Ending a season
“Making a big life change is scary. But you know what is scarier? Regret.” Unknown
Many will know how much I love Doha, Qatar. Leading up to this year’s trip, I had a feeling this would be my last year working on the project that has taken me to the Gulf for the past three years. There were many indicators that this season was coming to an end.
It wasn’t a ‘well, glad to see that one over’ kind of season ending. It was more an ‘appreciate every last minute of my time there because this will be the last one in this context’ ending.
I was invited to return next year and many of my wonderful Doha colleagues said they hoped I’d reconsider my decision. I was tempted many times to do just that-but I know my priorities and projects lie elsewhere for now. The decision was both clear and difficult. Sometimes season endings are welcome. Sometimes they are imposed on us which although hard, take away any nagging doubts about ‘have I done the right thing’? I’ve talked to a few people who have had similar season endings to my current one. They’ve left (at their initiative) a situation, country or organisation that has both fulfilled and inspired them, knowing it was time to move on-at least for now- in spite of the emotional pull to stay.
Here are a few things I’ve reminded myself of as I’ve walked through this season end:
- All good things have to end sometime. At some point, we have to face the pain of leaving behind a special chapter in our lives.
- Prolonging a season when we know it is time to move on will either drag out the inevitable or tarnish the experience because of the frustrations, setbacks or closed doors that accompany a situation that is no longer the right fit for us.
- Missing something does not mean we’ve made the wrong move or that we have regrets-it is a reminder of how fortunate we were to experience and contribute to something so good for us and good to us.
- It doesn’t mean the door to that experience, location or job is closed for good. There may be opportunities in a different context that aligns with our new season.
I call them reminders because I have experienced all of the above. A few years ago, I was very torn about leaving an organisation when I was approached by a consulting company to work with them. External consulting seemed the best fit for me, but it was not easy to move away from the wonderful community in the organisation I’d leave. The move was right from a ‘best use of skills’ perspective and within 2 months my former workplace asked me to do some consulting with them and to my great delight, they’ve been a client ever since. My return to Doha in 2010 was a similar situation. I fell in love with Doha in 2006 when on a consulting assignment. When I left the consulting company, the doors to that project were closed, and four years later, I was presented with an opportunity to return to Doha working for the organisation that was my very first choice for my return to Qatar. Had I given in to the pull to resist those seasons ending, I’d be locked into a situation that had long outlived its purpose for me and missed out on these other new seasons.