It's Time to Give Away Your Baby

It’s time to give away your baby.

You’ve spent countless hours, sleepless nights, poured in your blood, sweat, and tears, but it’s time to let go. Your creation can brave the world’s challenges without your help, and the time has come to say goodbye.

It’s not a literal baby I’m discussing ― whether with a work project or successful startup, eventually you reach a point when you have to place something you created into new hands. I love passion projects ― you’ll always catch me starting up a few organizations on the side or organizing an event or two ― but with the thrill I get from my ventures, there’s always the pain of letting go and moving on to something new. When I first started with serious passion projects, fear of that pain incentivized me to cling to what was familiar, hindering the success of my creations. And, when I finally did let go, the fact that I should have moved on earlier amplified the pain.

Since avoiding that pain entirely would mean not starting new organizations, I am continually searching for ways to minimize it without sacrificing the depth of project investment. From my years of experience founding 20+ active organizations, here are three tips I’ve found useful for reducing the pain of giving away your baby:

1. Keep looking forward.

Have a future project lined up before phasing out of your current one. Always looking ahead prevents you from looking back regretfully.

2. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

While juggling multiple ventures at a time may not be feasible for some, having other items to balance out the lows (and highs) of one of your passion projects can be helpful. Ready to move on from the bowling club you started? Great, now you can shift focus to your gaming group.

3. Don’t cut contact.

Assuming you’re leaving your project in the hands of someone else, resist the urge to cut ties. Keep a foot in the door and stay in touch with whomever is in charge ― don’t limit future you. Conversely, don’t stay too involved: once you make the decision to step down, follow through with it.

One last tidbit I learned I learned the hard way: realize when to let go. Don’t delude yourself into Usain Bolt's one more race mentality: ending early on a high note prevents future regrets.


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Photo Credit: "148073382JH00238_Olympics_D" by trcanje is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0