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Breaking Up is Hard to Do ... Even at Work

Breaking Up is Hard to Do ... Even at Work

"You talk WAY too much."

That was what my brother told me as I was boarding the train to go back to college after Thanksgiving break. Sibling rivalry at its best.

I have been told this a few more times since then. Mostly at concerts. Apparently, people want to listen to the main attraction play, not me. Fair enough.

(In my defense, I am an external processor. I speak to think. The first thing out of my mouth is a rough draft of my thoughts. Be patient, I’ll get to where I’m going.)

Bottom line, I like people. I am curious, and like talking - AND listening - to people. I want to understand what makes people tick. Why they make the decisions they do. Why did they go into a particular career, live in their city, get into their childhood primary sport, choose the college they attended?

[Related: Rock How You Recognize Colleagues in Your Workplace]

So, what’s the problem?

I invest in the people I work with, in the relationship, and am blinded when it needs to come to completion. This rarely happens with my clients, but rather with experts I hire to help me with my business and life.

I get to know the people I work with, and I feel invested in them. I don’t want to end the relationship. Which, for the most part, is a good thing. When a client reaches her goals, and we are ready to cut the apron strings, I wave goodbye with pride. And we stay in touch.

And yet, professionally, I have a tough time cutting the strings. This has happened a few times over the last few years - with a running coach, an acupuncturist (who I adored!), a videographer, and many other consultants. I enjoy working with them and getting to know them.

I lose sight of when the relationship needs to come to an end. This should be happening when I’ve gotten what I needed from them, but I let it go on too long. Lessons learned:

Know when to stop.

I need to learn from those I work with. This comes in many forms - content, strategies, insights, etc. Once I’ve stopped learning, the work is complete.

[Related: I Got Unstuck In My Career After Hitting Rock Bottom]

Be clear up front.

I sign up for services with an end in mind. I am not a never-ending client.

Set goals.

Be specific what I am looking to achieve and prioritize. Once I have reached my goals, the relationship - in the form it originally began - is complete.

Don’t feel bad.

If I am clear with the above right from the start, then it will be easier to complete the service, and "break up." Simply liking someone as a person is not reason enough to continue paying for something I don’t need anymore.

Has this happened to you? You stay in a professional service relationship longer than you need? I had to change my mindset from a "break-up" to a "project complete." This makes the experience more positive and easier to grasp and move on.

[Related: Three Proven Ways to Create Your Own Serendipity]

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Julie Holunga is an executive business coach who trains and develops small-medium size business leaders, attorneys, and CPAs to bring their careers to the next level.


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