Well, we’re approaching the end of the year, and many are transitioning out of their current occupation for various reasons: resigning, retiring, becoming an entrepreneur, or seeking a better experience. Before making a significant transition, I always ask the question, “What have you left behind?”.

I’ve learned that it is essential to have a clear understanding of your accomplishments before leaving an organization. Not only is it vital for the organization and your resume, but it also gives you a sense of confidence and closure. Hopefully, you’ve accomplished what you set out to do when you first took on the role. If not, I understand that there could’ve also been reasons that prevented you from doing so. However, if you never planned to accomplish anything, then that’s another topic that I’ll have to cover in another article.

Regardless, you should still ask yourself whether it’s truly time for you to leave or if you’ve left anything behind that is both memorable and tangible that will help the organization move forward successfully. You never want to leave behind an experience that you or your colleagues would rather forget. As leaders, we have to be intentional about resolving as many conflicts as possible before our departure while yet understanding that some may not get fixed for whatever reason. At times, some issues are beyond our control, but it’s still worth a try.

Your goal is to move forward peacefully. Complete your part as well as remove any baggage. It is especially important to ensure closure with your boss. If you’ve been mistreated or undervalued by him/her, it will be tough, but find a way to forgive them and humbly get through it. Focus on your future and the next opportunity ahead! Leave a legacy that’s worth remembering. Be known for delivering something great and set the tone for your history. The worst thing you can do is start a new job and bring your baggage along with you. Leave the past in the past. Start fresh!

Also, be careful not to divulge anything negative about your previous organization. It can come back to bite you in the end. The very person with whom you share negative information might see you as the guilty culprit. Please don’t give them a reason to worry or dig further into your past. You’ll have them thinking that you’re someone inflexible or challenging to work with when that is not the case at all. Try your best to speak positively of others at all times. As Steven R. Covey says in his book, The Speed of Trust, “Speak of others as if they were present.”

You genuinely want to focus on leaving a positive experience, whether you’re coming or going. Your stories will follow you for the rest of your life. Make it a good ending. In the end, your reputation and character are what matter most.