A few years ago I was at a company where I felt urgent changes needed to be made. The changes felt so obvious to me – and it felt frustrating that it wasn’t happening sooner. Whether I was right or wrong is irrelevant. But I felt the pain of inaction keenly – how could we not be making changes? How could we wait?
And then a mentor of mine told me I had three options:
I could write my ideas down and wait to see if I was right.
I could use what skills and power I had to try to make the changes.
Or I could quit.
Immediately, my tension dissipated. What she told me re-framed the problem around what I could do. There wasn’t any “wait and see if it gets better” and she told me clearly that many of the changes I wanted were unlikely to happen. But assuming agency allowed me to take action on what I could push forward, and well, relax, on the other stuff.