Darling, you got to let me know,
Should I stay or should I go?
If you say that you are mine,
I’ll be here till the end of time.
So you got to let me know
Should I stay or should I go?
As the future gets closer, I’m accepting the fact that my old future doesn’t work anymore. So to hell with that future. What about now? The work of midlife and beyond begins with this question.
But it doesn’t stop here. Each of us will confront this question several times in the years ahead.
Which is why Power is in the Now! We can harvest opportunity from crisis, but first we have to take a step back and do some ruthless soul-searching: How did this happen? How did I get here? Where am I headed and is it still where I want to end up? Doing so will engage us from the depths, as it takes courage and demands transparency. It’s the only way to regain our own audacity of hope.
Many of us are caught in shock—with despairing paralysis threatening from the sidelines. Some of us are hiding out in isolation, either licking our wounds or processing, not sure what to do next. Others are gestating and concocting.
As with any maturation curve, as one phase winds out, another is already in progress. Knowing when to leap from one to the other will determine your trajectory.
Midlife crisis can come at any time, even more than once—from age 35 to 70, give or take a year or two! For many of us, our midlife malaise is colliding with our new reality. In the midst of an identity crisis, we are being forced to ask some hard, fundamental questions and to re-examine who we are and where we best fit. Don’t be lulled into “mission drift,” because mid-career turns into late career really fast.
This intense exploration isn’t only career related. Every facet of our life comes under scrutiny: from the bedroom to the boardroom. What we thought we wanted or needed is changing, either because we are up against a wall or because we are choosing to get ahead of the curve of change. And just when we think we have “it,” it will morph yet again.
The unfortunate truth is that most of us choose unhappiness over uncertainty. But nothing is certain except death, so embrace uncertainty and make it work for you.
We have no choice but to redesign our “now” and renegotiate everything.
Most of all we need to take a breath and get here now! Soon enough our “now” will be past tense.
This is a time for great reflection and truth telling. Some of us, like my husband and me, are getting real. No longer just talking about it, or getting stuck in fantasies of our youth, we are making hard choices and sacrifices so we can keep on keepin’ on. We are not alone in our search for meaningful futures that work.
Jackie is a perfect example. She’s not only a young boomer, age 45, but also smack in mid-career. Not quite a senior partner, but well past being junior. When we met, she was at a real low point. She had just divorced and was thankful no kids were involved. Work was just that—work. Being a traveling executive, she’d find ways to slip below the radar, just getting by. But it wasn’t good enough anymore. Totally bored and burnt out, she was getting nowhere fast. Only happy on the tennis court or partying into oblivion on the weekends, it was time for a major revamping. She wanted a life and a career that mattered.
We concocted a plan that honored her desire to move on while doing a thorough inventory assessment of which skills she still needed to hone before taking off. Our goal was to leverage this time with her current firm, so she could leave with accolades and a resume that would jump off the page. We never lost sight of where Jackie is headed. Once she realized that she didn’t have to stay forever, her productivity went off the charts. Now even in this severe downturn, she is THE woman, keeping business on the books and opening up new doors she never thought possible.
Now is the time. . . . Which is it for you? Unhappiness or uncertainty?
Working the Power in the Now might mean staying on or it might mean taking the grand leap into the unknown. Gauge your tolerance level for the uncertain. Risk taking in these times is not for the faint hearted. But for those at the helm or for those who have an in-demand specialty, and even for those still singing the blues ’cause they can’t get any satisfaction, this may be your time to rock on out.
Since it’s no longer a sure thing that tomorrow will be better than today, isn’t it time to harness your promise and redirect your energies so you can honestly answer: Should I Stay or Should I Go?