When to make the leap and how to prepare for it
You know deep down that you want to make a change but you can't quite make the final call to leave your job to head down your new path.
Are you really doing this?
Why not just stay a little bit longer and ...
Make a bit more money
Take one last vacation
Wait for that next raise or promotion
Work on that next project to gain those new skills
Get that position transfer to one that's more interesting ...
But here's the thing: Your brain will NEVER have trouble coming up with reasons to convince you to stay.
So how do you make this decision when there are very compelling reasons to stay but a part of you really doesn't want to? And if you do think it's time to leave, how do you prepare yourself to actually go through with it?
Whichever way you're leaning, ask yourself:
Is my decision based on a desire to avoid shame/failure/discomfort/embarrassment?
If the answer is YES, you know it's not truly the right choice. We never want the avoidance of negative emotions to motivate and guide our lives (read more about that here!)
If the answer is NO, ask this question: if I were guaranteed to be successful in the choice I want to make, would I still do it? The answer to this question will give you further clues.
There are so many underlying thoughts and fears to unpack in this bit life decision, but I've put together a few bottom lines to help you make the decision.
You're nearing burnout
If your well-being is being significantly impacted, take a leave of absence to buy you the time and clarity to figure out what changes to make or how to make your exit. Sacrificing your health to be at a job you don't like or working in a job that's detrimental to your health is never worth it.
Here's why: if you continue to work despite declining physical and/or mental health, you will eventually get to the point where you'll be unable to better your situation because you'll be on disability OR mentally incapable of coping with the process of making a change.
You've lost your spark
This often happens in conjunction with burn out (loosing interest in activities you previously enjoyed is a hallmark symptom of depression). But for some people, the first sign that you're on the track to burn out or situational depression is losing your sense of adventure or excitement for trying new things, going out places, meeting with friends or anything that might involve going out of your comfort zone and sadly also having fun. If you want to have a better understanding of just why exactly you're feeling miserable, check out the reasons listed in this post.
You're in a toxic work environment
A psychologically unsafe workplace is one in which you feel you can't voice your opinion or thoughts without fear of retribution, you're being bullied or are the victim of abuse or aggression (read more about psychological health and safety at work here). But sometimes there are issues like petty gossip or jealousy or manipulative co-workers that make it feel impossible to do your job without mental stress. This stress will continue to wear you down and if you know that nothing can be done (and you've tried going to HR), get out.
You could leave without worrying about paying the bills
Wanting to make sure you won't end up homeless is one of the most powerful things keeping us from making a change that would make us happier but that also carries financial risk. But the best way to ensure regret and to live a life unfulfilled is to make decisions based on fear alone. We think money is a good reason to stay miserable but it's not. Read more about how to make conscious-based, rather than fear-based decisions here.
Your soul has spoken!
If you have a fire burning inside of you that's telling you to go for your dream and make it happen no matter what, what are you doing still reading this? Making the leap is scary - read more about how to push past it here. But ultimately if If you believe in your soul 100% that there's something else out there for you, then you know what you need to do.
Preparing for the Leap
If you've made the decision but you're still hesitating, here are a few steps to take to make going for it a little less scary:
1. Create a savings plan OR decide you’re ok with the financial situation you’re in
I have seen so many people wait to make a change or decide not to and live an unfulfilled (but financially comfortable) life. If you want more for yourself, don't let money keep you stuck. If you're stuck thinking, "just one more paycheque," or find yourself spending hours on budget projections, keep in mind that even millionaires get stingy with money and can often feel like they never have enough.
Feeling like you don't have enough is a FEELING. It's not fact (you get to decide what "enough" means to you). Will you truly feel differently/more prepared to make the leap with a few extra $$ in your bank account? You might be able to see that it will make things, practically speaking, easier, but money never brings mental security, your attitude does. And the good news is, your attitude is something you DO have control over.
2. Decide to do it
At a certain point, you will need to just make the decision and do it - no more preparation.
Yes you can always prepare more, but then you’re always doing more preparing. I would argue that there is no right or wrong time to make the shift to something new. If you are coming from a conscious-based place with an abundance mindset free of judgment then no matter what happens, you’ll be fine. Life happens. Life is a journey. You’ll have experiences along the way. Nothing is perfect. What do you want for your life? Go get it.
3. List the pros and cons
Here's a process I like to use with my clients:
List the cost of staying and the benefits of staying
List the cost of leaving and the benefits of leaving
Usually the benefits of staying and the cost of leaving are where your fears are hiding. You can explore these more yourself (or with a coach) or you can try to focus on the cost of staying and the benefits of leaving to help balance out your fears. Keep in mind that your brain, without this process or a similar one, will disproportionately focus on anything that feels risky.
4. Have a basic idea of your next steps
You don’t have to have the big picture end goal figured out. Most people think they do and that they can’t leave unless they know exactly what they’re headed towards. But if you wait for your plan to be perfect and completely risk-proof, you'll never leave.
Choose something to work towards (for ideas, try the Get Unstuck worksheet here or the Get Inspired Now worksheet here) without the pressure of making money right away. Expecting a new idea or passion project to start making you money too soon is the best way to kill a project in its seedling stage - it's like over-watering it and demanding that it grow before it’s ready.
You don't need to know exactly what's at the top of the staircase, you just need to pick a staircase and climb it step by step. Maybe you'll hit a landing after a few steps and go down a new hallway, maybe you'll climb it to the top, maybe you'll find a secret doorway. You can't predict the future.
5. Set a deadline
This will create some relief knowing you will be leaving. And In the meantime, start exploring. Just make sure you’re not feeling too much pressure to come up with a “viable” alternative before your deadline. As much as you want to have something else completely reliable that you feel confident about all figured out, it’s not realistic. With all that pressure, in addition to the negative energy from your current situation, your perspective, creativity and ability to stay in touch with your true desires will be severely limited.
A little hand holding can help
If you don't want to do this alone and are looking for support in navigating this transition, that's what I'm here for. You can read more about the 4 step process I'll lead you through here and then book a free consult to find out if it's the right thing for you.
I can't wait to walk you through this exciting transition to the rest of your life!