The Right Time

It can be difficult sometimes to know when you should leave a job or a situation in life.

A friend recently asked me what he should do about his job. It pays well and the hours are great, but he’s not interested or engaged.

This friend (let’s call him Joe) had been running a startup mastermind group and had been working to leverage his passion and skill in teaching to create a sustainable income.

After a few months he just couldn’t make it work to pay the bills. Next thing you know he’s working a sales job and he’s put his dreams on hold.

But after a few months the routine is getting old. The initial interest in his new job (like any honeymoon phase) is waning and he finds himself wondering whether to stay or go.

“If I leave”, Joe starts, “I can go back to doing what I love. What brings me alive. I’m not sure on the details of what it would be but I know it would feel better than this.”

“Of course if I quit I’ll lose my income and probably end up right back here again after a few months if things don’t work out.”

What you don’t know about Joe is he loves metrics and goals. He believes completely in determining a desired outcome and using data to understand how you’re doing getting there.

“Joe, you’re totally all about metrics,” I said. “Your whole class for the group was structured around them. So do you have any metrics for this job?”

“What do you mean?” Joe also loves examples.

“Well,” I began, “for instance how do you know when you’ve made enough money? What about looking at your cost of living, figuring out how long you want to be able to go with little or no income, and putting a financial goal around that amount?”

“OK…” he said.

“Once you have that you can make yourself a strategy to get out of your job. Maybe the plan is to quit immediately, maybe it’s a slow transition, but either way you’ll have a number to shoot for and a plan to execute.”

I’ve met quite a few people who talk about how they were at a job to pay the bills so they could strike off on their own. Including myself! But how do you know when to move on?

For me it was pretty gradually instantaneous. A decision that came about as a result of several years of dreaming and one major inspirational event.

But you can also set a goal for when it’s enough, for what success looks like. And when you reach that goal you’ll know you can jump and land on solid ground.

And it’s not just jobs. It can be anything in life! Kids, cars, grad school, etc. It’s so easy to think “is just not the right time yet… I’m not quite ready.” But there is no such thing as the perfect time, and the right time is any time you choose to act.

So the next time you find yourself saying “not yet… once I’m ready” just set up a goal or a few metrics that indicate when you WILL be ready. Chances are you still won’t feel like taking the leap, but at least you’ll have some data to help give you a little push.

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