Wake Up Call 2 Feeling Dead Inside Coach Joelle Prochera (1)

Is It Time For Change? Wake-Up Call No. 2: Feeling Dead Inside

She put down her pen and paper, took a breath, looked me in the eye and said, “I feel dead inside.”

She was a celebrated professional, making great money, respected, top of her field – I didn’t see it coming.

I knew there was something out of alignment in her work, that she wanted change, but I was imagining it might be in the direction of;

  • Achieving new inspiring goals
  • Developing skills to have some of the hard work conversations
  • Perhaps a promotion she was angling for…

But feeling dead inside, that was a whole other level.

Not An Isolated Incident

I’ve come to realize this was not an isolated incident but a symptom of the current professional landscape if left unchallenged.

Over the years I’ve heard highly competent, incredibly successful, well-loved women and men, the kind you would think have it all and have it all together, use these exact words; and every time, it takes my breath away.

There’s something about the way we’re living as a society that leads us little by little down this path until one day we wake up and realize that it’s no longer ok. We’re no longer OK.

The “Dying Inside” Creep

Dying inside has a spectrum and it can creep up on you.

The Perpetual Hamster Highway

On one end, you’re still getting it all done but you feel like you’re on a hamster wheel that has no end in sight (which I guess is kind of the nature of hamster wheels).

Like my client B. who realized she was living a complex and stressful life that didn’t suit her personality.

All Out Burnout

Alternately, you may have already hit burnout. You’re still going through the motions but you’re – just – done.

Like my friend Jean who instead of filing a drawer full of important documents, saved herself some time and simply put them through the shredder (true story – changed the name).

Recognizing The Signs

You might be on the path to “dead inside” if:

1. Your Job Is Killing You

You’re suffering in a job that’s killing you (This isn’t hyperbole – it’s literal, and it’s serious).

2. Mounting Pressure

You’ve felt the pressure building for some time and your attempt to survive in the fray, to keep the pace, to stuff your own needs (or your family’s) and the persistent and growing demands of your own body have been pushed to their limits.

3. Fading Joy

Life is fading to gray, all the joy has been sucked out and you are coming to your limit. The idea of one more day down the path of obligation, drudgery, and stuck-ness is unbearable.

If this is you, I need you to know that this was never what life was intended to be. Work can look and feel different, and you have choices.

Reclaiming Your Life

If you’re recognizing this “dead inside” feeling, it is one of the wake-up calls for change.

It’s time to begin to reclaim your life.

It’s time to begin to make your work truly fit you, instead of squeezing what matters most into cracks and crevices around your job.

It’s an invitation to take a hard right towards meaning, fulfillment, and a life that’s both sustainable and enlivening.

And it starts now.

Start Feeling Better Today

Step 1: KNOW You Can Feel Different

Know that this is not your destiny. This is not how work has to be. The fact that you are at the end of your rope indicates that something has to give and I can tell you it’s NOT one more inch of your wellbeing, sleep, heart, or happiness.

Step 2: HONOR What You Need

Take a breath and check in with your body, your heart, your soul… What do you need to honor yourself and your own energy system?

  • Sleep?
  • A good run?
  • Time for breakfast?
  • Snuggle time with your most important humans (or animals)?

Journal it, speak it into a dictation app, or talk to a trusted friend – what do you need NOW?

Step 3: CHOOSE Yourself

If you’re reading this and relating to this “dead inside” feeling, I know that you care A LOT about work and about other people; the thing is that no one else is going to care about you in the way that you need it.

It’s time to choose to take care of you. The world will be there waiting when you come back out, but for now, for today, take care of your own needs and know that this is the beginning of feeling like yourself again.

Take Action:

How will you honor yourself today?

What action is your YOU asking (demanding) you take to begin to bring the color back into your life?

Good. Now do THAT.

Reach out if you need a hand.


Read more about The Calls: More Meaning , More Magic, More You

And The Wakeup Calls: Escape Fantasies, Feeling Dead Inside, The Dark Night of the Soul

Important Mental Health Notice:

The subject matter described here falls within the realm of professional coaching and personal development. I am not a therapist, and while I can provide guidance and support, if you find yourself in a situation where you are considering real harm to yourself or experiencing severe emotional distress, please seek immediate professional help. Your mental health and well-being are of utmost importance, and there are qualified mental health professionals who can provide the necessary support and care.

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