I recently quit a job. No, I didn’t quit the job; the job quit me. For years, I never really understood why I left so many jobs. During my most recent departure, I struggled to understand why I left. I was making an excellent salary, so why would I leave? I started thinking about the “why” and asking myself many questions. After spending a lot of time researching my answers and determining which ones I could drive a long career with my next role, I identified these three questions that helped me recover and consider making the next right decision.

Who can help me? 

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors, they succeed.” Additionally, there’s another principle that is helpful to keep in mind. “Your network often determines your net worth.” The adage is true – who you know is often more important than what you know. Therefore, meeting people and asking for their advice is one of the best strategies you can implement while thinking of leaving a job, feeling the potential to lose your job, or even considering a career change. I have asked many people – “What would you do if you were me?”  The answers were all very up and down, so I often moved to make my own decision.

What is my most significant risk?

Often, losing or leaving your job or considering a career change will create a significant risk of losing money, followed closely by insurance, retirement, or family needs. This NEVER entered my head. I also felt I was making more money and getting significant responsibilities. However, the lack of clarity is an important breeding ground for fear. It’s why I know so many people hang on to their certainty while allowing their souls to be crushed at a job they hate. The first step is to identify the risk reality. For me, money was the big issue. Instead, I needed to be more transparent about the company’s culture, what they did wrong, identify their strengths, or what role my dream job was. All of this is under the banner of reducing and managing the risk of our careers.

Am I moving toward something or away from something?

I know many people who will return to a job they left because they were running from something versus moving to a new, compelling vision. I have done that also. However, when they discover problems in the new job, they often return to familiar, even dysfunctional, roles. I found the way to distinguish between the two is by thinking about which emotion you’re experiencing more: frustration or excitement. Are you more frustrated over your current situation?

Or are you more excited about the potential of what’s next? This takes some honest self-reflection, but whatever you find, the best next step is to keep moving. So how can you reduce the frustration and ramp up the excitement? Do your research and prepare for the next chapter. We all are in a branch of our novel. Preparing for that next chapter is one of the best gifts you can give yourself.

Take a step forward by answering these three questions. It will strongly influence you to consider what is right and achieve A successful effort ahead.

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