Do you know when enough is enough?
It is an absurdly difficult question….
You pour your heart and soul into something and yet it isn’t working… Do you keep on trying or do you pull the plug?
If you get it wrong it can be a disaster…
Seth Godin wrote a great little book called The Dip all about this – according to him the real secret to success is knowing when to quit.
Vince Lombardi, the famous American football coach from the 60’s who bizarrely even a Brit with no understanding of American football has heard of, apparently said: “Quitters never win and winners never quit.”
Unfortunately I think that this was advice I took to much to heart in my earlier career and found myself doing certain things for far longer than I should have done not wanting to be seen as a quitter….
So when should you quit?
It does depend rather on what it is you are quitting.
Bad habits – the sooner the better
Smoking for example, I believe the sooner you quit the better.
Sadly I think that Vince’s maxim about quitters is part of the reason I failed to stop smoking for 26 years and significant amounts of money – which is I appreciate about as stupid as smoking at all…
Other things really need a lot more thought before you decide to make your exit…
When should you quit a job for example? It does depend slightly on why you are quitting, but for me you should quit a job when you have something better to replace it – if you are quitting a job to start your own business, the best advice always seems to say: “Start your own business, whilst at your job and then when the new business starts to make enough money to replace the income from the job, then this is the time to quit.”
This seems sensible and in most cases it is.
I read somewhere when doing research for this article that if something is meant to be fun, but you just aren’t enjoying it then that is invariably a good rule to quit. This doesn’t strike me as true. As an example if you are training for a marathon, everyone will tell you that during your marathon you will hit what is called the wall, and this is when it stops being enjoyable… indeed it is when most people who are going to quit do so, but this is not when you should quit – you need to push on through to the end.
It seems to me that often times through struggle comes great success… but at the same time as in the Marathon example there are times when you definitely should quit your run… because to carry on could cause significant damage or injury. Now the great thing about a Marathon is that if you are injured but want to carry on there will be doctors or medical staff around who will be able to advise you as to what you can do…
And this I think is the crux of when you should give up.
You need to take advice from those capable of giving you that advice, so talk to people and lay your cards on the table and get their take.
If you don’t know anyone qualified to give you that advice then set out the pros and cons of sticking with it, or quitting – sleep on it, think about it some more and ultimately have the courage of your convictions and decide whether to quit or stay.
And remember winners do quit all the time.