CareerHopelessness - Rebecca Le Vine

April 6, 2019by Rebecca Le Vine0

Next, let’s examine the feeling of powerlessness. Powerlessness is the sense that you cannot change a circumstance in your life. It feels like you don’t have the ability to influence your direction. It is the feeling that others around you have more power and influence over your life than you do.

When we experience a sense of powerlessness, it feels like there is nowhere to turn. No way out. And even if you did find the way out, what would you do when you got there?  Powerlessness encompasses more than simply “being stuck”. It is the pain that comes from a false belief that you cannot change your circumstances. To believe that you cannot change yourself or that you cannot change your circumstances can be soul- crushing.

When we are experiencing powerlessness we can feel/believe that our employer controls our destiny, our earning capacity, our ability to express our potential, etc. It is a feeling that tells you your life is not your own; everyone controls the shots except you. The sinister aspect of powerlessness is that the longer we feel powerless, the more of it we feel. It seems to grow. Like the movie creature, the Blob, powerlessness keeps oozing and expanding into all aspects of our life.

The pain of powerlessness derives its intensity from the fact that it disconnects us from our power and ability to change our circumstance at any time. To believe the opposite of this truth, that we are incapable of changing our circumstances, hurts us at such a deep level that we often are unable to verbalize it. Instead, we may say “everything just sucks” or “I am stuck” or “I can’t do anything about it.” We also might start acting out by missing work or being late – avoidance behaviors – because no one, and I mean no one, likes feeling powerless.


  1. In the discussion of powerlessness, what did I find familiar?
  2. Am I experiencing a feeling of powerlessness in my career?
  3. Am I experiencing a feeling of powerlessness in any other area of my life?
  4. Am I experiencing this feeling now, or have I experienced it in the past?
  5. Is powerlessness where it “hurts” for me?

Let’s move on to hopelessness.

Of the feelings we are reviewing, hopelessness is particularly vicious. Why? Because of all of the types of pain, hopelessness creates a false construct which takes a determined effort to deconstruct. Let me explain.

This is how the false construct of hopelessness goes: It makes you believe that you are on a dead-end road off a deserted highway in a ghost town. It makes you believe that you have nowhere to go, no new avenue to try and that you are there alone. To use another analogy, hopelessness is not that you have thrown in the towel; it beats you down to the point where you do not even see the benefit of throwing in the towel. Simply, when you are in the state of hopelessness, you believe that your circumstances can’t or won’t change. You don’t see that there can be a better tomorrow.

The state of hopelessness blinds you to the possibility. If you can’t see or believe that your circumstances can change, then it follows that you won’t attempt to change them. You don’t engage with the critical aspects of yourself which will help you to change your circumstances, i.e. your creativity, your ingenuity, and your personal power.

As a result, the state of hopelessness becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you believe your circumstances can’t change, then you don’t engage in actions that can actually change your circumstances, so then your circumstances don’t change. You can see how hopelessness perpetuates itself.

I want to be clear that hopelessness is not a state of being stuck. It’s worse than that. It is a bleak place where change is not even seen as an option. Change doesn’t even show up on the radar because the false construct of hopelessness makes you believe “nothing in my life can change.”


  1. In the discussion of hopelessness, what did I find familiar?
  2. Have I bought into a false construct of what can and cannot change in my life?
  3. Am I experiencing a feeling of hopelessness in my career?
  4. Am I experiencing this feeling now, or have I experienced it in the past?
  5. Is hopelessness where it “hurts” for me?

Now let’s look at the state of doubt.

Good ‘ole doubt. Nothing will kill a career, kill success, kill a desire to change, or kill a new idea quicker than doubt.

Doubt is the assassin your fear sends out on frequent search-and-destroy missions. Doubt targets your creativity, your ingenuity, self-esteem, and your sense of security. Doubt is insidious. You don’t realize it is there or that it is causing you pain.

Here’s why. Imagine someone you love or admire standing right next to you 24/7. And for each minute of every hour of every day, this person is telling you “You can’t,” “You will fail,” “You are not smart enough,” “Don’t take a risk, play it safe.” Imagine this person saying some of this or all of this without ever stopping. Over and over and over again. Imagine how much this would hurt you, scare you and even scar you. Think about how it would eat away at your self-confidence. Think about how it would make you question not only your previous successes but your ability to succeed in the future.

My friends, I will be the bearer of bad news: in this example, the person you love, the person speaking all of this drivel into your ear, is you. Yes, others can instill doubt inside of us, but no one can do it better than we can.

Doubt, for the most part, is self-generated and self-perpetuated. When we allow doubt to creep in, it takes root. All we hear, see and believe is the doubt. We can’t see our previous successes because doubt is in the way. We dismiss our new ideas because doubt has eaten away at our self-confidence. As a result, we don’t move forward; we don’t take action.

And if that is not enough, doubt deals us one final blow. It prevents us from ever feeling secure; secure in our talents, secure in our ability to achieve, and secure in our innate creativity and ingenuity. Thanks a lot, doubt!


  1. In the discussion of doubt, what did I find familiar?
  2. Where does the doubt show up in my life? For example, in my ability to take risks or in my belief about myself.
  3. Is doubt holding me back professionally? If so, how?
  4. Am I experiencing this feeling now, or have I experienced it in the past?
  5. Is doubt where it “hurts” for me?


We are at the last top five states of pain: boredom.

I know what you’re thinking. Boredom? Is that even a “pain”? If we want to get specific, I suppose we can argue that boredom is a state of being. I decided to include boredom in this section because it certainly does cause pain in our relationship with work. And to be clear, the boredom I am referencing below goes way beyond “It’s Saturday afternoon and I have nothing to do.” The boredom we’re reviewing here is the endless boredom one can feel towards work.

Boredom is antithetical to a healthy state of being. A healthy state of being includes utilizing our gifts and talents, our creativity, our ingenuity. It includes being engaged and inspired. We are meant to be intellectually challenged. You can see how similar this description is to the description of the True Nature of Work and what work is supposed to give to us.

Boredom is quite the opposite. When we are bored, our mind, body and heart are simply not engaged with what is in front of us. When we are bored, although we are doing the work in front of us, we are certainly not present. We are tuned out and checked out. Quite simply, boredom is a state in which we become disconnected from our true nature. We are disconnected from our need to be engaged with, stimulated by and even challenged by the work in front of us.

How does this cause us pain? First, when we are disconnected from our true nature, we are not getting our needs met. Therein lies the pain. When we don’t have stimulation, the inspiration, the intellectual challenge, when we don’t feel excitement for our work, it hurts. And when these needs go unmet day after day after day, the pain increases.

Secondly, when we tune out and check out, we are not actively engaged in working to get those needs met. We get used to not having these needs met. We become so inured to the feeling of boredom that boredom becomes our norm. As a result, we inadvertently propagate more pain by not realizing that we are in pain. Instead, we think we’re just bored. It becomes this vicious circle, a cruel game of hide and seek of unmet needs and living in opposition to our true nature.


  1. In the discussion of boredom, what did I find familiar?
  2. Where does boredom show up in my life? For example, am I bored at work but engaged at home or with friends?
  3. Am I fully present while I’m at work? If not, why?
  4. Am I experiencing this feeling now, or have I experienced it in the past?
  5. Is boredom where it “hurts” for me?

Rebecca Le Vine

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