Since we were little we’ve heard the phrase: “Winners never quit and quitters never win!” Could throwing up our hands and saying those awful words be a good thing?
How often do you see or hear the following words and messages?
“NEVER GIVE UP!”
“YOU CAN DO IT!”
“HANG IN THERE!”
In many situations–on the ball field, during piano practice, preparing for a spelling test–these words have been stationed in the back of our brains screaming at us, urging us on for a long, long time. But is that ALWAYS the best advice? In many instances, persistence does pay off. We can all agree on that. But there are times, according to John Maxwell, that we should simply quit.
When to Quit
- Quit something you don’t do well to start something you do well.
- Quit something you’re not passionate about to do something that fills you with passion.
- Quit something that doesn’t make a difference to do something that does.
If you read those statements carefully, you will see he shows us that it comes down to the reason we are doing something. If there is a benefit that is significant to you or others, by all means persist. But if what you are doing is an exercise in stubborn determination just to let it go, give it up!
For instance, a friend who is a prolific reader recently told me how she had given herself permission to not finish a book. She loves reading and learning, but a book she didn’t like had turned her enjoyment and curiosity into a battle of will. So she decided to simply let go. It took a little toll on her pride she said, but not for long. That little catch was replaced with a new feeling of power and freedom. She has since “quit” several books and never looked back.
Sometimes, just sometimes, we DO know what is best for us.
Other times, as I have learned as a business coach, we need someone else to point out to us that we would be better off quitting something. We, like my friend, need to be given permission to stop doing something that really is not going to be a win in the end anyway. All too often we run our lives according to the rules forced upon us by others such as parents, teachers, society, etc.
In one of my favorite books, The Four Agreements, by don Miguel Ruiz, he clearly shows how we create and/or accept the rules of our lives according to what others say and set forth. We AGREE to them. We acquiesce in full faith that they are right. But maybe those rules are not accurate or correct. He provides four rules we can agree to that would create the framework for a well-lived life:
The Four Agreements
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Do your best.
They seem very simple and straightforward, but if you adopt them, you will see how complex and difficult it can sometimes be to live by these four, short rules.
How Quitting Applies to Your Business
I am not going to tell you to quit or shut your business down. No, far from it! There is something really special about successful entrepreneurs. You may call it rebelliousness or individualism, but I simply believe they think for themselves. They take in information by reading, watching and talking and then they THINK about it. Then they decide what and how to apply the result of their thinking.
They pull inspiration and knowledge from the experiences and examples of others, but then they make it their own. Successful entrepreneurs are not simply copycats. They are trailblazers! That’s why their mission, their passion, and their purpose are so clear. It is all their own. Today, listen, think and decide what’s best for you. Even if it involves a quit or two. You will, no doubt, be ahead!