All Things Considering

You see the headlines. 

  • Seventy percent of C-suite executives are considering quitting due to burnout. 
  • Over half of residents in the San Francisco Bay Area are considering leaving the area in the next five years. 
  • Forty percent of workers are considering leaving their job soon. 
  • Thirty-eight percent of respondents to a Hoover Institution poll said they had considered leaving the United States and living somewhere else.

So much considering. 

Yet, U.S.-based companies announced only 98 CEO changes in November 2021, a 31 percent drop from the previous month. In healthcare, the sector in which I have the most professional experience, a report by the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) indicated the turnover rate for hospital CEOs in 2021 remained the same as the turnover rate in 2020.

We all harbor fantasies of ‘the other life.’ Fictional novels, like The Midnight Library, explore the question, “what would my life have been like if I’d made another choice?” 

With the world in deep turmoil and uncertainty, it’s wise to consider our options. Play out scenarios. Create a resilience plan.

Big decisions — leaving your home or your job of 20 + years — are not easy to make. It means detaching from the familiar and stepping into the unknown. It’s uncomfortable. It’s itchy and scratchy. It’s unnerving. Sometimes it can feel like a free fall. 

What does all this considering get you? 

It’s the planner’s version of an addict’s reassurance that “I can quit anytime I want.” 

You could. But will you?

Considering, rather than acting, keeps you comfortable without taking any real risk.

Considering is a cool, refreshing mental dip in a pool of possibility. Bad day at work? No problem, because you’re considering leaving. Anxious over the toxic news headlines wherever you are? That’s ok, because you’re considering moving. Frustrated by another bickering afternoon with your partner? That’s fine, because you’re considering a break-up.

Escapism and fantasy have their place in our coping toolbox. 

But if you’re spending more time considering an alternative life, rather than taking concrete steps toward it, or leaning into the actual life you’re in…then what kind of a life are you living, really? 

You’re neither here nor there.

Chronic considering is like rumination. Rumination is turning over and over a past event. Considering is turning over and over an unmet future event. 

Considering is the cousin of planning. Considering is pre-decision. 

Whatever you have been considering, take a moment to write it down. Then write down all the reasons why you have not (1) made a concrete decision, or (2) taken an action step toward it.

Answer honestly.

What is it about my current situation that drives me to consider something else?

What is it about my current situation that prevents me from acting on it now? Is this an actual situation or is it a mental barrier or block I am cultivating?

Am I serious? Or is this more of a passing, escapist fantasy?

If I believe I am serious, what would be a logical next action I can take forward?

If I’m not serious, what can I do to make my current situation better so this considering is no longer necessary?

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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