Have you ever followed a dream, taken a job or chased an idea that felt right in the moment, only to later watch it descend into complicated arrangements, unfavorable circumstances or evolve into a burden instead of a blessing?
Before you deride yourself for making a bad move or write off everyone around you as being a pain in your backside; take a step back and allow your judgment of the situation to be held in suspended animation.
During this process of suspended judgment it is important to be open and honest with yourself and what you're bringing into the situation. Are you creating any of the negativity and drama? Do you need to lower some defenses and open yourself to more input by others? Do you need to work harder with some of the people around you to appreciate their contributions?
If you have done the hard work of an honest self-assessment around what you're bringing into the situation and have found ways to love and appreciate those around you, it's time to listen to the messages you are receiving, and pay attention to the energy that surrounds your day-to-day activities.
If you return to a sense of being in-the-flow after your self-assessment, you've done the heavy lifting in the situation. You're where you need to be and have the tools to course correct if you find yourself feeling "less than" again.
However, if after your self-assessment you feel as though you're swimming upstream against the current, or you keep hitting your head on a low ceiling, or you feel that someone has locked their arms around one of your legs so that every step forward you try to take is weighed down because you're now dragging them along with you; it's time to listen up as it may be time to plan your succession and next moves.
The Universe is always sending messages. These are rarely large, neon billboards. They more often come as gentle and fleeting insights that return with more frequency when you ignore or don't act upon them. Here's some guidance on how to proceed when you've stumbled upon yet another cryptic message on your journey.
Avoid making anyone the "bad guy".
Whether this is a job, a volunteer gig, participation in a social group - whatever it is - allow your decision to move on to be based on you wanting something new or different, period. Resist the temptation to make everyone else wrong so that you can justify your move. Allow yourself to want something different while acknowledging that they're OK to keep wanting what you don't. It's all good!
Leave success in the wake of your departure
If you're leaving a job, volunteer role or staff position in an organization, leave it in the best position possible to continue on successfully. Good leaders in business begin to succession plan on Day 1. If you're well past Day 1 you can start today. What do you need to share with others so that the programs and services continue after you leave? How can you coach, train and mentor others to take on things you grew or developed that have contributed positively to the organization? This is also a good way to recheck your self-assessment. If you feel any need to "stick it" to the organization you are leaving, there's healing work in you that must be done before you make any decisions or take any steps.
Once you leave it is important to give enough space to those who take over your job and tasks to stand on their own, but this doesn't mean you need to disappear. There will be questions, and remember: you once believed in the job/organization/mission/group dynamic enough to embrace it as a part of who you were, so make sure you are willing to answer questions, provide guidance and help point the direction to solutions when asked. There is a delicate balance between helping and creating co-dependence, so be sure you are coaching from a distance and not taking on tasks that they now need to manage.
Once you move on, move on! When the Universe has nudged you to do more, grow further and expand your horizons don't encumber yourself by living in the past. Avoid conversations about how limited you felt in that job, or about the short-sighted people in the organization or how your creativity was stymied in that position. Let. It. Go. You were given the gift of encouragement to do more, be more and grow. Accept that gift and let go of the past, as it serves no purpose in the here and now.
Understand that much of leaving the past in the past will take place in your head. Learn to discipline your thoughts. When you find your mind wandering down the path of the past, make an intentional turn onto a different path. Bless and release the past, with an extra emphasis on RELEASE!
There's a uniquely-American fixation on the gold watch after 50-years of loyal employment that seems to stick to everything in the culture. This results in pervasive thinking that if you made a decision to take a job/join an organization/participate in a group,...you're a member for life or there's something wrong with you,... Thankfully, the millennials have helped to debunk this thinking and continue to teach the country that this paradigm is outdated and irrelevant.
While you're in that job, volunteer role or social group, enjoy it! Live large, be one with the group and let it be a blessing to your life. Once it no longer blesses you, do your due diligence on the why (cleanse your own energetic and attitude "house") and if the signs still point to it being "time to move on" - move on in peace and with the happy anticipation of the new adventure that lies ahead.
Take time to listen to your higher wisdom; the subtle messages of the Universe that are always showing up along your path. Listen, learn, follow your bliss, as Joseph Campbell is famous for saying - and watch walls transform into doorways that lead to a better tomorrow.