Recently I got a call from a client regarding his desire to end a long-term business partnership. Although it had been mutually beneficial, it was no longer supporting both parties, he felt, and he turned to me for advice on how to end the relationship.
We brainstormed his options. What we discovered was that it may be possible to expand rather than end, and that perhaps this was an opportunity to invite his current partner to grow with the business. My client felt that this positive move—one that was loving and inclusive, rather than absolute and abrupt—could benefit all parties. The “end” result was a win-win rather than a loss.
Finding a graceful way to transition a business relationship without burning a bridge and with heartfelt completion is a practice in itself. How do you accomplish this in a world of fast decisions and even faster communications? How do you consciously transition, end, or grow a relationship when you are ready to make a change?
These four steps will provide support and clarity as you walk through a transition:
• Check in with yourself. Ask yourself if this is a possible growth opportunity. Are you being guided to work through tough spots or transition to a new level of challenges? Is there something you are avoiding, such as a shadow aspect of yourself? (You may want to enlist some help and look at this situation from an inner-work perspective.) Checking in allows you to open to all possibilities within the relationship before making your final decision.
• Meditate on the highest good for all involved. A Buddhist nun I worked for managed to release me from my position and bless me at the same time. How did she manage such a feat? “I prayed for the best and highest good of all,” she told me, then added, “and I did not see a position for you here.” Wow! She kissed my head, blessed me, and handed me a tiny Medicine Buddha. I walked out of her office, head held high, knowing that my highest good was waiting for me and I was walking towards it.
• Decide if it’s “the end” or a transition. If the person is someone you care about and had good experiences with, perhaps the relationship is evolving instead of ending. Perhaps you and this person can transition the relationship. For example, instead of coming for weekly individual sessions, you will benefit from being part of a monthly group or a day-long workshop.
• Face it with love. Just thinking about having a potentially uncomfortable ending conversation can be scary—and send you reaching for the ice cream! Instead, be honest with yourself. It is likely that both people have sensed that the relationship is transitioning long before now. Set up a time to talk about where you are at in the relationship, consider the bigger picture for both parties, stay open to hearing what the other person needs, and seek mutually beneficial creative solutions. Remember, endings are also new beginnings.
“Change is the only constant,” goes the old saying. It doesn’t mean change is easy, but I do believe it’s possible to find grace in transitions. Whatever you’re facing, stay connected to your inner guidance, which will allow you to experience the fluidity of life. If you want support, let’s schedule a session soon.
Join me next month for more on how to run and grow your business with Deep Business practices. In the meantime, may your transitions be graceful and always take you to the highest good for all involved.