Sometimes the best way to succeed is to toss in the towel.
While it may seem counterintuitive, successful people know that, occasionally, you need to cut your losses and move on. The problem, of course, is knowing when to persevere and when to say “enough is enough.”
We’ve all been to that crazy-making place – when we can’t achieve the goal we’ve set for ourselves. We bang our heads against the wall, over and over, wondering why nothing is working. And therein lies the answer, in its simplest form: nothing is working. This in itself should be a clue!
But we humans are a stubborn lot. No one wants to be labeled a quitter. Plus, there’s that “ego” thing going on too. Chances are, we’ve gathered a bit of a following among our friends and family – people who are aware of the goal we’ve set and who are cheering us on. If we walk away, not only do we have to deal with our feelings of failure, we have to answer to this crowd of well-wishers. How do we explain our decision without losing face?
It helps to remember that all successful people have had to scrap a long-held dream at one time or another. It helps even more to have the tools to confidently decide when to walk away. What are some of the things to look for if you think it’s time to cut your losses and walk?
It’s Not Working
The fact that the plans you set in motion to achieve your goal are not working is your first indicator. Maybe all you need to do is re-design your strategy. Tweaking your program here and there may be enough to get the energy flowing in the right direction again. But if you’ve reached a point where no amount of adjusting brings results, you’ve arrived at the head-banging stage.
The key here is to be honest with yourself. Are you persevering because you have new, fresh ideas to move the project along? Or are you persevering because you are afraid or embarrassed to admit your plan isn’t working? We can be our own worst enemy at this juncture. It takes courage to face reality, but the payoff (the freedom to move on with your life) is huge.
Are You Starting to Feel Like a Victim?
Surprisingly, we often begin to feel like a victim when a goal we’ve set is not materializing. At first, we felt excited and inspired as we poured our energy into our project. Now, however, moving the project along has become drudgery – more like a punishment than an exciting challenge. Successful people know they have choices – they do not allow themselves to be a victim. If you find yourself feeling victimized, this is a huge wake up call. Never forget that you are in charge of your life and goals – not the other way around!
Understand the Difference
The decision to cut your losses, let go of a goal, and move on with your life is never an easy one. We grapple with the pros and cons and worry that we might be giving up too easily. Maybe success is just around the corner; if we can only hang on one more month, one more year....whatever.
So, what’s the difference between letting go (so that you can move on) versus giving up (quitting when the going gets tough)? How do you know if you’re making the right decision? In large measure, it boils down to the work you’ve done in making your decision. Have you thought it through? Is your decision to move on a conscious one, based on logical analysis? If so, you will feel empowered, and this is key. Even though you may have regret, underneath you know that you’ve given it your best shot and you are not a failure. You value the lessons learned and realize that sometimes the lesson is its own reward.