The ‘abyss of irrelevance’
From an article in Sorted magazine
What happens when your identity is founded on what you do and then that is removed? Are you facing the ‘abyss of irrelevance’ and what should you do?
A senior executive became a multi-millionaire after the company was sold. He could have stayed on, but with all the material success and security he ever wanted at his fingertips, he chose to leave. You’d think he’d be full of joy at the prospect? Sadly, that’s not the case. The problem is he’s lost his identity…
He doesn’t know who he is anymore, or if anyone wants him; and right now he is staring into the ‘abyss of irrelevance’.
The same thing happens to former soldiers and members of the police and emergency services whose journey through fire together is poorly understood by outsiders. Massively capable, former Special Forces guys who, on leaving the military, suddenly feel out of place in the ‘real world’.
And it’s the same for ordinary people who’ve invested themselves into their jobs, feeling useful, valued and part of something bigger than themselves, only to have it taken away by choice or circumstance. When this happens, we too feel discarded and we can often be found leaning over the precipice, staring into the very same ‘abyss of irrelevance’.
Losing a role, where we’ve felt valued, has us peer into the ‘abyss of irrelevance’. We’re convinced that’s all there is – and fear grips us, preventing us from crossing over the threshold to find out what’s next, where an unimagined new life awaits.
Here are some valuable principles:
Accept part of us is dying. In the middle of it, we can’t see what’s going on or through to the other side. And no one talks about this.
Face the abyss with courage. It’s an inner battle. There could be previous examples which help e.g. finishing University and not knowing what to do next.
Take time to reflect and let go. You've invested so much in being that person. But now, who else can you be?
Talk to someone committed to your wellbeing, a person who will hold you accountable.
Take the opportunity to grow through this process. On the other side is the chance to build something new. Use the wisdom you have built up.
The final principle is the brutal truth of regret. The founder [of the business] walked away with hundreds of millions from the sale but on Christmas Eve he was told he had a terminal illness.
Instead of staring into the abyss, a huge opportunity awaits us all if we allow ourselves to let go, explore what’s possible – and get on with the job of creating a new life. And if we are really prepared to do these things, the benefits will be more than we ever imagined.
Read the full article here
Sorted is a bi-monthly magazine that discusses the big issues of the day – focusing on subjects as diverse as culture, sport, cars, health, faith, gadgets, humour and relationships. They aim to be positive and wholesome in all they do. Some of the biggest names from Hollywood and the literary, music and sporting worlds give unique and exclusive insights into their lives and the challenges they face. They also have a panel of columnists (including Bear Grylls) who like to challenge the status quo constructively and set the agenda with their insight and opinion.
They hope men/churches/men’s groups would buy copies in quantity and give them away; leave them at work, barbers, doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries, on the bus, and get them into prisons, etc. A bumper box of 40 magazines for distribution costs £60.
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