You work hard. You create an unstoppable team. You build your culture, you nurture each other and together you grow. But eventually, almost without exception unless you make her a business partner, some of your most valuable team members will chose to leave, to spread their wings and become business owners themselves or join other companies promising more opportunity.
It's the type of entrepreneurial spirit you hope to foster in your company, and model for those around you. But it still makes you just as sad when a treasured team member tells you she's taking the plunge.
Trust me. I know. It happened again yesterday morning. On top of the fact that it was Monday morning, and five degrees outside, as soon as she walked in my door, I knew what was coming and it wouldn't be good for me. But it's great news for her. She's starting a business, the business of her dreams. After six years under my wing, she's flying the nest. Hopefully I've given her strong roots in the world of business and now she's ready to fly.
The measure of a successful entrepreneur is how many people she impacts in a positive way - and by how her legacy is spread and supported by the people she's nurtured and grown along the way. In our business, real estate, we've had four rounds of layoffs. Each person we've had to let go hurts and leaves a hole in the culture of our business. It's the same, too, when someone chooses to move on.
It's never easy to say good bye - whether it's because of a financial necessity or because an employee decides to move on. When days like this happen to you - and they do and they are - remind yourself of the strength of your personal brand. About the things you are passionate about, and what has made you proudest as you mentored your team member who is moving on. Tell her how special she is, and how she has changed your life. Never be upset because she's found her wings. There is room in the sky for everyone to soar.
And then always, always, give yourself a hug and know it's going to be OK. Your personal brand is growing stronger everyday. Especially now, through the tears of good bye, if you allow it.