Stay or Go? It’s All About the Potential …

Stay or GoMy client Heather has been in a pit of professional misery for the last 12 months.

Yes, it’s as awful as it sounds. She’s stressed, frustrated, unhappy, unfulfilled, and feels like bits and pieces of her soul are slowly being chipped away.

It’s a hard place to be. And it’s even harder for Heather because she’s not used to being in this space.

She’s normally the kind of person who throws herself into whatever she’s doing with enthusiasm and always finds a way to successfully tackle whatever needs tackling. She’s whip-smart, inspires confidence, radiates positivity, and is kick-*ss in the best possible way :-).

But after 15+ years with a company she’s loved, things have changed.

At first, she chalked it up to the expected growing pains of a new executive leadership team. Then she tried to convince herself that it really wasn’t that bad. And when that didn’t work, she moved to the okay-it’s-bad-but-I-can-handle-it approach.

And the question “Is it time to leave?” created even more stress because she had no idea if leaving or staying was the right choice.

Hmmm … unhappy, stressed, frustrated, unfulfilled, and soul-being-chipped-away. Under those circumstances, you’d think the answer would be obvious, yes?

(Don’t answer, it’s a trick question!)

There’s a reason the answer to “Stay or go?” wasn’t obvious to Heather.
It was the wrong question.

Heather doesn’t want to leave.

She also doesn’t want to stay under the current circumstances.

What she wants is for things to be good again.

And recognizing that leads to an entirely different set of questions:

  • What needs to change for you to be successful and happy – to thrive?
  • What’s within your control?
  • What’s the realistic potential that the stuff out of your control will change?

An honest assessment of the potential for change is crucial, because if the likelihood of change is low, you’re left with a strategy of crossed fingers and toes, fairy dust, or wishful thinking. None of which are likely to help.

You’ll do your best assessment using both intuition and analytical thinking.

Intuition first …

If you stay in your situation, is there REAL potential for you to be successful and happy – to thrive?

What’s the very first thought that pops into your head?

[I’m pausing while you take note of your answer :-).]

That’s your intuition / gut talking. And whatever thought surfaced: yes, no, maybe, no flipping idea, [fill in your thought], I promise it’s useful. You just got your first piece of data.

Heather’s gut reaction was, “Not unless something changes radically.”

Now the analytic thinking …

To thrive professionally, most of us need to:

  1. Feel that what we do matters,
  2. Spend the majority of our time using our gifts and playing to our strengths,
  3. Feel energized by our work,
  4. Spend our time with people who bring out the best in us,
  5. Feel respected and valued for WHO we are and WHAT we bring to the table.

What needs to change for you to have these five thrive factors most of the time? How much of that change is within your control? And for what’s outside of your control, what’s the likelihood of change?

If your answer is YES, I can effect change, get to work :-).

But if what has to change is entirely out of your control and you see nothing external on the horizon to bring about that change, it’s time to start the process of letting go emotionally and deciding what’s next.

It’s not always easy to make the choice to let go of what’s not working.

But you deserve to thrive.

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.” ~ Haruki Murakami

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