Make The World Go Away

My mom loved that song. She struggled her whole life to “make the world go away.”  She was thoughtful, deep, caring, and mixed up.  She wanted to stop the voices in her head because they wouldn’t allow her to find peace.

Make the world go away.  Take it off of my shoulders.

I didn’t really understand then, but that song has been rolling around in my head lately. Make the world go away – the virus, the woke-ness, the politics, the anger that’s boiling up at those who don’t take this precious life seriously.

Should I continue to think things can change, or should I simply roll up in my beautiful, warm cocoon of beach life, and just chill?

That’s where I am right now.  Unsettled, uncertain. Wanting to make a difference but feeling the tension of everything mounting.  It should be easy to unplug but it isn’t.

Back in February 2017, I started a Facebook page called “Common Ground” and took the risk of inviting people with wildly different perspectives on “the world.”  Back then, I was trying my darndest to support the office of the President of the United States but losing ground daily.  The page is still there but I lost interest when it appeared that it was becoming a place to post articles to refute the last article that was posted – a game of one-ups-man-ship.

It is 2020 – the year the world turned upside down

Comments today are more vitriolic, angrier, and more positioned than they were in 2017 when I first started looking for common ground.  But I still believe in my heart that there really is common ground.

So I joined the first international dialogue on racism at Salon360, a revolutionary concept dear to my heart – dialogue aimed at finding common ground.  The first virtual meeting was, to be expected, a feeling-out period. Many of us were recently “woke” so we were eager to share our insights.  It was polite.  Perhaps too polite but it was the first time.  It was cathartic to be able to talk about what had been rolling around in my head.

Commentary after the session was lively.  How do we get more people of color?  How do we dig deeper?

Then came this post.  There goes Kumbaya.  And don’t get me wrong, I think the post was eloquent and metaphorically showed just how complicated this topic really is.

There is no easy answer

Mark’s post “It’s About Reconciliation” (below) is profound in that it offers disparate views within one post, finishing with videos of black people denouncing Black Lives Matter.

It’s About Reconciliation

A few months ago, I took a stand publicly on BizCatalyst360 to support Black Lives Matter.  One of the comments on my post blew me away by calling Black Lives Matter a terrorist group. I was shocked, hurt, and slightly embarrassed.

Did I just publicly support a terrorist group?  What will people think of me?

Perhaps I should delete the post.  My mind was thinking, “Oh, I hope Dennis doesn’t put this out there too far on LinkedIn as maybe some of my family or close friends will see it and judge me.” The next day I decided to simply say, “Thanks for your comment,” to the poster.

Now Mark’s post says the same thing.  Black Lives Matter is a “group” – I thought it was a philosophy that I was supporting.

We’re entering a new world

I feel quite schizophrenic right now.  I want to run and hide in my safe, beach cocoon – just live my life. Yet, I can’t make the world go away.  There is still a little piece of me that believes that we can make the world a better place and I want to be part of that.

But as we enter this new world of open and candid dialogue, I think it will be important to remember that each of us comes by our beliefs honestly and by challenging those beliefs, we may want to provoke thought but we may provoke a little pain along the way.

I think I have a pretty thick skin, but I know others who don’t.  I also know others who are comfortable where they are and have no intention to change.

Ask questions

Perhaps a good way to begin is to ask questions rather than state opinions.  The phrase, “Help me understand where you are coming from,” is a powerful indicator that you’re not there to judge, but to understand.

Being judged is hurtful.  I don’t think that will get us where we need to be.

President Obama expressed comments that were interpreted as a critique on the woke culture, stating

This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff — you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

We are in this world – it is all we have.  Let’s rejoice in it, rather than dread it.  I know there is common ground – we just need to seek it out carefully.


Carol Anderson
Carol Anderson
CAROL is the founder and Principal of Anderson Performance Partners, LLC, a business consultancy focused on bringing together organizational leaders to unite all aspects of the business – CEO, CFO, HR – to build, implement and evaluate a workforce alignment strategy. With over 35 years of executive leadership, she brings a unique lens and proven methodologies to help CEOs demand performance from HR and to develop the capability of HR to deliver business results by aligning the workforce to the strategy. She is the author of Leading an HR Transformation, published by the Society for Human Resource Management in 2018, which provides a practical RoadMap for human resource professionals to lead the process of aligning the workforce to the business strategy, and deliver results, and writes regularly for several business publications.

