Woman staring out to sea

During a recent Office Hours call with Reanne, we explored her interest in improving her existing VA practice. One of the things she was curious about was how she would know when it was time to leave the relationship with a client.

The idealist in me immediately jumped to what I know to be true in my bones and have learned to pragmatically teach, which is that when a VA and client both choose each other thoughtfully and well, and the relationship is strong and ease-filled for the two of them, there are precious-few reasons an ending would need to happen.  And, I mean precious-few reasons like, retirement or death.

Everything else, in context of the sort of relationship I just mentioned, should be something that can be worked out.

I realize that not everyone has that sort of relationship. Reanna doesn’t.

If you don’t, or if you haven’t yet created your VA practice but this is something that worries you, of course I recommend working on how you choose clients and who you choose.

You 100% have the power to create the situation for yourself and when you create it the right way from the beginning, truly—the rest of this gets much easier.  Foundation and standards truly are key.

But let’s discuss today.

Today, if you find yourself currently sitting on a fence, not exactly happy in the relationship, but not entirely miserable either, and especially if you’re hanging on because “the money is good,” here are some other things to consider that might help you know when it’s time for you to step away and move on.

👉 When things aren’t easy. That’s bad enough. Worse is when things are toxic, where you’re being criticized, manipulated, distrusted (for no reason you’re aware of), disrespected, blamed, yelled at, etc. You deserve relationships that are easy.

👉  When there are problems in the work that are piling up and that your client doesn’t address, making it hard for you to do the work, much less do your best work. You deserve relationships where you can do your best work.

👉 When you’ll go to great lengths to avoid difficult conversations with your client (or feel the client wants to avoid them when you’re willing to have them). You deserve relationships where no one wants to avoid conversations.

👉 When you realize that the work leaves you stifled, uninspired, unmotivated, or unchallenged, or when you don’t care about the work or relationship and are just going through the motions. You deserve work that lights you up inside.

👉 When you feel resentful about anything. You deserve contentment and happiness.

👉 When you don’t feel free—to be yourself, to bring all of you to the work, to contribute at your highest levels. Feeling free is one of the very-best reasons to get into this business!

👉 When you find yourself groaning each time you see email or messages from your client. You deserve to feel excited when your client reaches out to you.

👉 When you find yourself cutting corners or dropping a lot of balls for the client. This is especially true when it’s paired with any of the above-mentioned items. You deserve to have relationships that engender a deep desire to do your everlovin’ best, every single day.

Listen, when things in a relationship are easy and good from the start, challenging things that pop up don’t usually become problems because people feel moved to fix things together. But when things aren’t easy and good from the start, no one really cares to work at it to make them better.  And, in that place, it’s simply easier to leave.

Something I’ve learned (the hard way!) is that we humans stay in a relationship until we know in our bones that we can’t stay anymore. Often, that’s far too long. In my past, I know I’ve stayed faaaaaar too long in some relationships.

Now, I relax into two constants to help me know when it’s time to leave because they cut to the core of all the dang things for me.

When you take away your energy, you’re gone even if you stay.

That’s some truth right there, I tell ya. Pay attention to how you feel in your body.

And this poem by the amazing poet Nayyirah Waheed:

things. that should be asked.
in every type of.
how is your heart.
is your breath happy here.
do you feel free.

The first one helps me notice when things aren’t as I want them to be. The poem helps me ask the very-best follow-up questions of myself to help me know what my next steps need to be.

May they help you, too.