The Break Up: “It’s not you, it’s us”

Running a small business is hard work. You put passion, emotion, and energy into building relationships with your clients, and hopefully they do in return.

Working in a business is hard work! You put passion, emotion, and energy into your relationships with co-workers, managers, and other stakeholders. Hopefully, they value your input in return.

I’ve had a few conversations lately about ‘The Break Up’. That time, when you make a choice to end a client relationship, or leaving an organisation or workplace. When your time and effort just isn’t balancing with their priorities, values, or your future plans, it’s time for the “It’s not me, it’s us” conversation – “The Break Up”.

Last week, I was well into development of a new partnership, which had been building for a few months. It was intermittent progress, complicated by Christmas holidays, key players in their team being ill or resigning – lots of issues out of my control. We met on Friday to sort out specific details, but by Monday I had realised, that we just didn’t have the same foundation for collaboration. My beliefs, and their behaviours just don’t align. I had to break up with them.

They are a big player, while I am a bit player. They are in control, established and have policies and procedures that prevent the changes required for me to feel comfortable in my role. I realised, like coming across a ray of sunshine and peace while in the eye of a cyclone, that it was time to break up.

I should have gone with my gut – the sense I had quite early on – that not everything was aligning as I expected. I should have trusted my instincts, and assessed my unconscious concerns. I should have implemented my own coaching approach to get down to the key issues! (If only my subconscious voice spoke a little louder!).

It was a tough call, and certainly has implications for my income, but I come back with confidence to my foundations and to my values and standards. After the break up, I will sleep better. I will have more time and energy to put towards projects and partnerships where there is alignment, and most importantly, where I can make an impact.

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