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The Crab in the Bucket

She looked at me as if I had another arm growing out of my forehead. “Why on earth would you want to do THAT?” she said. For some context, I was having a conversation with someone with whom I had worked for a period of time and shared with her my goal of being in business for myself. For quite some time, I have wanted to be an entrepreneur, to speak, coach, and support leaders in all walks of life. It’s something for which I am genuinely passionate. “Why would you leave a REAL job for something you have no idea if it will work out or not?” Because, I replied…it’s who I am and what I believe I am supposed to do.

I wish I could tell you this is the sole occurance of a conversation such as this. It wasn’t. Often, when we make a decision or choose to chase after our dreams, people simply don’t understand. Afterall, the traditional model is finding a career, staying in said career for 30 years or so, then retiring (meaning you’re done). This was never going to be my path, and I think I’ve always known it. Jumping into entrepreneurship is not a decision I took lightly, nor did I make this decision fully on my own. My wife and I were quite intentional with the steps we took along the way to set ourselves up for success with Road to Awesome. But that doesn’t mean we haven’t faced some resistance along the way.

I was reminded this week of the crab in a bucket story, or crab mentality. It’s one I have heard many times but had forgotten about the powerful analogy. As the story goes, if you put a crab in a bucket it will simply crawl its way out. Crabs are rather adept climbers and being in a bucket is not a real challenge for the crab. However, if you put two crabs (or more) in a bucket, they will not make it out alive. Why? Because one crab will always pull against another crab, basically pulling it down. In essence, if I can’t be happy then neither can you. As humans, we can occasionally be the same way. When we share our ideas or plans for jumping to another role in our career, a complete career change, or even just personal improvement, many will try and pull us down. When I started my journey into school administration, a couple of friends started in (jokingly at first) with the ‘headed to the dark side’ comments. It only got worse, leading to the end of the friendship. Fortunately for me, my administration career was set to begin in another community, so I wasn’t dealing with the ‘dark side’ mentality of my former colleagues while trying to be in a leadership role. I was able to leave the bucket, if you will, by having someone else lift me out (my new employer).

So, why tell this story this week? Because this is the time of year when you might be considering that potential shift in your career. The detour on your Road to Awesome. Don’t let others determine your fate. It is your path, your road, and you should decide it based on your beliefs and not the influences, or negativity, of others. At Road to Awesome, one of our three fundamental beliefs is that we rise by lifting others. If you’re stuck in that bucket with crabs pulling you down, find someone to help lift you out of the bucket. Stick to what you believe in, what you want, and just go for it . 

Have a Road to Awesome week!


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