Drawing rather late in the day today (sorry! but it is a holiday where I live), I pulled Quarterback and Exit Strategy from the Corporate Flashcards, along with, from the Universal Waite, the Page of Swords to tie them together. Frankly, I find these cards disquieting. What are we exiting? Do you feel that you are heading for the exit in some part of your life? For some of us, we may be considering our exit strategy from life itself. As I write this, I have a grandmother in hospice care. I’m also anxious for those people out there who are depressed to the point of considering suicide. I’m equally anxious for those who are not suicidal but who are taking a more passive route to giving up on life, no longer trying, quitting. Quitting jobs, or giving up looking for work because it just seems hopeless. Walking out on marriages or other relationships because nothing ever seems to get better. Giving up on ever hoping for happiness.
These are people who have formed an intention, and that intention is to walk away. To exit the situation.
If a situation has gone sour, it’s not wrong to walk away. The classic example of an appropriate time to exit is walking away from a violent relationship, but walking away is equally appropriate when you are leaving a job that sucks all the life out of you. However, if exit is your intention, think clearly about what you plan to do. Pulling a card to tie the two Corporate Flashcards together, I pulled the Page of Swords. Moments when one is about to exit are a good time to stop and think. Clearly. Look around. Cut through the mental fog and consider all your options. There is more than one way to exit a situation. One option, yes, is to leave. Quit the whole matter. If that’s what you are planning, you will want to plan your exit carefully so that you exit in a way that is safe and as non-traumatic as possible for you.
Another option, though, that can be appropriate, depending on your circumstances, is to work with the energy of the situation itself to bring about a transformation. That’s, in a way, exiting the situation while remaining on the premises — as if you showed the situation the door, while sticking around yourself. We often don’t consider the latter option, but it can be done. And if the situation you are considering exiting is life itself — then you need to consider and reconsider, and reconsider again, your options. Why should YOU be the one to exit? Is it possible to take charge — to quarterback — by sending the situation itself packing? Is it possible to stick around in life — or in your family, or in your job — while still altering your circumstances materially? Staying doesn’t mean refraining from ever experiencing change. In fact, you couldn’t avoid change if you tried — all of life is change. If life isn’t changing fast enough for you, then take action to speed things up. Or alternatively, be patient while observing the situation mindfully for signs of change, or for opportunities to make things different.
Finally, I want to point out a bit of advice that I see in the Quarterback card. Note that the see also section says “Point Person, Go-To.” Those moments in life when we consider exit strategies are also important times to seek support. Find an appropriate go-to person, such as a therapist, a counselor, a psychiatrist (if you are depressed or suicidal, a psychiatrist should be your go-to person), or a religious advisor such as a priest, minister, or rabbi. If there are financial issues that you need to sort out, your go-to person might be a credit counselor, an accountant, or some other financial advisor. If the situation has legal aspects, consult a lawyer (in case you don’t realize this, most professionals will do one free consultation to give you a chance to evaluate whether they are the right fit for you.) If you are facing a health crisis, go to a doctor. Why is it important to have a go-to person? Because a go-to person can help you cut through the fog and find options that you may not have realized existed. Don’t plan an exit without first getting good advice and looking very, very carefully at your options.