Should You Stay or Should You Go?
I have to admit that musically I’m stuck in the 80s. I know it was like a million years ago, but there’s just nothing like a good Clash tune. And this one is perfect for anyone who is languishing in indecision.
Maybe it’s indecision about a relationship you are in. You know it needs work and you’re growing more distant from your partner, but you hate to start a fight. It’s easier to fantasize about someone else. So the distance grows further. Maybe it’s your career or your business. I see many business owners stuck trying to decide if they should invest what it would take to remain competitive or just get out. Their facilities get shabbier and shabbier and they lose more and more market share while they do nothing. Indecision is no strategy.
“Darling you gotta let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”
Here’s the deal – no one is going to let you know. Eventually something might change – your partner might leave or you might go bankrupt. Or things might just continue their slow slide into oblivion; a dismal place where you forget what love is or how good professional success feels. A place where you realize your dreams are dead and you have officially settled.
“This indecision’s bugging me
If you don’t want me set me free.”
Do us all a favor and set yourself free. There’s no prison other than the one you’ve constructed for yourself. If you are in a relationship that’s not what you want, either take steps to fix it or get out. Waiting for the other person to change, leave, decide; is ridiculous. It hasn’t worked so far, has it? The same thing is true for your career. Not happy where you are? What are you doing to make yourself worthy of a raise or a promotion or another job? Are you even looking for other opportunities?
And what about your business? Walmart is killing you? Are you just sitting around complaining or are you fighting? Do you have a great store where people want to shop? Awesome employees who are good both at sales and customer service? And if you believe you really can’t compete, then get off the dead horse and close the business.
“If I go there will be trouble,
An if I stay it will be double.”
If you stay and do nothing, it will get worse. You’ll resent your partner more and more. You’ll fall behind your professional peers who are sharpening their skills and finding new opportunities. Because you hate your job so much, no one will want to work with you and maybe you’ll wind up getting fired.
“Exactly whom I’m supposed to be,
Don’t you know which clothes even fit me?”
It is not up to anyone else to tell you who you are. That’s what the purpose of life is. You’re supposed to try different things, get to know different people, and through living, figure out what works best for you. Your only job is to be the best you that you can be. No relationship is going to be the same forever. If it stops bringing out the best in you and your partner, maybe it’s time to make a change. Maybe the career path that made you happy 20 years ago now makes you dread getting out of bed in the morning. Do you really need someone else to tell you these clothes don’t fit you anymore?
So what do you do?
1. Decide. Commit. Stop making excuses. Are you in or are you out? Are you ready to fight Walmart and rebuild your business? Investing time and money and whatever else it might take? Yes? Get re-energized and do it! You built it from nothing, you can rebuild it. Or are you tired and burned out? Then start looking for a buyer. Take a loss if you have to. Get out and do your employees, customers and yourself a favor. Be in 100% or be out. Same for your relationships. Assume the other person will not change – at all. Are you willing to not only accept that, but embrace it so you can be happy? Yes? Awesome! Let go of your resentment and focus on and expand all the good stuff. Stop waiting for them to change. Can’t do that? Walk away.
To help you decide – consider these:
Is there more pain or joy in my current situation?
If things never changed, would I regret staying?
Why am I afraid to give more or to leave?
If you consider giving more or leaving, which seems more exciting?
2. Get out of your own head.
“One day is fine the next is black,
So if you want me off your back
Well come on and let me know
Should I stay or should I go?”
Stop thinking and thinking and thinking. Rumination is one of the main causes of depression. You keep thinking about how awful your situation is. You focus on all the things that aren’t working. You think about what you really deserve, but aren’t getting. You can’t go, but you can’t stay. You obsess, you blame, you rationalize doing nothing. You catastrophize – if I leave I’ll die alone. If I sell the business, I’ll have nothing. Wah, wah, wah. Poor me. I should stay here and do nothing and blame my partner, Walmart, my boss, the economy, my parents, Congress, and The Clash.
3. Look for clarity. When you are agonizing over something, it’s not right. The Quakers say to look for clarity. When you are on the right path, it’s clear. You’re not fighting trying to change someone’s behavior. You aren’t dreading going to work every day. Your bad feelings and indecision are signs that something needs to change. Look for what feels clear and good.
4. Take action in the direction of your dreams. If you are letting go of something that’s not working, there’s going to be a void. Fill it up! Get out there and meet new people or spend time getting reacquainted with yourself. Plan a cool adventure. Send out resumes and start looking for that dream job. If you are staying, do something special for your partner. Redecorate your office. Draft the beat Walmart business plan.
Your destiny is in your hands – no one else’s.