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Workplace Wisdom 

Mary Schechter


Why Do I Feel So Drained?

A few years ago, I was working with an accountant who was interviewing for a lead position in a local company. Everything ‘looked great’. Her first meeting went well. When she was brought back for her final interview, she happened to have a coaching session scheduled with me immediately afterward. Upon seeing her walk through the door, I knew something was off.

“How did the interview go?”, I asked

“Great”, she replied. “it’s just…” Her voice trailed off. After a moment she looked up at me and answered in a way that was not in sync with her logical approach to decision making.

“There is something wrong and I cannot put my finger on it,” she declared. “Everything is in place with a good offer, and I got to meet my new staff and toured what would be my own office. I just can’t place why I feel this way.”

I then asked her one of my ‘questions’.

“When you were at the interview, what did you notice in your physical body? What sensations did you have?”

She immediately pointed to her stomach.

“It was awful. As soon as I pulled into the parking lot, my stomach had a weird reaction, like I was going to be sick. I felt fine moments before, but I just dismissed it. I thought it was nerves.”

“But”, she went on, “It didn’t go away. It just got worse and worse and by the time I got to my office, my throat started to close up. It was like I was choking. I could not breathe. Anyway, I can’t explain it.”

“Did you accept the job?”, I asked

“Of course”, she replied. “I would be crazy to turn down an offer like that. I just wish I could figure out those peculiar impressions that I had the entire time I was there. And you know what Mary, as soon as I left, they disappeared.”

Fast forward 4 months…

The same woman called to set up another meeting.

She had called me out of the blue stating she needed to see me.

“You are not going to believe this. From the first day, I had problems. My Accounting Manager apparently applied for the position I got and was enraged she was not chosen for the Director position. She has made my life a living hell, creating drama, cliques and spreading rumors about me constantly. About 3 weeks into the new job, I was told that I actually was brought in to clean house. “

She sighed, “Yes. It has been one obstacle after another. Every day I have a stomach ache. No matter what I say, no one seems ready to listen. I feel like I don’t have a voice or the power to change anything.”

At that point she looked up. I would like to tell you she smiled, but it was more akin to a look of resolved horror.

“Oh, my. I see it now. This was what my body was telling me in the beginning and I ignored it. From the stomach ache to my throat, somehow and in some way, I knew that this situation was not going to work out. I ignored my own inner voice.”

Life was not designed to drain you. Yes, I mean that.

What we were designed to do was to live to use our gifts as well as our potential. What we were designed to use were those abilities that we find effortless; to enjoy life and our place in it. If you find yourself dreading a situation, or feeling stuck in a set of circumstances that keep repeating over and over again, then know this- you need not stay there. You were not designed to live your life being chronically drained.

So many people I have had the ability to work with have found themselves “stuck” in the middle of this dilemma for only one reason: they have forgotten how to listen to the most important voice they hear- their own.

Whether the belief is to stay the course in bad marriage, poor job fit, abusive relationship, ­chronically over-achieving, or follow what they ‘should do’ based on the opinions of others or society, the answer is as simple as one small decision.


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