To Stay or To Leave?

Written by on December 1, 2011

This morning VantagePoint3 hosted a webinar called, “Crucibles:  Times of Disorientation in a Leader’s Life.”  Brian, Rob and I tried to unpack why such times can become heightened times of learning in our formation.  If we have eyes to see and a heart to walk alongside another, such times snap us to attention.  It is then that we have our work cut out for us, or perhaps to say it a better way, we may be best cut out for such work. One of the questions that emerged for someone during the webinar is one we have all found ourselves in from time to time.  “How do I know if it is time to stay or time to leave?”   This is a hard question to answer in a 60-minute webinar, and truth be told, is a hard question to answer if we had 525,600 minutes (1 year).  It is certainly important in making such a decision to give it time, seek the counsel of trusted friends (clearness committee as Parker Palmer suggests), and to take inventory if what we now care about aligns with what the organization cares about. “How do I know if it is time to stay or time to leave?”  Sometimes it is time to go.  We need to steward who God has called us to be in our passion and giftedness.  We need to pay attention to that place Buechner describes as the intersection between our deep gladness and a deep need we recognize.  Sometimes for a host of reasons the place we find ourselves squelches who we are and what we have to offer. Sometimes it is time to stay.  We come to realize that every place has its own set of circumstances, and if we wait long enough we’ll eventually bump into the particular circumstances that rub us the wrong way, or don’t quite fit who we are.  But instead of leaving, we realize perhaps we are the ones that have some growing up to do, and just maybe the best way to grow is to stay and press through ourselves in order to see the beauty and opportunity right before us. We may be in a spot right now where this is the question that keeps us up at night. What if there is another way to look at the question that may help minimize the paralytic nature the question can sometimes inject?  What if it doesn’t matter whether we stay or leave?  Sounds a bit crazy to consider, especially if this is the question that is presently gripping you. So here’s a prescription for you if “should I stay or leave?” has you a bit paralyzed.  Instead, live for a week with the question, “What if it doesn’t matter whether I stay or leave?”  Journal the thoughts or new sets of questions that emerge.  Just maybe you will bump into your answer when you take the pressure off of making the right decision. If you do take the prescription I would love to hear how it went for you…but only after you live with the question for a week.  Send me your thoughts…

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