“Never, ever, ever give up.”
At least until it’s time to quit.
Quitting gets a bad rap. You know all the negative sayings, like “Quitters never win…” Well, they’re only half true.
It’s very motivating to hear that you should plow on in the face of adversity and dogged determination is a great trait to have, especially as an entrepreneur.
Tenacious leaders are more successful than those who cave at the first sign of resistance. They often win by simply persisting when those with less commitment give up. “Never give up on your goals” is popular advice from successful entrepreneurs.
But is that always good advice?
Why would I suggest quitting?
Society applauds winners and implies that everyone else is inferior, so there is a real stigma in quitting. However, what many “go get ’em, win at all costs” types don’t realize is that knowing when to quit is a highly under-rated leadership skill.
In the words of the famous Kenny Rogers song, you’ve got to…
Know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run
– The Gambler
As painful it is to admit defeat, hanging on to a losing hand prevents you from moving on to something better.
When should an entrepreneur quit?
“When should I give up?” is a tough question. The answer depends on the circumstances, and whether you’re considering quitting your business, or simply quitting something that takes up too much time and energy, with little return.
Here are a few examples to consider:
Are you serving on a board that is so mismanaged or misguided that your contributions will never bear fruit? Your efforts will be put to better use elsewhere.
Is that project you’ve been pursuing so hard proving more elusive – and expensive – than you ever imagined it would be? Invest your time and money in something with more potential.
Are you bored to tears with your current position? You’re not helping anyone if you’ve mentally checked out. Take your body with you and go do something you enjoy.
Has your business lost its luster? If you don’t feel fulfilled and eager to face the day when you wake up in the morning, it’s time to make some adjustments.
Is a partnership consistently failing to bear fruit? If you can’t make it work, do each other a favor and part ways.
Does a relationship with an employee, client or vendor cost you more emotional energy than you can afford? Confront the issue head on, with a clear exit path if things don’t improve.
These are just some of the situations when cutting your losses can be the right choice. Don’t bail out too soon, but be assertive and make the call quickly when you see it’s time.
If you don’t quit when you know you should, the outcome usually get worse. Allowing a bad situation to fester results in lost momentum and damages your future prospects.
Strategic quitting is an art. Knowing when it’s time to quit and making the tough choice to do so is a sign of strength and leadership. Doing it elegantly, without leaving a trail of destruction behind takes even more finesse.
If you decide to quit, don’t beat yourself up for “failing.” Taking control and making decisions that serve your best interests is never failure, it’s a step forward.
Great leaders quit all the time. They simply stop doing things that don’t work, and focus on things that do.
So go ahead, quit something today.
Image by Korry B.
Are you a quitter? Share your story of how it led to greater success in the comments below.