Walking Away from Success: Knowing When to Move On

It’s pretty easy to say goodbye to things (careers, projects, clients) when they aren’t going well. Oftentimes, these decisions are even forced on us.

But what about saying goodbye when you’re at your peak?

Picking the right time to say goodbye, especially when you’re at the peak of your career, making a lot of money or doing something that you enjoy, is a decision that requires wisdom and guts.

Chef Michel Roux Jr.’s recent announcement about closing his top-notch Michelin-starred restaurant, La Gavroche, makes us ponder the art of knowing when to step away from success.

Chef Roux Jr, at the height of his career, is closing the restaurant because he feels that now is the right time to “to turn the page and move forward.” He specifically states a better “work-life balance.”

“I have always felt that should Le Gavroche ever close, it must be on a high. Le Gavroche continues to be fully booked, week in, week out, but I have known for a while that I must make time for a better work/life balance, so I can spend more time with my family and on my other business ventures.”

Those of you who loved Seinfeld back in the day may remember being shocked that it was going off the air. Jerry Seinfeld chose to end the show at its peak. Because he wanted to go out when it was a legend, not when it started to tank. He wanted the legend to be remembered.

Both cases highlight the challenge of knowing when to say goodbye, especially when you’re at the peak of your career.

But, it’s hard to do, isn’t it?

Certainly, deciding whether to leave your career or a project at a high point is a significant and often complex decision. Here are ten crucial factors to consider when making this choice:

Personal Fulfillment

Reflect on whether your current career or project still brings you personal fulfillment and satisfaction. Is it aligning with your values, interests, and long-term goals?

Work-Life Balance

Evaluate your work-life balance. Consider whether staying at the current peak could compromise your quality of life, health, or time with loved ones.

Passion and Motivation

Assess your level of passion and motivation for the work. If your enthusiasm is waning, it may be an indicator that it’s time for a change.

Long-Term Goals

Think about your long-term career or life goals. Will staying at the peak help you achieve them, or is there something else you’d rather pursue?

Legacy and Reputation

Consider how leaving at a high point will impact your legacy and professional reputation. Will it leave a lasting positive impression on those you’ve worked with and your industry?

Financial Stability

Ensure you have a financial safety net in place before making a transition. Leaving at a high point may involve financial adjustments, so plan accordingly.

Market Conditions

Analyze the current market conditions in your industry. Are there signs of change or potential challenges that may affect your career or project’s sustainability?

Alternative Opportunities

Explore what other opportunities are available to you. Leaving at a high point can open doors to exciting new ventures or challenges.

Emotional Preparedness

Assess your emotional readiness to move on. Leaving something successful can be emotionally challenging, so ensure you’re mentally prepared for the transition.


Seek advice from trusted mentors, colleagues, or career advisors. They can provide valuable insights and perspectives to help you make an informed decision.

Remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to saying goodbye at a high point. Your decision should be based on a combination of these factors and your unique circumstances. Ultimately, it’s about finding the right balance between professional success and personal fulfillment.

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