I used to dread Sunday nights. Starting around 7 p.m., I would begin to get a headache, an upset stomach—just a general disease emotionally, spiritually, and physically. My symptoms weren’t a result of something I ate or a side effect of any medication; they were a response to thinking about what I was going to have to face on Monday morning: a job that drained my spirit.
What awful job was I facing Monday through Friday? I was a fifth-grade teacher. And I was a good teacher—I liked teaching, I liked helping people learn, I enjoyed seeing people grow in confidence and knowledge, and I loved being in the role of change agent. But with all the things I loved related to being a teacher, there were too many things on the flip side that just didn’t line up with my true values, desired work style, and passion. I felt stifled, with no opportunities to grow as I needed. At the end of the school year, I decided that I would not return to teaching. It was both a hard and an easy decision at the same time. On one hand, I knew that I couldn’t successfully live another year like doing the same thing. On the other hand, I considered how much time and money I had invested on the education and certification process. I had even relocated to a new state to begin my teaching career.
Since then, I have found myself at that crossroads a few more times, trying to decide whether to stay or go. Each decision required lots of careful reflection and exploration as to what my next move should be. As a coach, I have clients that find themselves at the same crossroad regardless of age, experience or income. In most cases they know it is time for a change—they just ignore the signs, choosing instead to struggle with depression, low self-esteem, self-pitying attitudes, and to employ unhealthy coping strategies. If you are at a crossroads, trying to validate the urge you feel to make a change, here are five signs to look for:
1. You are suffering physically: Sunday-night anxiety attacks, head aches, knotted muscles and tension— your body is giving you a sign that it is time to change. How loud will the physical symptoms have to get before you listen to the message and make the required changes.
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