Should I Stay or Should I Go?
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?
~The Clash, Should I stay or Should I Go?, Combat Rock, 1982
As the future gets closer, I’m accepting that my old future doesn’t work anymore. So to hell with that future! What now? The work of radical reinvention and transformation begins with this question. For those of us approaching the apex of our life in midlife or for oldies but goodies like me, we face an even more daunting Sisyphean climb as we seek our new futures.
Futurists have few illusions about continuous discontinuous change. In fact, we’ve been writing and speaking about a coming tectonic epochal shift for quite some time. The most curried of coined names are: The Big Shift, The Change, or The Great Transition. Whatever we call “it”, it doesn’t stop here. Forewarning: Each of us will confront this question several times in the years and decades ahead: So I ask you, What now?
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 during this pause before we pivot. Key questions to ask: 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 and possibility.
Many of us are still caught in shock—as the hits keep rolling in…orange skies of California burning, racial injustice across the globe, voter suppression, and all the isms are front and center. Some with despairing paralysis threatening from the sidelines. Some of us are hiding out in isolation, either like a deer in headlights, licking our wounds and mending our broken hearts, and/or processing, not sure what to do next, while others are wondering whether to stay or go.
Others are gestating and concocting. I find myself in this group. The day I heard that the market had tanked, I was clearly shocked and shook. I went with the flow attempting to not retreat…then like a mini quake, I started to have tremors. No not a meltdown, rather a breakthrough! I was experiencing a mini kundalini rising of heat, light, and tremors from toes to head and back again… then I was flooded with a series of major aha’s. One was that I needed to share my earned knowledge and experience in facilitating radical reinvention and transformation asap for we the people will be in need of a respite, a place to make sense of our times, and time to reimagine the future together. I was being called to illuminate the way forward for whoever stepped forward. Without hesitation, I put aside my cherished long-awaited for launch of my vision. In moments, I knew exactly what to do. The birth of my gratis weekly Future Proof ForumTM emerged from those embers of inner knowing. Our coming together to navigate towards a new future is now a value-added gift for all who attend, and most certainly for me. You are welcome to check the forum out. More info. at www.karensands.com/vuca.
Being self-isolated with my husband for the last six months has been a rich experience for us. Working and living together in one house is our normal, so we have gratefully bypassed any disruption… unlike so many others suddenly thrust together day after day, month after month.
Entering my probable last quarter on the planet, I’m now always in what I call the “Beat the Clock syndrome℠”. So not having to drive for hours back n forth to meetings and networking events are not a loss. Quite the opposite! I’m having a grand time concocting and creating behind the black curtain. I’m on Zoom all the time. And my productivity is off the charts. Watch your inbox for upcoming announcements. 🙂
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…every time!
For many of us, our midlife malaise is colliding with our new reality. In the midst of a midlife identity crisis—we are being forced to ask some hard, fundamental questions and to re-examine who we are, why we are here, and where we best fit. (Midlife crisis can come at any time, even more than once—from age 35-70, give or take a year or two!) For those of us in our later years already, we have to reframe our future with little time to waste. Thought for today: Don’t be lulled into “mission drift” cause mid-career turns into late-career really fast.
This intense exploration is more important now than even during the Great Recession or after 9/11 –because it’s no longer isolated, our whole world is in a shakeup and shutdown. This forced exploration isn’t only career-related. Every facet of our life comes under scrutiny: from the bedroom to the boardroom…even the schoolroom. What we thought we wanted or needed is dramatically 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 again.
The unfortunate truth is that most of us choose unhappiness over uncertainty. We more often than not choose safety and security vs. the unknown. But nothing is certain except death, so embrace uncertainty and make it work for you.
It’s still too dicey to place bets on when our current Covid-19 induced economic woes will be over. So, we have no choice but to reframe our “now” while at the same time we redesign for out new future… and renegotiate everything…the good, the bad, and the ugly. No better time like right now.
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 truthtelling. Some of us, like my husband and I, are getting even more “real”. No longer just talking the talk, 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 matter…a new vision that works for all, not just the few.
Easiest way to beat the VUCA bluesJackie is a perfect example. She’s not only a GenXer, age 51 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 just wasn’t good enough any longer. Totally bored and burnt, 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 conceived of a plan that honored her desire to move on while doing a thorough forensic 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 sky high. Now even in this severe downturn, she is “THE Wo” man”, keeping business on the books and opening up new doors she never thought possible…certainly not during a pandemic, much less an economic slide and political mayhem and social unrest. By the time we enter 2021, Jackie will be well into her next trajectory.
Jimmy at 59 is a superstar always in overdrive but stuck in the shadows of his Boss. Being the firm’s workhorse, he runs the place but gets none of the benefits or recognition he deserves. Now’s not the time to leave for greener pastures as we had planned. The current economic downturn would make changing firms a dangerous move at this time. But not to worry, we are using this time to get him “known” and out from the shadows. Watch out world, Jimmy is about to hit his stride.
Working the Power in the Now may mean staying or it might mean taking the grand leap into the unknown. Reclaim your vision, then stand for what matters. Keep your faith for this new crossing into the unknown future. Best you gauge your tolerance level for the uncertain…for VUCA times are here to stay. Which is it for you? Unhappiness or Uncertainty?
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 because they can’t get any satisfaction, this may be your time to rock on out.
Get ready. Get set…
Since it’s no longer a sure thing that tomorrow will be better than today, isn’t it time to harness your promise? Take it and redirect your energies so you can honestly answer, Should I Stay or Should I Go?