Most of us have a plan when we get into something - a new job, a new city, a new life.
Thoughts about how to make it work crop every now and then.
We sort & sift through them - take some learnings of our past, add new experiments and hope it will work.
Many times it does. Sometimes it doesn't.
It's interesting how long it takes for us to accept it doesn't.
Even more interesting is how long it takes us to change our direction after that.
Exit strategy is unglamorous. No one prepares for it. No one wants to talk about it.
In my coaching sessions, I find sometimes, people are stuck just because they think they don't have an exit strategy. They are trading their life to the devil on that premise. They blame it on their circumstances and constraints. They never suspect long term damage to their health, happiness & family.
We have heard about the fable of the boiling frog.
A frog placed in boiling water immediately jumps out, while a frog placed in water and boiled slowly doesn't know the right time to jump out and dies.
Most of the burnout that hurts us is because we don't know when to jump out.
How does one know when to jump out?
These are starting signs.
When you don't like the person you are being everyday:
When your day ends, you somehow don't like the person you were in the day. There is guilt that you were not your best self. Perhaps you could have been lot kinder to yourself and others. Perhaps you could have made a better decision. Perhaps you could have had a calmer moment to enjoy life.
2. When your non-negotiable values are threatened every day:
You stand for certain values and you are not able to live it everyday. You are forced to drop them because the eco-system, considers them as not valuable and prevents you from realising them. You feel unauthentic with your choices. You cannot recognise your own choices. You don't know who you are becoming - maybe a monster, may be a victim.
3. You can't make it better than what is/ You cannot give anymore:
You are exhausted. You have given everything possible and still nothing moves, nothing changes. You feel you are nearing a burn-out. You frequently look forward to vacations, breaks, fall sick often and have no energy to seize the day.
4. You can't recognise yourself:
You stare at your childhood photograph and think - where has the joyful child gone? Is that destiny or I haven't done enough. You secretly wish to be the child again.
When you see the signs - just pause and reflect. Take a small action that. you can be proud of.
Take care of yourself. The world can wait.