Are You Planning an Exit Strategy?

Posted on October 19, 2021 by James Harold Webb
Exit Strategy

Whether you’re an introvert at a party who has a plan in place for how and when to leave, a cautious individual who finds the emergency exits in whatever building they occupy, or someone who recognizes the strategy in knowing when to make the next move, exits are an inevitable part of life and business. Look around at the job market we are in today.  Dubbed “The Great Resignation,” nearly two-thirds of American workers are looking for a new job – planning their exit strategy. 

It isn’t so surprising when you consider the circumstances we have all faced throughout this pandemic combined with the ever-changing needs, expectations, and requirements that are always present on a personal and professional level. 

According to a recent article for Fortune, “Research has shown that people tend to quit their jobs after experiencing a “turnover shock”: a life event that precipitates self-reflection about one’s job satisfaction. Shocks can be positive, like grad school acceptance or a new baby, or negative, like a divorce or sick relative. Or they can be global catastrophes like COVID-19 that upend every aspect of daily life.”

As an entrepreneur, the number of times I’ve needed to reassess, redirect, and sometimes exit, have been numerous.  Some of those situations were beyond my control, and others have very much been under my control. In some circumstances where change is forced upon you, the feeling of failure or anxiety for the future is real and paralyzing. However, what comes next always seems to be better or is just what you need to propel you further in the future.  

We don’t look back at our lives and see the moments when we failed. We look back and see the moments when we overcame, no matter the odds. It’s not our failures or our successes that get us to where we are. Nor is it the lucky breaks, the big wins, or the random moments. We get to the present moment in our lives—any moment in our lives—by getting up in the morning and getting to work. Resilience is always the best course. Persistence is always the way. Determination is always omnipotent. Maybe not in the moment, maybe not in the immediate aftermath, but always in the end.

It’s important to accept that changes and exits are a part of the bigger narrative of your success story. Most entrepreneurs would probably agree that it’s important to enter opportunities with the exit in mind. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be committed to the task, job, business, etc. at hand – we should give our all to what we’ve committed to. However, having an exit strategy in place for your future next step is not only smart, it’s necessary. 

The exits will come. The pivots we are forced to make or that we make voluntarily ultimately lead us to opportunities we could never have imagined previously. If there is anything we can all agree on after the last year and a half, it’s that life is unpredictable, and things change. I’ve found for myself, and seen it played out in the lives of many others, that how we respond to uncertainty and change will determine the success we later experience.