What is a shadow career?

Gabie Rudytė
3 min readMay 25, 2020
Photo by Martino Pietropoli on Unsplash

The things that we want to pursue the most usually feel the most terrifying and require taking a risk.

Writing a book, starting our business, going to an art school, opening a bookstore, applying for that dream job.

When there’s something that we really really want, we usually come up with escape plans, excuses, and plan B options.

Before starting my coaching business, I would think to myself:
‘Maybe I should just stick with personal training… I’m good at it, I enjoy it, and I’ve already done it for years!’ ‘What if I just continued doing creative consultation or created content for other businesses — full time? I’m good at that too…’

These things seemed like great options, and I’m sure I would’ve liked doing these things, but I realized that this was me distracting myself from the thing that I truly, really, passionately wanted to do.

Becoming a certified life + mindset coach and starting my own coaching business.

How do you know when you’re faced with a shadow career?

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

“Sometimes, when we’re terrified of embracing our true calling, we’ll pursue a shadow calling instead. That shadow career is a metaphor for our real career. Its shape is similar, its contours feel tantalizingly the same. But a shadow career entails no real risk. If we fail at a shadow career, the consequences are meaningless to us.” — Steven Pressfield

My personal training business was a beautiful shadow career because its shape was similar, it felt similar, but it was a metaphor for what I really wanted.

I was transforming people’s physical health, working with them 1:1, and having a fun and wonderful time. However, as much as I was helping people… I wasn’t helping in a way that I wanted to help.

What I wanted was to work with people on their mindset, mental health, and their inner world.

Risk, or no risk?

When we go with plan B, or as Steven Pressfield calls it, a shadow career — we don’t feel…



Gabie Rudytė

Certified Life Coach + Creator who’s fascinated by this human experience. BSc Psychology. Exploring the depths of my inner world. www.InnerResearcher.com