Discontent is the doorway to positive change

After giving me a long explanation of why her life was great, a recent client of mine unexpectedly broke into tears. She held a challenging leadership position that paid well and made her feel fulfilled, she had a close-knit team that she enjoyed working with, and had lots of opportunities for professional growth. Despite all that was going right in her life, she felt miserable and was thinking about taking early retirement.

“I feel like I’m on edge all the time. There are days when I cry all the way home,” she said. “I don’t understand it. I’ve achieved exactly what I wanted. What’s wrong with me?”

What a great place to be!

Yes, you read that right. Feeling miserable is a great place to be as long as you don’t stay there too long. And you use it to gain insight as a catalyst for change. When you realize that achieving exactly what you thought you wanted hasn’t delivered on the happiness you expected, it is a healthy sign that you are ready to make some positive changes in your life.

When achieving exactly what you thought you wanted hasn’t delivered on the happiness you expected, it’s a sign that you are ready for change.

Your state of discontent can actually be the doorway to something positive and exciting. It’s an opportunity for you to make new choices. Choices that will drive you towards making changes in your life that will result in an increased sense of happiness and well-being.

As integrative coach-therapist Muffy Churches outlines in her book Coach Yourself: A 7 step guide to personal fulfillment, here are:

5 signs that positive change may be knocking at your door:


A sense that something is lacking, something’s not right, things aren’t in place as they should be for you, but you’re not sure exactly what’s wrong or what to do about it.


You feel generally anxious, snappy and short-tempered. Looming in the background might also be a sense of guilt, because there is a part of you that realizes you are inadvertently taking your discomfort out on others.


You are stuck in a relentless cycle of negative thought patterns on a particular topic. You continually stir up uncomfortable emotions that you don’t want to be feeling at all! Your thinking on this subject seems unproductive and unstoppable even though you know that it’s not serving you well.

  1. BLAME

It feels as if the problem is outside of yourself – that it’s your environment or someone else’s fault. You feel boxed-in, limited and cornered by people or circumstances.


You notice yourself observing others – admiring their lifestyles, their careers, their relationships; mixed with a personal feeling of concern about your own ability to achieve the same.

Through our conversations, my client realized that what was working in her life was just that – work and only work. In her effort to climb the corporate ladder, her personal life had taken a back seat and her relationships had suffered. The discontent she experienced helped her recognize her need to make some changes and moved her towards a more well-rounded life that would set her up for a successful transition whenever she decided to retire.

If you are experiencing discontentment in your life, how can you use it to gain insight into what changes would make your life better?



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