How to exit (a relationship)

Whether it’s a work relationship or a personal one.  This is how best to get out of a situation that is truly toxic for you and your creativity. 

I’ve learnt from experience that without our creativity we are nothing. Being creative is the antidote for everything. 

When a relationship starts to suppress us it’s tempting to leap into the next thing or just CUT IT and leap into a void which at first presents relief, but then panic and overwhelm can set in. This can have quite the negative impact. Not always a good thing despite the popular personal development coaching opinions out there telling us to ‘take the leap’. 

Actually, a leap should be carefully and mindfully crafted. 

Having a plan is important. Recognising what isn’t and is working for you whilst you’re still in it is even more powerful and can help you plan your exit perfectly. Provided your ‘toxic situation’ isn’t abusive (and if so then immediately stop reading and reach out to someone you trust to get solid support) it can actually be just the right fuel you need to keep you focused on an exit strategy. 

My ‘exit experience’:

Personally... I exited a long marriage without any planning or concrete actionable steps. That first year with my child was probably the most painful of my life. Being alone and isolated with my then 4yr old child day in and day out with only an hour here or there for time to think myself out of the pain and pressure wasn’t great. In fact it continued like this until I finally moved closer to my family - but it took me 3 years to get settled and stable before I could start mapping my future again. If I could go back I would’ve mapped what I really needed and spoken to a number of individuals in my circle to solidly support me on my exit strategy. 

Creatively? I was trying anything and everything to claw my creativity back. The sudden exit threw everything up in the air and ‘feeling’ more like my creative self was coming in short glimpses. But at least they were coming!

Support from loved ones that helps you with a birds eye perspective is the game changer.   

Professionally speaking - in the past 20 years I have found myself in hugely suppressive J-O-Bs. Some I had high hopes for where I have given more than 100% effort but only 1% of my creativity (because there’s been absolutely no space for it). Especially roles and environments where the culture isn’t supportive of professional growth tailored to the individual. 

Time to exit! 

(Gosh… feels like I’m writing about Brexit). 

YOUR EXIT STRATEGY ... steps to transition:

  1. What do you need? Be really liberal with this. Write it all down. 

  2. Which daily activity/output will make you feel more whole? More agile, adaptable? What will make you better able to face change?

  3. What are the things that are currently in your way? (Continue writing this all down). 

  4. Keeping these in mind, what do you need to have the space to be more of you? Is this physical, emotional or both?

  5. What’s the first most important support you need in place to exit? (Personally it would’ve been childcare for me ... I didn’t have it back then). Resources? Assistance? 

  6. What is the ideal ‘end point’ and what are the steps to get there? Are we talking about an ideal job? Career? Or an established creative outlet? Are we talking about a feeling? Feeling more like YOU?

  7. Can you measure the time it’ll take to take each step? (Be kind and don’t give yourself a tight timescale. You need space to breathe which is why identifying the support required is really important). 

  8. Based on your roadmap ... can you communicate your plan and the timescale you want to exit to? Do you need to complete steps before you’re ready to exit? Or even communicate the fact that you need to change? Often telling people about the change before you’ve gotten comfortable with it can actually reverse the courage it took to get to that point in the first place. So take your time before you share … 

  9. Are you breathing easier? If not ... what more can you plot into your exit strategy to help you breathe easier? Unfortunately the nature of a toxic situation is that we put our needs last. This is your reminder to want more and articulate these wants.

  10. Now pause on this process and return to it with a fresh heart and mind. Why? When planning to leave something truly stressful and unhealthy it requires careful planning. Not knee-jerk planning. Return to your roadmap and refine. You’ll know when it’s ready. If not ... 3 revisits should be enough for you to put yourself in motion for the FIRST STEP to exit. 

Taking a beat is important. We know that lessons missed are revisited upon us. So… pause and make sure you’re present with this change.

Leaving something toxic is of course positive, but involves a fair bit of pain and instability. Make sure you reassure your creative-self that expression and a home for your creativity is on its’ way. The stifled and suppressed part of ourselves will be itching and possibly roaring for release.

When I was finally free I experienced such a long period of joy and creative expression - but without a plan. I burnt out! (That’s another post)

I really want to know how this helps you to exit. Contact me here or jump in my IG DMs!