The Great RealignmentNov 14, 2021
In August 2021, 4.3 million Americans quit their job. It’s amazing and frightening and is setting off ripple effects throughout society. As you’ve likely heard, this cultural phenomenon has become known as the great resignation. To quit, to walk away seems so counter to who we are as Americans - we’re not quitters!
That’s right, we’re not. People aren’t giving up, they’re not quitting, they’re choosing. They’re choosing a better way. They’re choosing a path more authentically aligned to what they value. I call this phenomenon The Great Realignment.
Sure, it has set into motion a great resignation because as folks take stock they realize, the treadmill they’re on is getting them nowhere – it's not aligned to their purpose, their strengths, it isn’t going to allow them to reach their full potential. And more power to them for taking the action they need to live aligned to their truest self.
But I submit that the great realignment does not have to end with all of us resigning. There are a ton of ways that we can take stock, get realigned to what we value most, and thrive in our current circumstances. We may need to create some new habits. We may need to get more assertive about maintaining boundaries to have the ever-elusive work/life balance. But ultimately, balance is an inside job – it is not the result of some unicorn corporate culture. It is the result of living authentically aligned and having complete integrity between who we are, what we say, and what we do.
To have this kind of alignment you need to know yourself. I mean really know yourself. What are your core values – and why do you value these things so dearly? What are your strengths – what are your awesomely unique superpowers? How does your personality style propel you forward? How does your personality style hold you back from reaching your full potential? When we take the time to be still, explore who we are and what we really want we unlock our compass – a guide to our universe and the potential of who we can become.
When we have that compass, we can draw our roadmap of how we unlock all of that AWESOME potential that lives in each of us. We can prototype out some options – what would it look like if I stay in my current job but have better boundaries with my boss and co-workers? What would it look like if I stayed in my current job and explored that side hustle that the universe keeps whispering in my ear? What would it look like if I try a whole new profession? There are endless possibilities so starting to imagine them and drawing a roadmap for each is a wonderful place to start.
All of this is great news and so much fun to explore (okay, disclaimer, I am a therapist, so this stuff is gobs of fun to me). But let’s not forget it takes two to tango and clearly corporate America has a big problem on its hands. The reality is people are resigning in droves. They’ve had it with long days of endless to-do's. They’re dying a slow death - one 30-minute meeting at a time. They can’t sustain a pace that leaves no space for a health break, let alone time to sit down and enjoy a meal with a co-worker, client, or friend. The creativity is being drained out of our people, our culture, and no one seems to be doing anything about it – other than thoughtlessly grabbing that one 30-minute sliver of availability on your Outlook calendar.
So, this realignment needs to be a two-way street. Each of us as individuals needs to take stock and make sure we are living as our most authentic selves. And corporate America needs to do something – it's time to walk the walk of the story on the company's ‘About’ page. Put policies into place that hold your leaders accountable for meeting moratoriums. Put an end to the energy-draining, creativity-sucking work lifestyle that is simply not sustainable. It’s time to create a congruent culture that aligns what you say to what your leaders, at every level, actually do.
If we could each do our part, as individuals, as employers just imagine the ripple effect, the long-lasting impact that the great realignment could generate. There have been so many horrible outcomes since early 2020, but there are always silver linings. I genuinely believe that the opportunity that we have as a culture to realign right here right now is one of those beautiful silver linings. So, get started today, don’t miss out on the opportunity to be a part of this phenomenon let’s make the great realignment truly great!
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