KNOWING WHEN TO MOVE ON
Jessica said if things don’t change she was going to end the relationship. Tracy decided if he didn’t get the promotion he was leaving the company. Do you have family and friends with these commonalities? Everyday someone somewhere is looking for the exit. In most instances there is a desire for something different. But change doesn’t happen on its own. It has to be pursued.
Fast forward a few months or years later. Sometimes Jessica and Tracy are in the exact same position. What’s even more frustrating is when their peers live the lives they envisioned for themselves. Often times we see people in these situations and say, “Why are they singing the same tune?” or “If that were me I would have left already….” But guess what? They are thinking and saying the same thing. These people aren’t clueless, they are just convinced.
They built a house in a place they should have pitched a tent. When the warning signs flashed they continued to set up roots, instead of preparing for a move.
How does this happen? They are aware of what’s going on. So what’s the issue? I’m glad you asked. Here are four reasons:
Contentment: Comfort is more pleasing than progress
· The familiar is better than the unknown
· The job you hate is better than the one you haven’t started
· I know what I’m getting with this situation
Investment: Time and effort create connection
· I spent X amount of years here, I can’t just up and leave
· We’ve been through so much
· I don’t want someone else to benefit from what I did
Treatment: Affirmation is addictive
· They love me here
· I’m the top _________
· Better to stay where you are appreciated than go where no one knows you
Development: Change seems like more of a risk than reward
· Who wants to learn a new job
· I don’t want to start over again
· What if I leave and realize I made a mistake
These beliefs are the foundation that creates the mindset of least resistance. Every time you gravitate towards progress the mind flashes these theories as warning signals. Once you realign your thoughts to the mindset a weight is lifted. The nervousness of pursuing the unfamiliar is put to rest. As a result, we start to build out the environment to cater to our most immediate feelings.
She decides to stay in the relationship. But to do so she creates this “I’m going to do me” attitude and decides to only worry her wants and needs. The problem is she’s still in a bad situation. Her initial desire to be in a relationship was for companionship and partnership. In order to stay where she is, Jessica had to become selfish and less giving. Now she settles in lack instead of looking for love. She lowered her standards and efforts to make the situation more acceptable.
Tracy decides since they aren’t paying him more, he will just slack off at work. A new job could be hard, so he finds comfort in knowing what to expect at his job. The issue with Tracy’s stance is that he isn’t helping his current employer by cutting back his efforts. And how can he become more competitive candidate for any job if he isn’t sharpening his skills? Doing less to prove a point doesn’t find a new job, or get promoted at his current place of employment.
We’ve all taken this approach at one time or another; setting up roots instead of preparing for move. As humans we tend to alter logic to our benefit. Our perception is reality. We love to stare a problem in the face and label it as temporary or unsatisfactory. Somehow being “honest” and lowering our expectations is the ultimate coping mechanism. When we accept the cards life has dealt us, our engagement towards a solution changes as well. We make friends with passivity and enemies with progress. We get stuck in the starting blocks and never make it to the finish line.
So how do you prevent getting stuck? What steps do I take to determine if it is time to move on? I’m glad you asked!
When making a life changing decision it is always good to consider the following:
Write it down — Tell the truth and the whole truth. Read it aloud. Get a grasp for how the situation actually makes you feel. Imagine if you were hearing this about someone else. What opinion would you give them? Usually our thoughts for others take courage to pursue ourselves.
Wise counsel — Find people you respect and admire to read what you wrote. Seeing the problem on paper eliminates the possibility of misreading your body language, vocal tone, or current emotions. Let them assess the problem and help to uncover solutions. The biggest benefit to wise counsel is collaboration and accountability. They can don’t push you to greatness they walk with you.
Survey the alternatives — You have to know your options. Observe different scenarios and the impact on your environment if things changed. This can also serve as a barometer for what you’re going through. It can tell you how far off or close you are to experiencing what you desire.
Set a deadline — Don’t allow yourself to arbitrarily make decisions. Be intentional about being conclusive. Even if the deadline needs to be adjusted, dates are important. It’s a good way to track how serious you are about making choices for the better.
It’s important to go through these exercises. Even if you decide to stay put, assessing your situation helps with perspective. A new outlook can change your approach to what you are experiencing. That is why your decision has to be clear and concrete. If it’s really time to move on, the fear of leaving or the comfort of staying is never worth the lack of satisfaction. The plan for your life is to thrive and be productive. Get in the driver’s seat and steer the path of desired outcomes.
Remember: Leaders Execute