No individual has any right to come into the world and go out of it without leaving behind him distinct and legitimate reasons for having passed through it.”
– George Washington Carver

Dr. Carver is correct – we are all passing through life. His words inspire us to live intentionally and to leave a legacy of distinct and legitimate greatness.

Now is a perfect time to reflect, build, and execute an enter and exit strategy for your 2020 professional life. The best place to start is to answer the following two questions:

Does your current professional role provide value to others?

Does your current professional role fulfill you?

For many of us, we end this year and begin 2020 without clear answers to these questions.

We silently wish for a different calling, a chance to finally be fulfilled and restore the career energy we had years ago. However, we hold back. Our pay may not be great, but it is good. Our boss and co-workers drive us a little crazy, but they are good people. Most importantly, the thought of starting over is too much to handle.

I am from Minnesota and there is a simple rule when your car gets stuck in the snow – stop spinning your wheels! Take your foot off the accelerator, assess your options, and try a different approach. Spinning your wheels is a metaphor for being stuck professionally as well.

The timing is perfect. We all anticipate the question from friends and relatives over the holidays – “how is work”?

My guess is that most of us shrug our shoulders and say “OK” and hope the conversation changes to another subject (preferably sports and not politics). If the questions continue, we may say we are considering a job change. The more productive conversation involves sharing your new journey.

You can decide whether to enter or exit opportunities, or it can be decided for you. My story of enter/exit was a blend of circumstances within and outside of my control. Years ago, I was stuck in a pretty good job and suddenly a corporate restructuring rocked my comfortable professional world. After more than 30 years with my employer, a great company, I faced an uncertain future. Exit.

Thankfully, I had an enter/exit strategy and a support network. Years before the restructuring I had a dream of being self-employed. To prepare, I built my skills and developed a business plan. My dream was built and only needed an effective date. The date was given to me and I was ready. Enter.

I am blessed to have an intentional journey, a series of entrances and exits, and I hope to one day leave behind distinct and legitimate reasons for passing through.

Three keys to an effective enter and exit strategy:

Revolving Door

Most of us carefully manage our careers, preferring certainty over risk and disruption. Enter one door and exit another. The reality is that true change will cause you to stretch your boundaries, and these new opportunities will test your energy. You need to act as a revolving door – coming and going at the same time. Revolving doors are energy efficient by regulating pressure and using momentum: just what you need.

Enter Mindset
• Better understand your strengths/limitations
• Less take and more give
• More gratitude
• Listen to new voices to get fresh ideas and encouragement
• Refresh your skills to meet the most challenging problems at work – why not you?

Exit Mindset
• Reframe what you can’t do… to what can do
• Eliminate what you don’t enjoy doing in your current job – enrich versus quit
• Time for a new job – act
• Park your envy and regrets – it is about you not them
• Stop saying you did not have time – keep your promises

20/20 is perfect vision and next year offers a chance to refocus on our greatest financial asset, where we spend most of our time, and a source of fulfillment – our career. Keep your eyes on becoming a revolving door of both embracing the new and letting go of the old. Enter and exit strong to become the leader you aspire to be.

All My Best,
Todd

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