So, Now What?

It never ceases to amaze me how many issues can crop up in our lives. Some of them deserve our attention, and some do not. It invariably begs the question, “so, now what?” (And should I do anything about it.)

There are the societal issues. Many of them. I’m always wondering about the health and wellness of our planet, for example.

Case in point: why did the State of Washington recently vote down its carbon tax plan? I could spend time analyzing the result but is that effective use of my time? I doubt it. I have to overlook the situation and not get hit by that particular curveball. I can’t take on every societal issue otherwise I’ll end up in a negative head space. I pick my battles. I like scotch, too.

There are the community issues. There are loads of them. I live in what is known as the CRD–Capital Region District–on Vancouver Island. There are 91 elected mayors and council members for a population of 383,360 people. That seems disproportionately high to me, but again, I can’t take on that particular matter. I’ll get sucked into a never-ending vortex of questions and end up smoking cannabis till my eyes turn greener than they already are. (Editor’s note: it’s legal in Canada now.)

There are my many personal issues. We all have them. In our house, Goats #1 and #2 are going through colossal struggles now as young teenagers. It’s not any fun at all, to be honest, for them or the parents. In this case, there is no choice but to be continually asking the question, “so, now what?” I feel as though I’m failing on this one. No one ever prepared me for the intensity, the emotional seesaw, the gong show that is parenting children. Whether they’re randomly collapsing like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge or unable to control their temperament due to an unmistakable MIA state of their prefrontal cortex, it’s a miracle I haven’t beaten Goat #3 for sport. (Editor’s note: he hasn’t.)

Then there are the professional issues.

My monthly average for coaching conversations–where I spend 30-60 minutes with someone chatting about their current state, and where they want to get to–is eight. That is I will take eight requests from strangers or people I know and talk over the phone or in person (for free) about their purpose. I love doing it. I love helping others. But I can’t actually take on their problems. I have to get them to sort out the question, “so, now what?” It cannot fall on my shoulders.

Client issues (and opportunities) pop up all the time. It’s a constant juggle of listening, analyzing, thinking, strategizing, and doing. I doubt there is a day that passes by where I’m not asking, “so, now what?” I suppose it is to be expected. But if I take home their professional issue or if I internalize it to the point it affects my overall disposition, I am doing a disservice to anyone in my vicinity. (And that’s not a good thing for any of the so-called “goats.”)

When a professional issue pops up that directly affects me in a personal way, well, that’s a whole new kettle of fish. When SAP acquired Business Objects back in 2007, I recall with tumultuous memory the amount of time I spent trying to convince Germany-based leaders the merits of our organization, our team, our culture. It was a harrowing experience, but I learned a lot, too. (For example, I had never come across spätzle before. OMG, so good!)

In times of professional tumult, I have learned to fall back on my declaration of purpose. It’s rather simple and it effectively answers the question, “so, now what?” each time:

We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through.

I’ve done it before, and I’ll surely do it again, if necessary.

It’s this ‘North Star’ that keeps me balanced, positive, and ready for anything that may come my way.

Purpose for the win! (Also, I lost my passport so if you find it, please let me know.)

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Hey! I'd love to read what you think. Surely you have an opinion. Love, Dan.