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he cant afford to leave

I hear these words all too often about corporate leadership today – ‘he cant afford to leave’!

  • let go
  • reconnect
  • let come

Picture this – the senior executive with the three premium cars in the garage, boat moored at the pier, the finest private education for the children, the house with all the latest trappings, four investment properties and one of the most senior-level titles  – the man that has it all.

The senior executive no longer feels success, achievement or the thrill of challenge these days at work – nothing he does is stimulating or exciting, he feels disconnected from the Board and the people around him, and is wondering what it’s all about.

What’s the sad irony in the words often bandied around by those observing his situation:  ‘He cant afford to leave’

On the surface, a passerby may interpret those words as the current salary is needed to pay for all the lifestyle inclusions. Yet access to deeper knowledge knows these words are not at all linked to ability to pay, but a state of being – a very disconnected state of being.

To simply do the math would reveal the absurdity of this situation. Should only one of those huge investment homes, or perhaps two, be sold, all debt would be gone and a large pool of disposable cash would be ‘at hand’. This does not weigh up to ‘he cannot afford to leave’ by dictionary definition.

So what do the words really indicate? ‘Afford’ in this sense indicates that he can ‘act without losing’, thereby contextualized as ‘leave without losing’.

Let’s turn this around to now ask: ‘What could be gained by leaving’?  Sure, the pain of letting all the external ‘entitlements’ that communicate so much would hurt to an externally-validated person. Could that be the opportunity in this situation – to discover and gain an understanding that externally-driven entitlements are really not yours in the first place.

What does the status of the big homes, and the three premium cars provide that couldn’t be taken away from you at some point or shall last forever? If they were taken away, what would be left? If there were no trappings, no title, no external eyes on you, would it be fulfilling to exist?

When pain and pressure impact, humans can tend to see things in absolute, translating this situation into an ‘either or’ scenario. Either he’s seen to have made it or not, either he’s credible or not – both driven by the outer, and living in the land of absolute extremes.  What could the difference be with ‘and’ – for example, he would have less trappings and more time to follow interests, for example.  Absolutes disregard the space in between extremes, the grey between the black and white, which could represent alternate possibility from a shift in approach or priority, for example if he changed his lifestyle and moved from the corporate world to a entrepreneurial community role, he could live ‘comfortably’ and have time to discover new things.  Absolutes also indicate that it’s one or the other, from right now in one giant leap, missing opportunity to approach the change step by step, for example let’s sell just one car and see the difference it makes…

What could be re-gained is his life, his connection to self, the discovery of self and who he really is – what price does one place on that?

How would your emotional balance sheet look if you were to leave a job, a board, a situation that wasn’t serving, yet would guarantee reconnection to self – would you value that?  The ‘what and why’ is yours to define. When a decision is driven by positive intention, it’s bound to work out, and ‘the how’ shall be revealed, many times in ways that we would never have imagined, as long as we are prepared to show a willingness to let go, reconnect and let come.

….and oh what a ride it shall be!



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