When is enough, enough? You know the feeling. You’ve been working at a project or committed yourself to a specific goal and you feel that you are going nowhere. You’re not seeing results, you’re wasting time, money and lots of energy. Your stress level continues to mount and yet you’re still determined to go on because you want to experience some feeling of accomplishment or glimmer of hope that will keep you motivated to proceed. Besides the fact that you most likely deep down have a need to prove to yourself that you can do it. Let’s be honest, your ego has its part in this too. After all, it wants to look good so you continue to hang in there in order to save face. Combine this with a belief that quitting is not an option, and you have a recipe for misery.
The truth is quitting is an option. But just as you have to know when to hold ‘em, you also have to know when to fold ‘em and that is a key determining factor. And that’s the piece that can be difficult since we believe we must try harder in order to get results. It’s also hard to walk away when we’re not sure if we’re giving up too easily or too soon, especially since we have so much already invested.
Understand that your commitments and goals come in many forms. Whether you’re an individual working on a particular career goal or on a difficult intimate relationship, or a corporation undertaking a new manufacturing method, it’s essential to evaluate the benefit of continuing onward or bailing out depending on the exact details and nature of the circumstances.
Let’s use the following example: You accept a job in another field that is closely related to your previous career. However, this new job doesn’t quite fit your personality. You work very hard at it and continue to feel out of sorts. You’re not accomplishing the tasks up to your skill level and you’re starting to feel inadequate in the process. You’ve already invested lots of time in training and yet all along you feel that you’re not making a difference. If you were to continue, you may lose out even more as other areas of your life may start to suffer since most of your energy and focus have been on this unworkable situation. It’s at this point that you realize things will not get better until you take action, and so you decide to quit after finding another position that better suits you.
Using this example, you can see that when you continually work at something for a significant amount of time without witnessing results you are left with extreme frustration and the feeling of being ineffective. So much so that your stress level becomes unmanageable and you wind up expending lots of energy trying to make something work that’s just not the right thing for you.
We all need to feel a sense of accomplishment and that we are moving forward productively. We must be able to register some degree of success in our mind, no matter how small in order to feel positive and energized to go the distance. When this doesn’t happen over time, we become depleted emotionally and physically making it difficult to continue. At some point, we must be willing to stop the madness and take action by letting go of our need to chase after a goal that only leads to frustration.
With this in mind, you must either modify the goal or be willing to change your action steps, or both. When you evaluate the situation you need to look at what’s working and what’s not working. Ask yourself, how you feel about continuing to go after this goal. What’s it worth to you? As you come to the realization that for whatever reason, the timing of things may not be right in so much as you’re not ready in your own personal development to achieve and/or receive this particular goal. However, by letting go of what isn’t working allows something better to come along, which may be perfectly suited for you at this time. So it’s important to be open to a new path or opportunity that may present itself.
In some instances, it will make sense to just throw in the towel and start over with a totally new commitment. It’s at this point when you decide that it’s time to quit and accept this fact. And yet, there will be other instances where it makes sense to salvage a few key aspects while modifying the method or project overall. The important concept here is that you feel that you have a choice in the matter. This can make all the difference in the world with how you feel internally. When you give yourself options including the permission to quit, you feel empowered with a sense of control over your life. Without this option, you feel emotionally powerless, drained energetically and lacking the impetus to proceed ahead. You have the power to decide what mindset is more productive and supportive, and then act accordingly.
In summary, despite the well-meaning messages that we may have internalized from our parents, there are situations in fact where it’s okay to quit and choose another course. Keep that in mind when it comes to teaching children about commitment and goal achievement. There are never absolutes, but with proper evaluation and assessment we can come to an understanding of what’s best for us in the long run.
To your success on your own terms!
For more articles on personal growth visit http://www.phoenixlifecoaching.net/thought_action_arch.html
Robin Gardner, CEC
President / Certified Empowerment Coach
Phoenix Life Coaching