WHEN TO QUIT
I think one of the most valuable lessons every entrepreneur can learn is how to quit. Quitting is not the same as giving up. Giving up is when you say “this is too hard, i can’t handle it, I’m done trying”.
You’re not a giving upper. But it is okay, totally healthy, and encouraged actually, to quit things. Quitting is when you say, “I tried this, I learned a lot from it, and I’m going to make an educated decision about whether I’m going to keep going or stop.”
Too often we just blaze full speed ahead without taking the time to pause and say, “is this working for me? Is it fulfilling me? Is it helping me to meet my long-term goals? Maybe it is working just fine…but, could there be a better way to do it?”
One of the biggest barriers to letting go of something that’s not working is vulnerability. We see quitting as a sign of weakness. If you quit, you’re just not good enough. Not talented enough. Not everything enough. But thats not true.
Quitting isn’t a sign of weakness, its a sign of self-awareness. Smart people quit. Smart people pivot. Smart, talented people try a lot of different things. Some that work and some that don’t, but most importantly, they know when to push, when to pause, and when to pivot.
So when is it time to keep going, and when do you throw in the towel? Here’s a handy guide to help you make the right call with confidence.
Question 1: Does it add value to my life?
Is the project, product, or business you’re working on add value to your life? Does it make you money, give you more time, or improve your health and happiness? If it does and it’s something you’re excited to be working on, KEEP GOING.
Question 2: If it doesn’t, will it in the next 3-6 months?
Obviously there’s exceptions to this rule, but if something isn’t adding value to your life, and you can’t see a clear path that it will begin adding value in the near future, you should reconsider why you’re doing it in the first place.
Question 3: Will it make other people’s lives better?
If the project you’re working on adds value to your life, or hopefully will soon, the next question I always ask myself is, does it make other people’s lives better, too? If it’s not making your life better and other people’s lives better, that’s a pretty clear sign it’s time to call it quits so you can spend time doing something that does.
Question 4: Am I giving up something better to do it?
A lot of times we’re so focused on the good that can come from this one project in front of us, that we forget about everything we’re giving up to do it. Yes, you’ve worked hard on this, yes, it’s bringing some value to your life and others—but is it taking up space for something even better? If it is, consider letting it go so something better can come in it’s place.
Question 5: Is it pushing me to grow?
What if you aren’t really giving up anything better? One of the best lessons I’ve learned is that some things aren’t about outcomes and results, but personal growth. Maybe this project is hard, maybe it’s not super successful, but if you’re not giving up something better, maybe this is exactly where you need to be. Get to work and know this experience will prepare you for something better.
Here’s a quick test to help you decide if it’s time to quit or work harder.