When is it time to quit? In this week’s episode, Anna delves into the topic of quitting your job or your business. She suggests probing questions you can ask yourself in order to sense whether it’s the right decision and the right moment. Tune in to learn more about how to make the best choice for you, your family, and your career.
*Resources mentioned during the episode*
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Time to quit
Hello there, welcome back to another episode of The reimagining success podcast. And as I start speaking, I can already hear at least in my head that my voice sounds a bit banged up. So apologies for that it might not sound different to you. I’ve had a bit of a chesty, cough and cold for the last few weeks, as many of you perhaps have as well. And I can’t wait any longer. Because if I don’t record a podcast now, then you will be without podcasts. We can’t have that after four years of consistently sharing podcast episodes. So I’m going to batch create Batch Records and podcast episodes this morning. So apologies for the next few weeks. I may sound a little bit. But hopefully it’s all fine. It’s all good. I’m feeling fine. It’s just one of those annoyances and so grateful to be feeling pretty much healthy and just hoping to get over these minor niggles in the meantime.
So for today’s episode, as I record this, this is hot off the press, but it will be a few weeks later, when you get it. I actually wanted to pick up on the whole topic of quitting, when is the right time to quit. It’s obviously a topic that I’ve been exploring for years having actually quit my job 10 years ago now, amazingly, so I’m sure there’ll be something there as well, some celebrations I’m extra content for this year. And it’s something of course, I’ve been supporting my clients where they’ve wanted to quit their jobs. And most specifically, now, the reason why this has come up is when Jacinda, Arden declared suddenly that she was going to quit, even though she’d had these incredibly fulfilling years in office. And many of us would agree that she’s done an incredible thing. But without getting into politics. I’ve already had some controversial comments on my post on LinkedIn. But it’s such an achievement, of course, to reach that top job to have that extreme, I would say level of success to be an inspiring leader at the pinnacle of your career. And the question is, what do you do that? And do you keep pushing, neglecting other areas of your life, whatever the cost, and of course, the topic of can women have it all has come up, and that’s a topic for another day. But she said she no longer has enough in the tank to do the job justice. She’s human, she’s given everything she can. And for her it was time. And, you know, I’m always reminded of those sort of universal truths really, that life is short, health is paramount. Our loved ones matter, most of all, and it’s so easy just to go Yeah, life is short. But actually, it’s so profound. And of course, we only really usually realize it when something sad happens, a pandemic and illness, a death.
Worst case scenario, you know, something really serious happens to trigger us to remember what really matters.
I’ve shared many times on the podcast, and I had a resource in the past the seven signs that it’s time to quit. I’ll share those now. But I wanted to give you a few other thoughts starters, in case you are pondering because I know it’s such a different difficult decision. And I’ve had that question so many times, you know, when is the right time to quit? And of course, there is no right time. So sorry to tell you that there is no right answer as well. So it’s a difficult one. For most people, I’d say it’s sort of a slow, murmuring process over the years. And then for whatever reason, things conspire to just kind of Tada, it happens for me, certainly, it wasn’t a big crisis or anything, it was years of feeling I’m not in the right place. And then, you know, for practical reasons, I think personal reasons, professional reasons, that all kind of worked together. Some people do, unfortunately, burn out, face redundancy, and so on. And in a way you might wish for those things because you’re forced into taking action. But But please don’t do that. Because it’s so much more powerful. If you can make the decision on your own terms.
So yes, I know, it’s a bit of a relief when the decision is taken away from you. But oh my goodness, it’s so much better. If you can prepare, think it through, plan your time, get the support you need, and so on. So those seven signs that I mentioned seven signs that it might be time to quit, I’ll put that caveat. First of all, you stop learning and growing. That’s a huge one for a lot of us. Right you plateau, you’re in your comfort zone. Yeah, I know how to do this. Now. I’m not really developing personally, professionally. So that’s a big one, you stop learning and growing. The positives no longer outweigh the negatives, you know, simply speaking often it’s wow, I get incredible benefits. And I get to travel and get wined and dined. And I have the stable salary and the pension and the respect and so on. Perhaps those things are less valuable. After a while we’ve done the travel, we’ve done the luxury hotels and the fancy restaurants and so on. Maybe we’re a bit tired and want to spend time with our family, or doing our own things that we’re interested in. The stress is getting worse and worse and that sort of weighing heavily in the other direction and so on. So the negatives start to outweigh the positives. Another one which is interesting is when everything is fine, that’s the third sign so when everything is fine, you know, it’s not terrible.
