How to know when it’s time to leave (your job, your marriage, your relationship)

At some time in your life, you will be or have been confronted with the question “should I stay or should I go?”

It can be one of the most agonizing questions you’ll ever ask.  The consequences of leaving may appear to be unbearable, so you resign yourself to staying.  In most cases, the fear of making the wrong decision keeps you right where you are, almost always longer than is healthy.

Change can be difficult, scary and even painful. Staying the same, even more so.

So, how do you know when it’s time to go?  Its time to go when:

1. The pain of staying is greater than the potential pain of leaving;

2. You are staying for the other person because it makes them happy (or you believe it does);

3. The pain you are avoiding by not leaving is the guilt you’ll feel by leaving;

4. You’ve resigned yourself to a life without sex and decided your kids’ happiness is more important than your sex life;

5. You are staying because you “should” be happy, but you aren’t.

Many people have asked me how I got the courage to leave the biglaw firm after only three years and launch my own business. How I knew it was time to leave my marriage. How I was able to walk away from the million dollar a year law business I built.

Each time, leaving has gotten easier as I’ve discovered that what is on the other side of change is always more glorious than the pain of getting there.  And, if it’s not, you can always go back.  If you wouldn’t be welcomed back, why are you staying anyway?


  1. JenHawthorneThursday, March 26, 2009 at 1:27 pm 

    We all face fear of change and it is hard to get over that to see what is on the other side – it could always be worse, right? Glass is half empty, not half full…. But I love it when a leap of faith demonstrates what we should have known all along, that is the lessons learned on the way that make life valuable. Sometimes it is better on the other side, sometimes not, but we develop along the way. Dynamism is a great teacher.

  2. grhausSaturday, May 1, 2010 at 5:08 am 

    Got here from another blog and am glad. At 'that point' now and have been stuck at the intermediate point for far too long. So, I can appreciate and totally agree with the sentiment of your comments. The other side is always brighter than the side you just left.

  3. MedEdEuropeThursday, June 17, 2010 at 3:53 pm 

    I'm at that point. And I read this with tears in my eyes. Time to move. God Bless you Alexis xxx

  4. Stryker4570Saturday, July 24, 2010 at 6:05 am 

    “4. You’ve resigned yourself to a life without sex and decided your kids’ happiness is more important than your sex life;”

    Hate to break it to you but your kids happiness is more important than your sex life, especially when they are little.

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