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  1. Hi again, Carol.

    During this derecho, everything is being blown around and it’s tempting to grab the nearest apparent salvation. Some of us grab a program (like a political dogma) for solace, yet I think we can all nourish skepticism and forgiveness at the same time to heal. We’re all grieving now, and I learned a few years ago that trying to push through grief can create as short-circuit in healing.

    Would you record a back2different podcast with me, please? Here’s the link of you want to see what’s happening:

    Be well and keep your focus small enough to live in gratitude.

  2. Hi Carol,

    I was one of the optimists in your group. Now, thinking more about it, only for my ability to help people be the best they can be. For the country, no. The fight which many do not see is big government vs. limited. The country was founded on the latter. I know some lovely people told me it was for more nefarious reasons. Whatever. The bottom line is I will vote and that is all can do. I too see some articles which claim kumbaya and enlightenment. I consider myself quite tolerant but not when I see things as fraudulent. Perhaps, I join the crowd of the so-called tolerant intolerant when I cannot tolerate a lack of authenticity. I guess I said more than I thought I would. Thank you again.

    • Hi Darlene. To your point about how the country was founded, read Ron Chernow’s book Hamilton. During Washington’s presidency the partisan fight was born, and continues to this day. I’m finding this period of time enlightening and somewhat alarming. But I do believe that history is there for a very good reason. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Hi Carol,
    Thank you for this share. Always good to share thoughts, especially in doubt and even if you don’t share common ground. It really is from where you are coming, I always look if it is coming from a good heart, with no intention to hurt.
    And yes, all there with you, it’s not an easy topic. But a topic we should keep bringing to the table.
    We all have our own truths, perceptions, perspectives on life and that is a good thing.
    Respecting that, brings more space for more open talks.

    Here is a beautiful thought to share with you. A friend shared it with me.
    “Share your perspective with others and try to make each others truth a common truth, seen from different perspectives! Then we surely can make things happen!”

    Thank you!

  4. Thanks so much, Carol.
    Remember Sting’s lyric, “I hope the Russians love their children too.”
    No matter how far apart we seem, we all have much, much more in common than different. As a country, we have fallen into a habit of focusing on wounds rather than healing, confusing attacking with strength. I blame no one, not the media, not the administration, not politicians, not big pharma, not Black Lives Matter nor QAnon. Each of these is a symptom. The pathogen is choosing reactivity over spirit.
    Everyone has a piece to reconstruct here. A friend of mine said, “There are two corporations in our head. One manufactures BS, the other buys it.” Don’t buy. Right?
    Thanks, again, Carol for your candor and courage, questions over answers.

    • Hi Mac – thanks for your comment. Those entities you name all have their own sense of what’s right and it’s all just plain complicated. I think we are stuck in reaction mode, as you said. But….there are a few of those entities I’m not very happy with 🙂

  5. Carol — I had sworn off BC360 for this week of vacation. I needed a mental break, but when I saw your name pop up, I knew I had to read your article. You often express the same turmoil that I feel, and I love that you remain an optimist trying to find “common ground.”

    Please don’t let those who would characterize BLM as a “group” or as a “terrorist organization” wear you down. We are “led” today by someone who wants to characterize everything and everybody with a bite-sized label. Labels are easy for lazy thinkers to understand. Label anything e.g, “radical” or “nasty” and it’s easy to denounce. Life is more complicated than that. I’m sure there are some “radicals” in BLM and on the left, but there are also some very mainstream individuals who are simply fed-up with the way things are. Labeling simply tries to put an end to the discussion. It’s like the ridiculous comment I heard after the murder of George Floyd. “Well, you know he was a convicted felon.” Wha? So he deserved to die???

    As you point out. “It doesn’t get us where we need to be.”

    I will occasionally slide into pessimism, but I’ll always stand with you in an attempt to find common ground.

    Thank you. And now I’m pulling the covers back over my head and returning to my regularly scheduled vacation.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jeff. I was very unsure about putting myself out there like that. I am thankful for Dennis’ platform that allows the conversation to happen. Enjoy your vacation!