When do you hang up your boots?

I wonder what triggers the thoughts of hanging up one’s boots. Is it the frustration of a disastrous season or attraction of something compelling and the demand of dedicated focus on it or it’s simply the boredom of having had enough? The decision to retire or quit is never easy because it is so much a part and parcel of one’s life. It doesn’t matter what one is walking away from… could be a job, a career, a habit, a person, a place, a life… in any of these cases, it is so very important in one’s life! At times, they are very basic to someone’s day to day living and one cannot imagine living without them. I have heard from people who tried quitting smoking their harrowing experiences of imagining a life without the click of a lighter, the warmth of the breath and so on…It calls for a tremendous will power to leave behind something so dear. 

The end of one chapter marks the beginning of another. Life is a continuum yet it transitions from one to another. However, it is not easy to know when one should end one to begin the other. Very rarely it is crystal clear … there is always the inertia of continuing the current journey because that is the known devil while there is a push of the devil as well as a pull of an unknown angel. Roger Federer is still going strong when commentators predicted the curtain to fall long ago! Sachin Tendulkar carried on in spite of the loads of criticism. The love of the game and passion to compete were the pulls while the aging body, bearish scorecard and fear of being fired were the pushes. Imagine how tough it must have been on the mind of a sportsman! How many CEOs want to quit just because their retirement age is round the corner? How many Boards would let them go if the numbers are there on the board? We had not too long ago the drama in our political circles when the old had to make way for the young! So, letting go is not easy!

I think, one can use a decision model to summate the pull and the push to decide if it’s time to hang up the boots. We have to list down the push indicators and weigh them against the pull indicators. Questions to ask : Can I live without it, Do I enjoy it, Do I see an unfinished agenda or a future that is worth pursuing? Do I have an idea of what’s coming next and do I like it? Do I see a picture of what the next episode means to me? If the weighted average of the 6 questions is positive, it is time to move on!
Sounds simple! Let’s put them into practice!

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