I think that’s what it was like for me. It’s not awful. It’s not a crisis, but it’s, you know, there’s nothing really exciting and to be honest, there is a moment there is a time for that Turn our lives right when we can just enjoy that kind of plateau, you know, enjoy other areas of our life in the meantime and just coasted a little bit. It’s not a bad thing. However, if we’re ambitious if we want to keep growing, challenging ourselves doing exciting things, and maybe that’s not where we want to be long term. For Steiners, you live for the weekends, that classic TGIF and then oh, no, it’s Monday, scary was a call Sunday scaries, Monday blues, it’s so accepted in our society that we hate the week, and we just count the hours until the end of the day, count the weeks, their days, until the end of the week, count the weeks until next holiday, you’re getting dangerously close to burnout. This is such a tricky one. Because often we won’t know we won’t really face the reality until we actually do burnout. But if you’re if you are, if you do have the self awareness, and that’s really important. Six nine is your values are misaligned with your employer’s, that’s a really tough one. But you may find that actually the products you’re creating, or, or it might be your immediate team and boss, it might be the way they’ve handled, redundancies and so on, you know, just don’t sit well with you. And then finally, of course, if you do have a burning desire to do something else, that can really pull you in another direction.
I’ve talked as well about the push pull reason. So the push reasons are the negatives that are kind of pushing you out from where you are. And the pool are the things that are pulling you towards something, a lot of us will have the realization that we don’t want to do this anymore. But we’re not yet sure what that new pool is. So that’s that’s where it gets tricky, but also where it gets exciting. So those are the seven signs, but I wanted to give you actually really a list of questions to think about. And, of course, I’m afraid because this is a one way broadcast to you. I can’t, you know, probe deeper and help you as a sounding board. If you do want to have a call, of course, we can talk about that you can book a call it one step outside.com, forward slash call.
But I wanted to give you these questions, pause. Think about them, write them down. And I’ll give you as much indication as I can of how to reflect on these. Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. It’s just maybe different considerations that you haven’t thought of before. So the first one is, you know, do you actually know why you want to quit? It seems obvious. But I think it’s really important to reflect on the reasons again, think of the push reasons, maybe some of those signs I just mentioned, think of the pool reasons that are pulling you towards something. Is it a bad boss as an individual in the team? Is it a particular situation? Is it a project? You know, is it a is it a phase? Which leads me to the second question, have you thought about this for a while, right, because sometimes we just have a bad day, a bad week. And actually, when things settle a bit, or when the team is re juggled, it’s going to be better. And it’s just that everything gets frustrating sometimes, right? And that’s okay. But if it’s been there for a long time, weeks, months, years, you know, it’s probably worth paying attention to that, that thought that you’re having. What are the alternatives to quitting? Sometimes we think very black and white as either we quit entirely cold turkey, oh, my gosh, you know, was gonna swear I’m not gonna swear. Tell your boss and where to go today. And that’s it. And of course, that puts you suddenly in a position where you don’t have a salary, you don’t know what you want to do. And that’s quite scary. All you have to stay in this job where you’re not happy. Oh, by the way, it could also be your business. Right? So I’m speaking to people now who are considering quitting their own business, which raises similar but also some some different challenges as well. So what are the alternatives to quitting? can you improve your work life balance? Can you know try to set some better boundaries? Can you start a new hobby or something?
You know, can you make time for the things that are important to you?
Can you start saying no to the other things that are getting in the way? What can you do to reject the parameters within your existing situation? Because there may be some creative solutions that at least can extend you know your your situation, for longer at least. But that’s really important. Think about the alternatives to quitting. Have you tried everything else already? Right? Again? Have you spoken to your boss about the situation? Have you tried to say no set boundaries, work less in the evenings? Prioritize the things that really matter to you know, what have you done? Asked for working from home more often? Whatever it is, that would help you. If you’re feeling isolated? If you’re working your own business? Have you tried to, you know, create a team around you? Or go to co working spaces find that sense of belonging and connectedness in another way? Have you tried everything else already? And if not, is there anything else you could try? That would, you know, spark your interest again in the current job or business or create that thing that you’re missing? Or help you with the balance whatever it is?
