Thank You, Steven Tyler: How to Know When It’s Time For You to Go

Rocker Steven Tyler announced last week that he is leaving American Idol after two years.

His press release said, “I’ve decided it’s time for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my rabbit. I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I’m back — but instead of begging on my hands and knees, I’ve got two fists in the air and I’m kicking the door open with my band.”

Clearly, having your rabbit boiled is a bad thing and to be avoided.

While we don’t know the details of the contract negotiations, he is exiting after benefiting greatly from being on American Idol, still one of the top rated shows on television in spite of some recent declines.

Leaving before his time

His two-year stint as the naughty rock star clearly gave him a big career boost, and, a broader audience. If his goals were to elevate his career, keep his music relevant to younger generations, and build the interest for an upcoming Aerosmith world tour – he can check those boxes. And, his personality added some fun and unpredictability to a familiar format.  No rabbit even came close to being boiled.

Tyler is leaving at the top of his game. He wasn’t a perfect fit for American Idol, but he made it better by not losing himself. He took a big risk by trying something new with high risk and reward, and some hard-core Aerosmith fans wondered what he was doing there.

Yet, he left Idol fans a little disappointed that he’s going so soon. There’s probably a lesson in that for all of us.

When we have achieved our goals in our current job or company, it’s time to ask the question if it’s time to go.

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What to ask if you think you should go

Here are a few questions to consider when making these decisions:

  • Have I reached my goals here?
  • How will my future here contrast with what I’ve already done?
  • Does my success here help me do something else I want to do more than carrying on in this situation?
  • What’s keeping me here?
  • Am I still growing and learning?

I think Steven Tyler’s example is to make changes toward our goals at times of success, not when you are on your back foot and the options are few.

And, that success is no reason to stop pushing for the dream.

Follow Steven’s lead and Dream On before your rabbit is boiled.

This was originally published on PeopleResult’s Current blog.

Patti Johnson is the CEO of PeopleResults, a change and organizational development consulting firm she founded in 2004. She is the author of newly released "Make Waves: Be the One to Start Change at Work and in Life." Patti and her team advise clients such as PepsiCo, Microsoft, 7-Eleven, Accenture, Frito-Lay and many others on creating positive change in their leaders and organizations. Previously a Senior Executive at Accenture. Patti is an instructor on change for SMU Executive Education and for the Bush Institute Women’s Initiative, as well as a keynote speaker on change and leadership.


6 Comments on “Thank You, Steven Tyler: How to Know When It’s Time For You to Go

  1. What great questions to ask! 
    I find many people know it’s time to go but aren’t sure what to do next. Or they fear what’s next may not be as good as the status quo. 

  2. Who knew Steven Tyler’s experience could translate into career advice?  Thanks for making the connection for us Patti!

    1. Yes, never thought of Steven as a career mentor – but seriously. Sometimes it’s time to go after you have accomplished your goals and you have other plans. Thanks, Martha.

    1. True! You never know about JLo – both of them got big career boosts from being on that show. Thanks for the comments, Julie

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