Mindful endings

Ending things with care.

Leaving behind something that worked in order to pursue something new takes courage. We should celebrate more people who do it. It’s not even quitting. It’s called being done with something. And that’s a good thing.

I enjoyed rereading Manuel’s thoughts on quitting. I agree that we should celebrate “being done” and those who dare to do it. It’s not easy to end things when time is universally recognized as a symbol of expertise, quality, and value. But there’s a difference between giving up and consciously ending something when it’s served its purpose. Knowing the difference isn’t always straightforward; I like to think it gets easier with time though.

I also wish we cared more about ending things with care—ending projects, jobs, relationships with as much intention and integrity as the start. It’s the best way to honour the time and effort that went into them, and it’s crucial to moving on with little regret.

It also doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. Some effortless and less effortless ways to end things with care:

  • Simply reflect on (but like really reflect) why the thing needs to end and be able to articulate it.
  • See through important projects before leaving a job.
  • Put together a handover doc.
  • Send an appreciation email to coworkers (or make a speech).
  • Send a kind parting message to the person you’ve been seeing for some time.
  • Have an egoless and calm discussion to end the relationship.
  • Write a reflection piece—what went well, what didn’t, what have I learned?

Maybe it’s because I’m in the middle of a should-I-move-on-or-not decision process, but I really like the idea of mindful endings as a practice. It’s a practice that complements all the quick-start, startup, swipe-left culture out there.

Other thoughts