combination of both.)

Choose to be the person you want to be TODAY.

So there you have it. The story of the nail in your butt. Sure, it’s gonna hurt a little when you finally do decide to get off it. Of course it is, it has left a mark that needs to heal.

But girl, this choice, the one of sitting on it and complaining it hurts? You gotta admit, it’s a little bonkers…

Till we meet.






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