GUEST POST from Rashmir written a few days before Boris’ bye-bye. My good friend, Rashmir, has brilliant insights about many things and I believe she shows a deep understanding of our human condition, thus I am grateful she has given me the opportunity to share her recent newsletter with all of you. The boldface type is my own doing. Her life story is fascinating from what she describes as “this little brown girl from South Africa” who has evolved into who she has become. She is doing such good work from her current outpost and is in touch with many of us globally. If you want to learn more from Rashmir, you can find her here: rashmir.net
By the time you read this, I expect Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister will have resigned. However, I may be wrong. Despite calls from all political parties for the Prime Minister to resign, he refuses to step down and is determinedly holding on. In the last 24 hours a record number of his cabinet and Conservative MPs have resigned, worried about the impact on their reputations of ethical scandal after ethical scandal. More resign with each passing hour, and yet…
I won’t bore you with the details, nor the politics. Needless to say, the more interesting and generalisable question for us all is when and how to leave, and what gets in the way of our leaving even though we know we should?
There is of course no one answer to these questions. Whether it’s a job or a relationship or something else, we usually know on some level that it is time. Certainly in every job and relationship I have left, I have known on some level that it was time long before I was ready to leave. A disconnect between head and heart perhaps. Or, as was often true for me, a lack of clarity about what was next.
A wise woman in one of my last jobs who I was reflecting with one day said to me: “you’ll know when you are done”. And she was right, I did. The problem was, I was “done” long before I was ready to leave. And for that particular job, I did not want to leave with the sense of frustration that I was feeling. I was lucky enough to be able to switch teams and have time to shift gears internally. And then one day, I knew. I was ready. I was clear that I would happier, more creative and more effective outside of the organisation and felt free to leave with a sense of joy and pride in what I had accomplished.
How about you? What has prompted you to leave? What has stopped you from leaving? And how much time lapsed between your knowing and your action? In other words, what are your patterns around leaving.
There are many reasons to leave. We’re done. We’ve achieved what we set out to accomplish. We are no longer learning or growing. We are not having the impact we thought we’d have. It is no longer purposeful for us. We’re not the right person for the role. We are not the right person to take the work/project/organisation to the next level. Our position is untenable for any number of reasons – funding, political capital, ethics etc. It is not healthy for us to stay in the role. We are not happy or fulfilled. Something else is calling to us. The list goes on.
Knowing who we are, knowing what truly matters to us and what’s important for the thing we are working on, and knowing our true purpose can help us get clearer more quickly on why it is time for us to leave. Then it’s a matter of deciding on the when and how, and creating the pathway to a graceful exit. Even if we are forced out for some reason or another, there are still ways to leave gracefully without burning bridges. It is not easy, but it is possible. (If you’re grappling with a decision to leave your work, this article in the Guardian has lots of good questions to reflect on.)
In the UK, it’s time for our Prime Minister to concede defeat. When so many of his government say his staying is no longer in the interests of the country, it’s clear he is not prioritising what matters. So many things can get in the way of our leaving. Pride, arrogance, fear, shame, disgust, insecurity, stubbornness, unwillingness to read the writing on the wall, a belief that you can find a way forward no matter what, worry about what others will think, golden handcuffs (i.e. lucrative pay or benefits packages, the lifestyle/privileges of certain roles/sectors/organisations), or simply a lack of clarity about our best next steps. Perhaps the Prime Minister would benefit from some coaching on this! The Positive Intelligence program in particular might help him identify and tame some of his inner Saboteurs. If it is time to learn about yours, you might want to take the free Saboteur Assessment.
p.s. If you’re interested in joining a Positive intelligence learning pod this summer, ask me about the 50% discount I’m offering everyone on my email list who signs up for a pod this summer (i.e.before the end of August), and a further discount on top of that for those in the social impact and nonprofit sectors whether or not they are on my email list. This is a life changing program and I’d love to see more leaders of social change benefit from the work.