Have you ever had this sense that something within your life is just “off”? An unshakable feeling that something is not working for you in your life, but you’re not sure what? Is life not working for you?
I’ve experienced this more times than I care to count. The most recent was early this year. I felt so “weird” I enrolled myself into therapy to try to figure out what was causing my sense of general dis-ease. I’m generally a pretty calm and relaxed person, and at this time my anxiety was off the charts! To top it off I was making myself even more anxious that I didn’t know what was causing my anxiety, which in turn made me guess what?… more anxious!
It took several months of deep dive work into myself to determine the very unlikely cause of my anxiety. The answer not only surprised me but my therapist, who I’ve worked with for over 3 years. It was my career.
I had been running my family’s company as an executive at that point for close to fifteen years, and I considered it very much a part of my identity. I was the third generation to be doing so and had in the past spoken of hopes my son would even follow in my footsteps. After analyzing my feelings over those months and the root causes of all my negative emotions, it all stemmed from me ultimately not feeling fulfilled in my career.
This realization was extremely confusing for me because at one point I absolutely adored my career. I was proud of it and used to boast about what I did to anyone who would listen to me. I loved the people I worked with and what we were accomplishing. However fifteen years is a long time, and things change that are beyond our control. The marketplace was changing, our customer demographic was changing, even our internal operations changed.
Where I was the day of my realization was no longer the same space I loved and cherished years earlier. As a result of all this… I kept ignoring the feelings that I was unsatisfied in my day to day life and cautiously hoped it would soon go back to the way it was before. I pushed down and repressed my feelings and now my subconscious was trying to bring it back up to my awareness so I could deal with it.
At that point it was obvious, to find relief from my symptoms I was going to have to make a pretty drastic change. The change eventually took its form in my transition to starting up a coaching practice.
So what do you do when you’re feeling off but don’t know where to start? Here are some signs that a big change will improve your life and mindset, as well as some ideas on where and how to take action when you realize the change is necessary.
Is Your Life Not Working? Look for These Signs
Life Feels Hard
When every day you wake up and you just want to go back to bed so as not to deal with your day to day struggles, is a white flag waving. Life shouldn’t be hard, it should be easy, joyful and fulfilling. If it’s not, something in your life is preventing it from happening, and in order to achieve it, you’ll need to change something.
Feelings of Discontent You Can’t Shake
This is what I really meant when I said I felt “off”. I was dissatisfied with life but unsure of why. I had it all, a lucrative career, gorgeous home, beautiful child, and (at the time) the partner of my dreams. How could I be unhappy when I seemingly had everything?
If you are feeling discontent with life, don’t ignore it because you’ll only make it worse. It’s just a sign that you’re in a period of growth and a big change is coming for you.
Increasing Stress & Anxiety
If you find yourself snapping at others and your heart racing on a regular basis, your body is signaling to you that you need some space. Usually for us to get to this point, it means that the space needed hasn’t been there for quite some time. When you find this happening, it’s time to give yourself a break with no expectations. Take the time you need to rest and recover and from there with a clearer mind, you’ll be able to identify the root of the issue. More than likely it’ll require some sort of a change on your part to reduce the stress and anxiety moving forward.
Not being able to sleep goes hand in hand with increased stress and anxiety. If you are doing everything you can in order to get better sleep (you can find a full list of suggestions here), and still find yourself pacing the halls at night, it’s quite possible you won’t be able to until you address the elephant in the room. Whatever that elephant may be.
Do you have the same dreams over and over? It may be your subconscious trying to give you signs as to what you need.
In my own experience, I was having dreams about packing for a trip almost nightly. In the dreams, I either was desperately trying to find something I needed to pack but couldn’t find or was running late to catch my flight. Come to find out, dreams about packing are your subconscious signaling you that you are resisting a big change. To find out what your own dreams mean, you can click here.
After I made the decision to start my coaching practice, the dreams still continued. They didn’t officially stop until I finally notified my family I wanted to step down from my role at the company. Until I actually verbalized my intentions, the change still had not been set in motion so it makes sense the dreams didn’t stop until I finally took a viable action.
Unexplained Physical Symptoms
Headaches, stomach aches, general malaise, and a variety of other physical ailments that your doctors have unsuccessfully been able to diagnose could signal your body is having difficulty processing negative emotions.
During my experience earlier this year, I was constantly catching the flu or getting colds when I normally am a very healthy individual. I was also getting frequent headaches.
I rarely get sick, and I spent what felt like the whole winter at the local clinic. Since I identified what I needed to change in my life, I haven’t been sick since.
Increased Addictive Behaviors
It’s extremely common instead of facing difficult emotions head on to instead self-medicate with food, alcohol, drugs, social media, or other addictive behaviors. If you notice you recently are reaching for an extra glass of wine each evening and the frequency is increasing, it may be a sign that there’s something you need to deal with.
I think I need to make a change. What’s next?
If you’ve noticed any of the signs above, the next step would be to do the inner work and figure out what your symptoms are telling you that you need to change to live a more fulfilling and joyous life.
You could take charge and do the deep dive yourself, reading self-help literature, listening to podcasts and trying new things. I tried this myself and still found myself hitting a wall. So I enrolled myself in therapy, which is another viable option. Therapy helped me to identify pretty specific memories regarding my past that kept me stuck in this holding pattern and unsure what to do.
As an alternative, you could hire a coach. While a therapist is trained to help you identify and release negative feelings regarding your past, coaching is trained to help you identify your negative feelings regarding your present situation. Through coaching, it’s possible to get to your end goal faster since you are encouraged to focus on the future instead of looking back at the past, which isn’t serving you.
Even coaches use coaches when they are looking for fast results towards a specific action. I just recently hired one myself to help me with some blocks I’ve been encountering when it comes to my business. Having a subjective point of view to help keep you accountable to your goals and desires can be a really helpful tool if you find yourself putting in a lot of effort and not getting the results you desire.
Have you been feeling “off”, have some of the signs I listed above, and are interested in exploring if coaching is a good solution for you? If so I invite you to schedule a no-obligation consultation call with me. During the free 30 minute call we’ll discuss what’s on your mind, what your challenges are and what you want to accomplish. From there I can guide you to some solutions that may help and how to accomplish them.