Leaders exit proactively. They know when and how to leave a situation, role, relationship, or job. Exiting can be painful, unexpected, frustrating and dramatic. Here’s five more strategies for exiting (and a bonus).
6. Trust you Intuition – Intuition is your unconscious pattern recognition device. It finds connections between a new situation and past experiences. Even then it may be hard to express what your intuition is saying in an analytical and logical way. Learn to listen to your intuition and be curious about it, even if there is no seemingly apparent logic there. Is your gut screaming at you to leave?
7. Make an Exit Game – How many days and ways? What can you count and measure about numbers relevant to exiting? How many ways can you make it a healthy exit (acknowledgements, thank you, clean ups, transitions) How many lessons can you learn before exiting? What’s the name of your exit game and how do you play it?
8. Separate Feelings from Actions – Exiting can be emotional, difficult, uncomfortable, and not like anything else you have done. There may be strong feelings of loss, longing, relief, or joy. Plan for these feelings, know that they will arise. Notice them and know how you want to respond to them. Simply notice the feeling and say, there goes my brain releasing chemicals and producing a sensation of _ _ _ _ (whatever your feelings are). I know what I want to do and will continue to exit. What action or behaviors might stop you from exiting? How can you plan alternative behaviors or actions when those feeling arise?
9. Be compassionate with yourself and know your exit style – Exiting is natural. We all have at least one grand exit in life, death. Know that changing and exiting is part of life, whether it’s the small things like a job or house or friendship or your final exit. Accept that there will be many exits in your life and that it is natural. As each human being and culture is different so is our preferred exit style. Do you want to go out in a grand exit like Tom Cruise in “Show me the Money”? Or quietly like Carl Sandburg’s fog that comes “on little cat feet”? What’s your personal exit style – grand, quiet, harmonious, learning-focused, fun?
10. Focus on Entering – What’s next? Where are you going after you exit? By exiting this job, situation, place, or relationship what is now possible? What new doors might open up that are more fulfilling, interesting or better-aligned to you? By focusing on the possibility of what’s next and making it as tangible and real as possible, it can provide that extra push or energy to exit. Where are you entering next?
Bonus Strategy: Run. If all else fails, just go!
Did I miss any exiting strategies? Have you used any of them?