That Nagging Feeling

That nagging feeing.

We all have it from time to time. That nagging feeling that we could do better. That we could do more. Things aren’t bad right now (or maybe they are), but we know where we are is not where we want to be.

What we want to be can vary. Many clients come to me because they want to be “more successful”. Companies come to me because they want to grow. Yet what that means for each one can vary tremendously. Success can be about money, position, more control of one’s own time, life-work balance, the ability to take their art or talent or ministry in new directions. Growing can be about pure profit, or about a work flow that makes an organization a better and more effective place, or a mission that gives purpose. Yes, that “something more”, or “better” has many faces.

But we all get it.

That nagging feeling.

The truth is, most of us ignore it. We tinker with small changes, wondering why nothing really changes. Or we surrender to the false belief that we can’t have what we want, that it is unattainable. That being stuck is our lot in life. And it is a false belief.

That nagging voice is trying to tell us something. It is trying to tell us that we CAN do more, and part of us knows it. We CAN be more, and deep inside, whether we are ready to act on it or not, we are in a place where the pieces are in place to begin, where we have the potential to change and grow and become a better version of what we are today. It is not wishful thinking. It is our subconscious looking at our reality, at our abilities, at our spirit and trying to wake us out of our doldrums to take hold of our potential.

The sad truth is that most of us ignore that nagging, the same way we ignored our Mom’s telling us to clean up our room when we were kids. We don’t like the nagging, even if it is good for us. We tell ourselves we can’t. We tell ourselves that we are trapped, that the situation or the time is not right.

Oh, we have quite the list of reasons not to act on the nagging.

There’s a couple of problems with ignoring that nagging, though.

The first is obvious. Ignore it and nothing happens. And we are in the same place, but the nagging just gets louder. Or worse, it gives up and goes away. And then we really ARE stuck.

The second is less obvious. When we ignore that nagging long enough, that same nag creates a secondary whisper: “You’re not good enough. You’ll never measure up. You’ve failed. You could have done this and didn’t.” And that whisper begins to taint us.

Are you hearing the nagging voice now? If so, don’t ignore it. Listen to it. What is it your subconscious is telling you? Listen to it. IN general, it wants and knows the best for us.

Listen to it, and then do something about it.

It’s the same whether you are an individual or the leader within an organization. The exact what is less important than simply ignoring it. Read about what you want to do or become. Tell someone. Find someone who is doing it and talk to them. Make lists of steps to get there. Take your time, but whittle away at your list. Start to make a plan. Yes, it will change, but you need a starting point. So make the plan and take the first steps. You can revise it later. Find a coach or mentor, and begin. Move. Do. The what is less important than the doing. That’s the only thing that shuts a nag up. And it’s how we become what we actually are, instead of what has us stuck and has our nag tugging at us.

The thing about nags is that they want us to do something. And generally, it’s something worth doing.

Particularly when that nag is you.

Be well. Travel wisely,



A reminder: We offer three free coaching sessions to see if coaching is for you. Interested? Reach out and let me know.



  1. Tom, loved your blog. What happens when you tell someone and you go forward but the nagging changes to “you are a failure” and you have your goal out there in public and you can’t quite reach it. So close.but so far.

    • Good morning Brenda. Thank you for your kind words.

      What to do when a goal is almost reached is never a simple question, and never the same for any two people. The general answer is that you keep at it, that life throws monkey wrenches into things now and again, but persistence generally wins.

      Without knowing your circumstances and how long you’ve been at it, or you as a person, I cant’ give direct advice, but if it has been a while, perhaps it’s time to step back and look at your path more clearly. What has moved you forward? What has held you back? What can you tweak, or add, or subtract.

      It helps to have a mentor, or someone to walk beside you with a clear eye, to help you do this. We are not always our best observers.

      Good luck and stay at it. Often success is just over that last hump. You may be closer than you think.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s