In a perfect world, everything in your life; your job, your relationship, your passion projects, even your friends and family dynamics, would be there totally on purpose. Each aspect of your life would be carefully curated to serve, nourish and help you grow.
But in reality, we inherit more than we choose, or we find that the choices we made no longer fit. You wake up and find yourself in the same place, yet you are somewhat changed. On top of that. people and situations aren’t stationary, they change as well. You may discover that certain things are simply no longer working for you.
Knowing when to quit or commit is especially hard when it comes to things you did passionately pursue. You know it’s what you want, or wanted, but the road to get there looks different then you thought it would, and when you arrive, you don’t feel the way you hoped.
In Seth Godin’s book The Dip, he details how knowing when to quit, or when to stick, is actually the key to success. If you or your project has hit a roadblock, how do you know if this is simply a dip or a dead end?
First, by examining the stumbling block; the feeling or the challenge that is causing you to question your commitment in the first place. This does NOT mean obsess over your issues or dwell on the problem but rather take a step back and really observe the situation. Is it internal self-doubt about striking out on your own or are you receiving hard data that tells you that the idea or execution isn’t working? Is this project detracting from your real passion, or is it a part of the process to pursue what you really want?
Second, by measuring feedback and performance and thinking long-term, to determine whether this is the end of the road or the dip before the upsurge.
Sometimes quitting is an easy choice. The thought of quitting lights you up, and the thought of not makes you miserable, dreading the next day.
When situations aren’t so cut and dry, however, you might need some strategies to determine whether you need to quit, or you actually need to dig in. In Grit, Angela Duckworth, a New York Times bestselling psychologist, details the key factor that determines success: grit, a blend of passion and persistence. Grit is the ability to work through challenges, maintain your stamina, and adopt a growth mindset – the belief that the ability to learn is not fixed; it can change with effort.
Check out her TED Talk here.
Quitting when the going gets rough, or because you’re scared you’re not capable is not, as Marie Forleo describes, harnessing the power of positive quitting. Sometimes quitting is absolutely the right thing to do; you’ll feel better, your business will perform better, and you’ll give yourself back some valuable time.
If the project is not serving your ultimate goals, then cut your losses and move on!
Explore how you want to feel and whether achieving this goal or completing this project will produce that desired feeling. If not, then maybe it’s time to quit and make room for something that lights you up.
Marie gives us two strategies to use when you’re still not sure –
The Ten Year Test.
In ten years are you going to regret quitting this particular endeavor? Is this what Danielle LaPorte calls a “goal with soul” – something that once accomplished will make you feel how you want to feel? If so, then it is worth digging in and summoning all the grit you can muster. But if this is this just a stop along the journey, one that will not stand the test of time in terms of significance it may be time to let it go. But if ten years from now, you’ll look back on your decision to quit with regret, then re-commit, this time for the long haul.
Ask For Guidance.
Don’t underestimate the power of prayer and meditation. Sometimes you just have to submit to a higher power, ask for help and be open to receive the answer. A lot of times we are looking for confirmation, rather than genuine guidance. If you know the answer that you seek, then why are you still looking? Pay attention to what you ask, you might be putting the answer you want right in the question.
A lot of the time, the things we want most are hard to acquire but the hard work they require makes them all the more worthwhile. They draw out different facets of our personality we may not know we have. If you don’t hang on, you might quit right before your big break.