Speaking of balance, and so on, do you feel you have the mental capacity to make this decision right now and that sounds like a big question.
But if you’re not sleeping, if you’re stressed if there’s a big, you know, project or some difficulty at work, maybe right now or in Back to a, you know, a personal issue at home, maybe now is not the moment when you need to be making big decisions. So again, can you do something to take care of yourself mentally physically, rest even take some time off? You know? Could it be just a holiday? If possible, a sabbatical? That’s what I did. I had three months off, I didn’t have to quit right away, can you prioritize taking care of yourself and the situation at hand, rather than have to make any kind of drastic decision right now, obviously, again, if this has been going on for months, or even years, then you probably don’t want to wait. And there comes a point when the pain of staying is greater than the fear and so on of leaving, do you know what you want to do instead? Again, often, we start by realizing this is not what we want to do, but we’re not yet sure what we want to do instead. And it you know, I hold my hands up here, because I quit without really knowing I knew some things I knew I wanted to travel more I knew I wanted to write more, have more sort of freedom, creatively workwise, and so on, I certainly didn’t have the specific goal to start the business that I’m in now, I had no idea that that was possible or, or that that would be a good fit, and so on. Right. So I think you need a kind of North Star of of the parameters of the criteria or after for the next thing, you don’t have to have the exact business plan, or job description, and so on.
But you certainly need Okay, I need more of this. less of that, here’s my plan in terms of you know, I’m going to do this course, or take this time off, and so on, because the last thing you want to do is quit and then suddenly have this blank slate and feel completely overwhelmed. And that sounds exciting to be able to do anything you want. But sometimes you have too much choice, you end up not doing anything. Speaking of which, if you don’t know what you want to do, Are you financially secure enough to quit without knowing what the next step is? So people will often say Enough of six months, one way, I’d say ideally a year. And of course, we don’t want to spend that money. So it’s not to say that you want to be happily spending all your savings, but it’s knowing that you don’t have the pressure to earn a salary that’s going to take care of your 11 children, dogs and massive house and mortgage and whatever tomorrow, right? It allows you the freedom to explore a little bit. And, you know, again, there are there’s a spectrum of options. Perhaps you could take a part time job, or you could do something that kind of brings in that stable salary while you explore your your true passion as it were.
So far better to have some kind of income in the meantime, right? But really thinking about you know, do you have the finances supportive partner, your own savings, ideally, some kind of income stream that would allow you to quit and have that break to reflect on what you want to do? Sort of flipping on its head as well. Do you know what’s keeping you where you are? So Is it fear of the unknown? Is it a sense of obligation to your team? You know, you haven’t been there that long, or you have been there for a really long time? Is it because this is what you always wanted to do? And people tell you, you’re so privileged and lucky to have this incredible job? What is it that’s keeping you where you are, because it’s really important to understand that side of it as well, it might seem like there are so many reasons why you should quit and you should do this other thing.
But I’m sure since it’s a difficult decision for you. There are good reasons why you’re staying there. It’s your comfort zone, it’s you know, where you’ve built relationships that the company has looked after you or not your colleagues, your you know, you’re passionate about the mission, whatever it is, so really be conscious of and recognize that there are valid reasons why you’re staying there. And then of course, are those reasons strong enough to stay? Are they the right reasons as it were? And or can you create those things elsewhere? Can you bring that sense of purpose? Can you nurture those relationships, you know, in another place? And then finally, and you know, this is by no means an exhaustive list, but as you close your eyes and imagine that you’re still here in this job in this business in this exact same situation, one year from now, let’s say, How do you feel?
