Sunsetting is one of those weird English words the grows out of the business and technology worlds. As its root word suggests, it means slowly dimming, phasing out, turning off, computer applications, government programs, meetings — anything really. Sunsetting is also a very important concept to consider in your own life and work. Sometimes you need to sunset one project, job, etc in order to let new projects grow. Old encumbrances can limit the time and energy available for new projects, new growth, and new ideas. No matter how long you have done something, there will come a time when it is time to sunset the project and move on to something new. Otherwise, you risk stalling your life and work — freezing both at this point in time.
I will be the first to admit that I am absolutely horrible at sunsetting. I find it very difficult and traumatizing, even as I understand the need for it. I am struggling with sunsetting several long-running projects — one running almost 20 years — and I find myself getting quite emotional over it. Even though this project has not brought in any income for over 6 years — and only brought in minimal income before — I find it hard to let go. I still some benefit to myself and — more importantly — to others, but I think it is time to put it to bed.
Kaka’ako Sunset, Honolulu, HI
This “benefit to others” trap is one I find myself embroiled in constantly. I have often said that “I am at my best when I am helping others,” but the cold, hard, facts of life is that helping others doesn’t pay that well. Heck, most times it isn’t even appreciated, but there is such a “high” when that one person tells you how much you have helped, you keep wanting to do it. You are always looking for balance between helping others and helping yourself, but I always find myself erring on the side of others, to my detriment. I can’t seem to help myself. I just seem to be made that way. I don’t have the cold calculation necessary to play career and business hardball. This has — and always well — curb my success. I’m not sure anything could ever be done about it. It seems an intrinsic part of my DNA, so I can only adapt and find ways of coping — like sunsetting those projects that no longer make sense.
I often wonder how my life might have been different had I found a partner — business, not life partner — that could have handled the monetization of my work and let me concentrate on what I did best. Things would have probably turned out much differently. This is why it is so important to find and work with others that complement you own skills. You each need your own areas of focus and impact so that all the business bases are covered. I have always found myself working alone, though. While I am sure I have some idiosyncrasies that make me a bit difficult to work with, I also think that those driven, others would much rather work on their own projects than assist me with mine. That only makes sense, of course.
So, I have another couple of months before I need to make any hard sunsetting decisions, but I am feeling the need more and more each day. Not sure what the future will hold without this project. Maybe it will open up some space for something new to emerge.
Previously on End of the Day:
- Summer is finally here! – End of the Day for June 4, 2014
- My Favorite Musicals – End of the Day for June 3, 2014
- Going without cable television — if not cable Internet – End of the Day for June 2, 2014
- Is anyone out there listening? – End of the Day for June 1, 2014
- End of the Day for May 2014
- End of the Day for April 2014
- End of the Day for March 2014
- End of the Day for February 2014
- End of the Day for January 2014