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Discovering the Roots of Your Restlessness

Answer these questions to find fulfillment from the inside out.

Many of the people I work with tell me they feel restless, knowing there is “something more” to do with their careers and their lives. They also feel a little sad and maybe resentful. Is this you? As you look back on this year, do you feel grateful for what has occurred or relief that it is finally over?

Actually, you can feel unfulfilled when life is good and when it isn’t. You can be busy and successful but sense emptiness inside. Or you can be on the other end where you feel nothing is how you wished it could be and that others are at a better place than you.

The restlessness, shallowness, sadness, and resentment can’t be blamed on your boss, friends or family. You feel these emotions because your choices have left you disconnected with yourself. Making life choices based on what eases your fears instead of what fulfills you is an act of self-denial. You miss your passionate, joyful, grateful self.

The good news is that these feelings can help you create a new future. M. Scott Peck said in his book, The Road Less Traveled, “The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”

You will find your answers and fulfillment inside, not outside in a new job or career. Although your exploration might lead you to a new path, it’s self-examination that leads to peace of mind.

In his book, Right Risk, Bill Treasurer asks, “Are you a Whatever Person?” Do you just accept what is not working for you because you don’t think you have any control over your life? To overcome this acquiescence, take the time to answer tough questions such as these:

  • Are you selling out in some area of your life?
  • Have the compromises you made to live comfortably drained your passion for working? What did you once enjoy doing but the joy has disappeared?
  • What about your work represents what you stand for?
  • When you use your greatest talents and gifts, what are your accomplishments? What impact do you make?
  • What is the highest contribution you can make for your organization, community or the world? What do you dare to dream of doing? What is calling you? To step into your profound potential, what must you leave behind?
  • Reflect on your answers. Then be quiet, feel your breath in your belly and ask yourself, “What inside me wants to be free?”

Answer these questions as honestly as you can. You don’t have to drastically change your life now. You just need to be honest about how you want to give of yourself in this lifetime.

Once you begin to grasp who you really are and what you truly desire, look for ways to shift your daily work to help you realize your highest potential. With this intention, it is likely you will engender the people and circumstances that will help you achieve your goals. Mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell said, "A thousand unseen hands" will come to your aid.

Take time to re-acquaint yourself with you. Then you might vision what you want for your future so you can align your daily actions, experiences and learning with this focus in mind. This will be your preparation for taking the bigger leap when you are ready.

Make this coming year one of self-discovery not of self-suppression.

When you listen to yourself, your life feels more substantial and fulfilling. When you come to know yourself, the longing and emptiness fade away. When you take the pains to live the life that showcases your highest potential, you embody a state of dignity and grace.


You can find more ways to feel contentment with your restlessness and peace of mind in the chaos in Marcia's books, Wander Woman: How High-Achieving Women Find Contentment and Direction.

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