Just Stay

This was going to be a Facebook post. Then it was going to be a long Facebook post. Then it was going to be a looooong Facebook post. And that’s when I realized there’s just too much to say about staying where you are.

don't live the same year

Generally speaking, I’m of the mindset that, if you stay where you are, that’s where you’ll continue to be. Stuck in the same situation; doing the same thing you’ve always done with the same people and getting the same results. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Yeah, not so much.

So what’s the benefit of “staying”? Staying through the frustration and the anger and the hurt and the second guessing and the just plain confusion? Results. That’s the benefit.

Now, that doesn’t mean that the results are always “Hurray, look at how perfect things are now!” Yes, sometimes they are. But the results I’m talking about come in the form of clarity.

Recently, in a business group I’m part of, the subject of “just staying” was brought up. Of course, it was brought up in the context of business and what to do when you’re faced with a difficult client or a dip in client acquisition or something of that nature. But it struck me that “just staying” has so many other practical applications.

Just to pick one out of a basket, take a fear that comes from your childhood. Maybe it’s the fear of abandonment because you had a parent leave at some point. You can push that down as deeply as you can into your psyche and say that it no longer affects you as an adult but, guess what? It does. It creeps into every relationship over and over again. And it will until you deal with it.

So why wouldn’t you deal with it? Because it’s hard. It’s painful. It’s scary to think of dredging up those emotions again. But what if you did and you practiced “just staying”? What if you sat with that – whether you do it with a therapist or on your own – and let those fears and hurts wash over you?

It’s frightening, I know. And it would be easy to let your emotions take over and just run for the door. But that’s what you were doing when you pushed it all beside before and told yourself that you weren’t affected by it anymore. And how has that worked out?

But if you honor your emotions without letting them take over, you win. If you push past the panic that rises in your chest and, as was said in my business group, you don’t do anything other than the next thing there is to do, that’s what it means to “just stay”.

fire alarmNow, in the context of business, the way you know what the next thing to do actually is comes in the form of having systems in place. Customer calls and is unhappy with their purchase? You can bet that there’s a procedure, or system, for dealing with that, right? And we learn this as early as grade school. Fire alarm goes off for a fire drill and there’s a system of what to do next, right? Are you beginning to see how the systems in our lives keep the panic at bay?

But it’s important that your own systems, whatever form they take, are created outside of emotion. Imagine if the system for a fire drill was not constructed until the alarm was blaring. You’d have an entire classroom of children in frantic chaos, wouldn’t you? So our systems need to develop in those anticipatory moments in our lives.

So, how about a real life example? Say you are often spoken over in business meetings. In the moment that it happens, there are any number of emotions you may be feeling. But what if you had a system? What if you determined how you would react and what you would say ahead of that moment in time? It would allow you to remove your emotions from the situation, stay in that moment while still addressing it, and not push it aside once again to fester in the dark corners of your mind.

And what would the win be here? Well, first, you would have been heard. After that, the situation may change or it may not. Either way, though, it provides you with clarity. Is this still a group of people I can work with long term? Is my voice valued here? Depending on your answers to key questions, your future decisions about whether you stay with the job/company will be much clearer.

Don’t be confused, though. “Just staying” doesn’t mean “continue to allow yourself to be a punching bag”. That’s not what it means at all. It doesn’t mean staying in a situation that is unhealthy for the sake of “staying”. Rather, it means confronting whatever situation is at hand in a controlled and well thought out manner. DO-ing the next thing rather than REACT-ing to the next thing so that you can come to a place of clarity. A place that allows you to make healthy and positive decisions for yourself moving forward.

And, yeah, sometimes you have to come up with your systems on the fly. It happens to the best of us. We can’t prepare for EVERYTHING. But when you’ve put yourself in the mindset of “just staying”, it becomes easier to remove your emotions from the situation and think logically.

On a recent Warrior Woman Wednesday, we  shared a quote from J.K. Rowling. “The only way out is through.” Wise words. Sister, whatever you’re dealing with, you’re already in it. You can push it aside all you want, but you’ll never be free of it until you go through to the other side. And that, my dear, requires “staying”; letting the current take you where you need to go rather than fighting against it.

~ Karen



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