📻 — Permission Granted: It’s Entirely Okay to Quit That Community (For Everyone’s Sake)

This is your Community, Daily.

Reading Time: ~ 4 min.

Good morning yenizens!

This is a quick but important issue — one that everyone talks about but very few folks really talk about. You see, you and I have TOO MANY (SLACK) GROUPS and we need a bit of “spring cleaning” — you feel me?

This isn’t about shitting on “bad” communities as you log out of their spaces while making a scene — do not do that — it’s about focusing your time and attention and making 2021 the best year of your life.

I’m not even joking. This is about you, your mental health, and you accomplishing the goals that you have that you weren’t able to really attack in the year of 2020.

And, let’s be intellectually honest for a moment, shall we? Last year you and I joined way too many of these (free / paid) communities. It was fun for a hot-minute. But, it’s a lot of mental and cognitive spend, don’t you think?

We should be sober about this: 2021 is the year where we see things more clearly,  more precisely, and we live more intentionally to align our (business / community) goals with the right resources that are going to help us get really there.

Community fatigue is real folks; you and I know it. This isn’t anyone’s fault.

Remember: The value of a community changes as you change! This is as it should be and it’s not an objectively negative thing; it’s just how life works.

Consequently, as you change and as your business & community goals change; you should be actively pruning, curating, and paring down your list so that you can focus and kick serious ass.

How to Quit a Community without Shitting on Everyone on the Way Out

I just practiced the fine art of “not shitting on your friends” with 6 Slack Groups this morning. Yes, I was way over-subscribed! My fault, seriously. I couldn’t help myself last year.

Community is one helluva drug.

Here’s one note that I sent one of the founders of a Slack Community:

I’m not sharing this to put myself up as the “paragon” of community quitters (although I have been called a “serial quitter” before!) but as one example of how I do it. In gist, I use the same general flow and principles that one might use to resign from a professional role.

A few top-line thoughts:

  1. Stay positive — You gain nothing by being an asshole.

  2. Speak your truth — Be honest; this is your last chance to share what you believe is important. Use simple language. No lies.

  3. Engage leadership / founder first — Start with the leader / founder of the community because they are the ones that are owed it the most.

  4. Be encouraging — It’s likely that you did receive some meaningful value; I always do! So, be gracious and share that encouragement because building community-centric projects / products is really hard!

  5. Leave an option for more(if you want) — Some people like to drop their “feedback” and then ghost; I think that’s lame. Instead, if you feel inclined, offer to provide more feedback but only if they want it. A lot of times, they are not interested for very reasonable justifications.

The last note is important because just like in professional settings you always want to be able to provide space and time for an “Exit Interview” if both parties are interested in that arrangement. But, that might be “too much” for a Slack community or group as it’s not entirely the same thing. You’ll have to make that call differently per situation.

Things that I do not (usually) do:

  1. Announce my exit publicly — I’m not sure this ever has the outcomes that people really want (or maybe it does, but, it’s almost-always a mess).

  2. Publicly shit on them — Unless there’s an obviously legal or moral or ethical lined crossed, just leave it alone. If no one is getting hurt or harmed, then, it’s okay to just shut tf up. Community is hard enough without #cancelculture — don’t contribute to it.

Finally, two really important things:

  1. When you do it this way, you maximize the chance of a positive “exit” and you leave the door wide open for returning! Communities change just like people and there are many times when I’ll come back to a community that has changed, evolved, or that is a better fit for my goals.

  2. Community was never really about you! When you leave, you create positive space for others to take larger and more meaningful roles within the community! In fact, you leaving might just be the BEST THING that you can do for that community! It could be the “gift” that the community needs most; a bit counter-intuitive, but, it’s true.

This is why you leave in a positive way, all the time. We all on the same team, at the end of the day, and despite our many (many!) differences, we’re all trying to help people connect deeply and meaningfully with others on the internet — we’re not “competing” or “stealing members” — we’re creating more spaces for more people to find places where they can have a real and authentic sense of belonging.

What our parents told us is true: You can’t please everyone. So, it’s okay to stop trying. Be amazing for your true believers; that’s how great communities start… … but sometimes we forget that as we grow.

To infinity & community,

— john

I have no idea why a “crab” makes any sense with the featured image but that’s how I was feeling today yeniverse! Maybe I am feeling a bit “crabby” myself; who knows.

Grateful for the smaller cohorts that we’re running for #yenED! We’ve got two live workshops where I’d love to teach you everything I know about building profitable businesses & communities.