Jeffrey spent Labor Day weekend painting the living room and kitchen walls. I spent the weekend untying lots of those “ties that bind”.
I tossed things out, put things into the recycle bin, and filled up 2 bags of stuff for Goodwill and/or Salvation Army pickup. Then I went through my Outlook list of past business contacts – all the client relationships from the years I was doing consulting projects. Delete. Alter-and-save-changes. Re-categorize as friends or other resources. I rearranged several parts of my life.
Closure conversations are wonderful. I used all “four A’s” at some point over the weekend:
- Acknowledge the facts: I don’t need this anymore. It no longer represents anything meaningful, or it isn’t something I want in my future. It’s out of here. (And that person who kept complaining about overpaid consultants? Delete, delete.)
- Appreciate the people: Thanks, it was great working with you. I’m no longer doing consulting projects, but let me know if you’d ever like to meet for coffee.
- Apologize for mistakes and misunderstandings: I’m sorry I didn’t meet with you before I retired from consulting. I would have enjoyed doing that project with you, and I know your new support team will get it done right. I wish you the very best.
- Amend any broken agreements: I know we had a deal that whenever I was in your city I would call you to set up a meeting. I’ve retired from consulting, but let me know if you still want to get together now that I’ve changed my agenda. These days I’m working on management writing, speaking, and some training programs (be forewarned: I occasionally talk about nuclear waste management too!), and I have always enjoyed talking with you.
September is when we sharpen our pencils for a new school year. Use “Closure Conversations” to do a bit of personal housekeeping and make space for new thinking, new projects, and maybe some surprises in your future.