Success Question: How to Move Forward from Old Projects and Partners?
Recently on the Social Capitalist, Keith asked LinkedIn Founder Reid Hoffman, “At this stage of your life, what do you need more or less of?” The answer was that he needed more focus, specifically mentioning that he needed to cut back on the number of projects he was juggling. That’s one of the small “curses” of success—more opportunity than you can handle.
Reid went on to explain that cutting back on projects inevitably has a human element that should be handled respectfully. Here’s more:
…It comes down to not holding on to these old projects. You have to make decisions about like, okay, this project has really been meaningful to me. It’s something that’s really important to me. But I think it’s time for me to move away from it, at least for a while, in order to refocus on what I’m doing…. When you move away from someone at a time point, it’s not a question of disliking them or disrespecting them, just a refocus on what everyone’s priorities are, and it can be done with humanity and grace.”
To which Keith added a third adjective: Vulnerability. Being open and honest about the changes you’re going through is a great way to help people understand why, even though they’re important to you, you may not have as much time for them as you have had in the past.
What you don’t want to do when you need to move away from something is just disappear, or treat the person shabbily because you “don’t have time.” They’ll assume either that you're a jerk or they’ve done something wrong, and neither one makes it likely that you’ll ever rebuild the relationship.