We take immense pride in our long-term associations with organizations, clubs, committees, non-profits, relationships, brands or even friends. Don’t we?
It takes helluva commitment to let the world know that we’ve been loyal and have contributed to a cause that’s bigger than us.
What exactly has been our contribution? And how do we validate them?
If you’re counting on the “certificates of appreciation” for your long-term association, you’re missing the point.
I use to admire long and strong associations. I used to relate tenure with wisdom, significance and valuable contribution. I used to. But not anymore. Because essentially we’re all in a relationship that’s based on give and take.
Even your deep personal relationships. Remember, the emotional bank account analogy? You can’t just give, give and give your way to bankruptcy. You need to balance it out with a lot of “taking” in. That’s what strengthens the relationship. Sorry, I digressed.
I feel after a certain point in time, regardless of the type of relationship, parting ways can get difficult. Almost impossible. And sometimes painful. Truthfully, we’re uncomfortable because we’re afraid to move on. We’ve been too certain. Too complacent.
There’s no need to push yourself. You already know what’s expected. You’ve become some sort of a big dog in a small yard.
But then, you happen to step out of this yard and realize that the world’s so much bigger than you. And you’re totally unprepared to face it. Should you go out and explore the unknown or stay inside and cruize in the known?
One question that everyone needs to be asking themselves is this: what am I getting out of my association? If the answer resonates with your values and whom you stand for, carry on doing the great work. If it doesn’t, you need to pause and reflect.
Simply put, your tenure with an organization doesn’t co-relate to the value that you provide. Or the value that the organization is providing you to grow as an individual.
What drives you to show up every day? The answers need to go beyond compensation, security, and hierarchy. There’s more to life than these things.
For me, every workday poses a few significant questions:
- how am I growing as a writer?
- how am I making a contribution?
- what can I learn today?
If the answer’s in negative. I need to pause.
I carried out a similar exercise when I was part of a non-profit. The answers weren’t affirmative and I took the decision to quit after 6 long years of association. And guess, what? No guilt. No remorse. I’m a much happier person today.
Contrary to what people believe, I think there’s value in pulling the plug before it’s too late.
How have you grown today? How do you make your contributions count? What have you learned today?