Setting Yourself Up for Success: Don’t Go Away Angry!

A byproduct of being a management consultant is spending time with dozens of different companies and working with hundreds of people at all organizational levels. At each engagement I have at least one “work with” client I partner with to make change in the organization. A special bond of trust is necessary on both sides and I’ve been privileged to work with some of the best and brightest.

Because of this bond I’m a safe sounding board for career advice. Because I’m a management consultant I’ve seen examples of those who transition successfully from being an employee to owning their own business and those who don’t.

Recently a former client of mine called me for advice on whether it was a good time for him to start the business he’s dreamed of starting for some time. He’d done his homework, he has the financial where-with-all and he’s ready to leave his current company and employer. In fact, during our call he spend most of his energy talking about why he wanted to leave.

He was in such an emotional circle about what was wrong as he described his current situation that it was difficult for him to describe his start-up and why he wanted to start that particular business in any detail.

I’m not a psychologist, but I am a student of human nature. I know when people leave an unhappy situation without resolving the issues, the internal resolution process gets in the way of starting their next chapter.

Most of us have had a job or a situation where staying even one more day seemed overwhelming. Here are some tips I’ve used to get past the anger:

  1. Write down what you’ve accomplished that will help you in your new business.
  2. Write down what you’ve learned that will help you in your new business.
  3. List any professional relationships that you’ve made that you will value in the future.
  4. Write out at least three scenarios where you might run into people from this company in your new business.

Work at this exercise for a little while every day until you can walk through the organization you’re leaving and thank everyone you’ve worked with.

It’s just good business.

Published by Leah Ward-Lee

Leah Ward-Lee, the author of "$1,000 Start-Ups", is a serial micro-entrepreneur. She opened her first business at ten after lobbying for and receiving a shoe shine kit for Christmas. She pulled her wagon through the neighborhood, going door-to-door, offering to shine her neighbor’s shoes for twenty-five cents a pair. Once her wagon was full, she took the shoes home and polished them. Unfortunately that business was short-lived. She hadn’t tagged the shoes and couldn’t remember whose shoes were whose, so her dad went with her to retrace the route until every pair was returned. Since then she’s had businesses developing and teaching college courses, instructing aerobic classes, owning half a plane that was rented to a flight and maintenance school, and renting homes. She’s also owned a consignment store, a gift shop, a gift basket business, a consulting firm, hosted The Executive Toolbox (a weekly radio show), and a publishing company. She also spent twenty years in the US Army, served as the Chief Information and Technical Officer for two major insurance companies, and has a second career as a management consultant. Leah resides in Dallas, TX and on Amelia Island with Sammy and Goliath, her two rescue dogs.


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