I start a new job in one week, and I am beyond excited for the change – a new position and title, a new industry and coworkers, a new office and building, a new commute and state.
In anticipation of this big change, I treated myself to dozens of new business suits, and my first-day-of-work outfit is picked out. Before this week is over I’ll have slightly altered my appearance by getting what I’m calling a “fresh start haircut.” And my car was serviced yesterday, so it’s prepared for the new chapter too.
To say I’m ready would be an understatement. But to say this change came easy would be a lie. It took time, a long time, to recognize the signs that I was ready for my “what’s next?” In the midst of this excitement and frenzy, I am aware that none of this would be happening had I not let go of one chapter to embrace the next.
It’s hard to let go of what we know, especially if what we know is working just fine. I’ve worked with the same company since college, but I’ve been promoted twice in four years and had new challenges on the horizon. On the day I interviewed for my job as an eager, new college grad, my future boss asked me, “So how do I know you will stick around for a while and won’t leave the company in six months?”
My response was quick and genuine: “I’ll stick around as long as I’m being challenged.”
And I was challenged, so I stuck around. But now I’ve come to learn that being challenged is just one piece of the puzzle. One of my favorite quotes by William Arthur Ward says it all:
“The adventure of life is to learn. The purpose of life is to grow. The nature of life is to change…”
Taking Ward’s advice, I’ve learned living successfully comes down to learning, growing and changing.
Here’s how to know it’s time to “let go” to make room for something new…
Learn: Do you wake up every day anticipating the adventure ahead? I was still being challenged at my job, but the desire to learn something brand new made a new job sound appealing.
Grow: Do you find that you aren’t as passionate as you used to be? When we begin something we’re excited about, we usually can’t get enough of it. We eat, breath and sleep it. One day you might lose interest and stop thinking about it all together.
Change: Have you ever thought “I could do this with my eyes closed” – it’s become that much of a routine? Unless you’re in dance class practicing for a recital, routines are boring and unhealthy. By nature, we are beasts of change hungry for what else is out there.
There are other factors of needing to let go, like wanting to spend more time with loved ones, or having more peace of mind or more money in your pocket. If these thoughts cross your mind, listen.
Don’t get caught up in the following…
Don’t make yourself feel bad about letting go because there is some sentimental attachment. Just because you loved your job when you first got it does not mean that you are wishing all those good years away by accepting a new job.
Don’t be fooled by apathy. Having no emotion one way or the other about something is not an exciting life. Since most of us try to find purpose in what we do, it’s best to assess whether you’re being stimulated day in and day out.
Don’t think letting go happens fast. It might take a long time to put your mind in a place of “moving on” once you’ve recognized the signs. You may experience certain emotions like disbelief and grief before you can fully accept it.
Don’t get too comfortable standing still. A friend once told me he would spend no less than one year but no more than two years at a single job. Know your own shelf life at a job, and acknowledge that adjusting to new routines and surviving a learning curve are part of life.