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Don't Die in the Well

Several weeks ago, I was a speaker at a women’s retreat here in Phoenix and spoke about taking the NEXT STEPS in your re-invention. I like to start off each of my presentations with a story. I had prepared a pretty good story to tell and minutes before my turn to speak, a story that I had told at a previous event kept creeping into my spirit. Before I knew it, I was standing in front of the group of ladies and that old story came so strongly to my spirit that I had to tell it.

It’s the story of a donkey and a well. It’s a story of survival and once again, my spirit has led me to write about this story. Here it is…

There was an old farmer who lived on a farm that was in great disrepair and in need of some TLC. His crops were dying, his barn broken down, and the animals were dying of hunger. He had a donkey who was so hungry that he decided one day to venture off and search for a pasture where he could graze. Well the land was dry and there was very little grass for grazing.

While on his quest for food, the donkey accidentally fell into a well on the property that had been abandoned. The donkey was frightened. He also knew that the only way out was to call out for the old man to come and pull him out of the well.

The donkey began to call out for help. He neighed loudly until finally the old man appeared at the top of the well. The donkey was so glad to see the old man because he knew that he would be pulled from the well and survive.

Unfortunately, the old man (being the lazy farmer that he was) looked down in the well, saw the donkey and quickly realized that it would take too much effort to pull the donkey out of the well. So, the old man decided it was easier to just cover the well, donkey and all.

The old man went and fetched a shovel and began shoveling dirt down on top of the donkey. The donkey, confused at first by what the old man was doing, quickly concluded that the old man’s plan was to bury him in the well rather than pull him out.

The donkey was NOT ready to die, especially by being buried in a well. Each time the old man would dump a shovel full of dirt on top of the donkey, the donkey would shake off the dirt and step on top of it. With each shovel full of dirt dumped into the well, the donkey would shake it off and stand on top of it. After a while, the donkey had shaken off so much dirt and stepped on top of it that eventually he was able to climb out of the well and survive. Of course, when he got out of the well, he ran off and never returned to the farm. The donkey refused to die in the well!

Are you dying in the well?

Many of us have found ourselves buried in a well of stuff and have been crying out for someone to come along and pull us out. What we find is, like the donkey, circumstances of life are dumping dirt on us and we have a choice of being buried or shaking it off and surviving.

I recently worked with a client who got laid off from her job just two years shy of being able to retire. She was a high-level employee with 30+ years of experience and a high salary. Her employer decided that it would be cheaper to get rid of her and replace her with two younger workers with less experience and considerably less pay. Sound familiar?

The client of course was devastated. What was she to do in her mid-sixties and finding herself job hunting? She began applying for positions and felt with her level of experience, she would easily find a job. To make a long story short, after countless applications, interviews and promises of employment, over a year later she was still unemployed. What she realized was employers were hesitant to hire her because of age (even though they couldn’t legally use that as a reason not to hire) and salary (they could hire someone younger and pay them less).

She found herself like the donkey, buried in the well. There are many examples of what being buried is like in our 50Somethings. The question for that client and for you, if you find yourself in a situation that seems hopeless, is are you going to die in the well or shake it off and step out and survive.

My client’s survival came in the form of starting her own consulting business and being her own boss. She chose to shake off the dirt and stand on top of it. She chose to survive rather than let the system of age discrimination bury her.

What are you experiencing that is burying you in the well. A layoff. A downsizing. Waking up every day and going to a job you hate, in an atmosphere that doesn’t support you or your skills. A dream of owning your own business but being too afraid to do anything about it. Not having enough money to live the life you know you deserve after 50…

My advice to you is to do like the donkey. Shake it off!! Step on top of it and move one to greener pastures. Do NOT die in the well. Climb out, run for greener pastures, and survive!

If you find yourself in the well and are having a hard time getting out on your own, let's talk. Schedule a complimentary 60 minute coaching session today. Go to

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