Are feelings of guilt keeping you stuck in a job that doesn’t fit? You are not alone! Let Kathy’s story inspire you to playfully experiment with guilt, get unstuck and move towards to career that inspires and energizes YOU.

Step ONE Notice How Guilt is Keeping You Stuck

A few years ago, I was coaching Kathy (not her real name) who felt stuck, underappreciated, and overextended in her job. A pivotal moment on Kathy’s transformational journey occurred when she recognized that feelings of guilt were keeping her stuck. Kathy was in the habit of working long hours and putting up with inefficient work procedures, leaving her too tired to create the career change she longed for. During one of her coaching sessions Kathy asked, “How can I get rid of guilt? It’s clearly keeping me stuck in a place that’s not good for me, but I don’t know how to let it go.”

Before you read on, notice when and where feelings of guilt show up in your life and career? Simply becoming aware of feelings of guilt is a powerful step towards positive transformation. Capture your insights in writing.

Step TWO Experiment with Guilt in a Playful Way

I acknowledged Kathy’s powerful insight and question. Then I asked, if Kathy was willing to playfully experiment. Kathy was curious and open. I invited Kathy to imagine guilt as something or someone outside of her.

An image of a big, blue balloon hanging over her head, attached to her wrist with a string came to Kathy’s mind. The guilt balloon followed her wherever she went.


I congratulated Kathy on her vivid imagination. Then I inquired about the bodily sensations this image evoked in her. Kathy noticed a tightness in her shoulders and a heaviness in her limbs. She felt trapped and helpless.

How about you? What image comes to your mind, when you imagine guilt as something or someone outside of you? Allow that image to become vivid in your imagination. Then notice how it feels in your body. What’s the emotional impact of your guilt image? Take some notes about your insights.

Step THREE Follow Your Intuitive Impulse 

“What do you want to do with the guilt balloon, Kathy?” I asked. I could feel Kathy’s face light up as she exclaimed: “I want to pop it!” 

I invited Kathy to pop the balloon in her imagination and observe what happened. As Kathy imagined popping the guilt balloon, it made a big “bam”. Then the deflated balloon flopped to the ground and formed a tiny, shrivelled heap of rubber.


I asked Kathy what she felt in her body now. She noticed a lightness around her chest and an alertness and power in her core. Kathy’s head felt clear and spacious. She knew exactly what she wanted to do next. Together we celebrated Kathy’s victory.

Over to YOU! What do you want to do with the guilt image in your mind? Notice your intuitive impulse for action and follow through in your imagination. As you do, notice the sensations in your body changing. What else is changing? Celebrate your experience in words or a simple sketch.

Step FOUR Study Early Warning Signs of Guilt

Kathy was super excited about her momentary victory over guilt. At the same time, she worried that the guilt balloon would show up again, especially when she felt stuck and frustrated at work. I acknowledged Kathy’s hunch and affirmed that her habitual feelings would most likely reappear. Next, I encouraged Kathy to study the early warning signs. Kathy tuned in and sensed a tightness in her shoulders.

How about you? What’s your early warning sign that guilt is paying you a visit? Is it a body sensation, a feeling, a thought? Take note of that!

Step FIVE Take Action Quickly and Frequently

I acknowledged how attuned Kathy was to the early warning signal of her guilt balloon. “What do you want to do when you feel that tightness in your shoulders?” I asked. Once again, Kathy exclaimed with excitement: “I want to pop that guilt balloon!” Kathy decided to put a box of pins on her desk as a reminder of her commitment. 

“Initially, you may be popping that balloon a gazillion times each day, Kathy. Don’t let that intimidate you.” I encouraged. Kathy laughed: “Popping the balloon is fun! It makes me feel powerful and in control. I no longer feel helpless, because I will pop it each time.” Together we celebrated Kathy’s powerful transformation.

Before you read any further, take a moment to design your own action plan. What will you do as soon as you notice guilt sneaking into your space? How will you remind yourself of your commitment?

Stay the Course

I recently talked with Kathy. She now works for a company where she feels valued and appreciated. However, she still pops the guilt balloon occasionally. “It’s one of the most powerful tools I learnt from coaching. Whenever that guilt balloon builds up, I can pop it. It always frees me to choose what I truly want.”


You too now have a powerful tool to playfully approach feelings of guilt. The more often you use it, the easier it will become to access your power tool when you need it. Just like Kathy, you don’t have to travel alone on your courageous career clarity journey. Book your free career clarity consultation, NOW!