And that’s a tricky one. Again, I recommend that you know, you pause this you go back, you grab a pen and paper, you journal, you you reflect you go for a walk, whatever it is, but this one is really feeling because to end the episode, and I hope it’s been helpful. I know it’s just sort of a list of questions, but it’s often asking the right questions, that is the most powerful thing. There is no right decision. In fact, any decision either way will be a relief because as I was discussing with someone the other day, actually it’s the uncertainty that kills you. It’s the umming and ahhing and stressing about what should I do this should I do that and not really being fully present and either decision making some kind of decision human nature is such that we make that decision, the right decision, which is incredible. It’s very powerful. You know, the fact that we can do that is why we’re so adaptable. On so on. But once you’ve made the decision, you will make that work for you. So that’s the good news. And the final thing I want to say is that ultimately, it really is a gut decision. Intuitive intuition actually, is something that is not so magical as as it sounds, you know, it really is sort of the subconscious, taking all the information that we know.
So taking a lot of the rational things, but picking up on things that perhaps we’re not able to do with our conscious minds, it’s a really powerful tool that unfortunately, we’re not so good at listening to. But we do so much analysis, pros and cons, we ask everybody for their advice, we can never have complete information, as they say, in economics, you know, we’ll never know, every single scenario, future parallel universes and so on. So of course, we can and should do the due diligence and thinking through the the upside, the downside, advantages, disadvantages, different options, and so on. But ultimately, it needs to be your decision, you can’t let other people decide or you you don’t want to really, and again, there is no right decision. But the best decisions, I found, in my experience have been the intuitive ones and you know, thinking of my own decision to quit my job, but it’s one of many decisions to quit, honestly. But it’s the the obvious one. I absolutely made that intuitively.
Because of course, there were people who said, Oh, yeah, sounds amazing. But most people said, Oh, my goodness, that sounds really scary. That doesn’t make sense. Why are you doing that? Obviously, parents family who care for you might think that that’s an odd thing to do. There’s also by the way, and coming back to the question of what’s keeping you somewhere, it’s sort of the sunk while the sunk cost, but what is it you know, the really the, the fact that you’ve put so much sweat and tears and into this particular role, and you’ve given your life to this company, this business and so on, that it’s really hard to turn your back on that. But what does that mean, you have to stay there forever. Because I know, I’d say that flippantly. But all the better to stop now, right?
If you’ve already put all that work in, don’t put more work into that. And it doesn’t matter how fast you’re going, if you’re heading in the wrong direction.
I believe Stephen Covey said, so, you know, you’re young. And I say that to you, whatever age you are. Because if you’re listening to this, I think you have many years ahead of you to make a different decision. And it’s what’s important now is what you do today. And moving forwards, doesn’t really matter what we’ve done in the past, you get to make a different choice today. So I share the seven signs that you might be ready to quit, but also a few prompts there for you to reflect. And again, if you do want to chat about this one step outside.com, forward slash call, and we can see what it could look like to support you with a decision like this, whether you’re thinking of, you know, selling your business, or perhaps quitting your job, changing your business, whatever that quitting decision is, again, it was prompted by Jacinda Arden but obviously, it’s something that’s that’s I’ve certainly been reflecting on for a long time. And even in an in a business now. You know, it’s, it’s and that’s a topic for another episode, but it’s always a decision. Do I keep pushing on this particular business strategy? You know, is this program worth continuing with? Am I still passionate about it? Maybe it’s really successful, but it’s not what I want to do in the future. On the other hand, there’s this app aspect of grit and persistence and resilience.
And so once you know that it’s a complicated, nuanced area. And there are no right answers is the only thing I’d again reiterate. So I hope that was useful. But of a rambling episode with a few thoughts starters, there a few questions, I’d love to hear what your own experience of quitting has been, of course, we can have you on the podcast if you want to share your story. But certainly, I’d love to hear the the parts of what I’ve shared, say that resonate, and maybe some of those questions that are really powerful for you or anything else that I haven’t mentioned. So you can contact me on any social channel where you’re following me, and I’d love to hear your insights because, you know, I continue in my research and understanding of this topic, so I’d really appreciate your help there as well. So knowing when to quit looking forward to your thoughts, and I’ll see you back here next week. Bye for now
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If you’re looking for one-to-one support to help you achieve your specific life and business goals, Anna has a limited number of spots for individual coaching and mentoring.