Learning to Leave

There is a line in a song that says something like“the secret to a long life is knowing when it’s time to go”

Many of us can probably look back to times when we have stayed too long, in an area, a job, a relationship, an aspect of business or even a habitwhen with hindsight we can see that while aspects of it may have been comfortable in essence it was holding us back. But how on earth are we to know when something that might once have been good stops being good and starts to be like an anchor that stops us going forward.


The problem often is that it is all about balance many things are not wholly good or positive or on the other hand wholly negative, the difficulty is knowing when the balance shifts, so the overall impact is negative. Let’s look at the example of a job – it is normal to have some aspects that we like less than others but if we start to dread going to work or feel that almost every aspect of the job is something we begin to dislike then that is usually a prompt for us that we need to change.


Our instincts can be useful in helping us to identify when something is becoming less useful for us. Often, we will have a feeling that something isn’t right or maybe find that things we used to look forward to we don’t anymore or we just have a nagging feeling that we need to change something. Often that feeling is worth listening too and responding to in some way. 


I must confess that I am amazed at the number of people who seem to put up with things that they can acknowledge simply don’t make them happy – in fact the opposite they erode their happiness. People who have hated their jobs for years or stay in unhappy relationships for example often feel stuck,because of their mindset or more specifically their limiting beliefs. People who somehow have the idea that they don’t deserve to be happy or be loved, or that a job is not something they should enjoy. This kind of belief means that we put up with things. Contrast this to a mindset that actively seeks happiness in life because the belief is that you deserve to be happy, successful (however you might define that) and live a life that you love.

Fear of Change

There are also people who stay in situations because of various duties they may have, staying in a job to provide for the family for example and obviously we do all have some responsibilities.But there are also people who find change very daunting and would often prefer to put up with something they don’t like but that is familiar than risk the challenge of something new, and for them the notion of responsibilities could be a get out.


Another reason people tend to just put up with things is because they get into a drift mentality. That can happen very easily in life or business if we don’t have much of a vision. People who achieve are often those who have a clear sense of where they want to go in life and this can translate into specific goals. Part of that is often reviewing progress and regardless of what the goals or ultimate achievement might be simply having the goals or overall vision means it is much less likely that you will settle or drift.

Endings Usher in new Beginnings

There are also people who dread endings they find it hard to let go and move on whether it is relationships, jobs, business decisions or anything else very often something has to end before something new can begin. But if you see endings as altogether negative that can mean you are never prepared to allow the endings at the right time and that means it’s hard to start the new beginnings.

Attitude to Life

People who have an idea that being out of the comfort zone and trying new things can be exciting are much more likely to find it easier to leave situations that they feel have stopped working for them, than people who find new situations a challenge or something to be feared.And of course, we must remember that often leaving is not a choice but something that is forced upon us in some way, a relationship that breaks down, a death or a redundancy or the collapse of a business. Again, there are people that will see this as a something that opens the door to new possibilities even though they may grieve the loss they will have an attitude that looks for new possibilities, opportunities or the chance to change their life in some way.

One thing we can be certain about is that life is a series of changes if we can accept this and understand that sometimes we must respond positively to changes thrust upon us and other times actively create the change we will be the people who are most adaptable and able to keep on enjoying life andliving it to the full.

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