Americans hate quitting.
Except for smoking, we don’t typically celebrate quitters. It’s ingrained in our social fabric, our mores, and our national character. A recent America’s Cup race had Oracle Team USA trailing by a margin of 8-1. The New Zealand team only needed one win to clinch it. It would have been easy, almost understandable, for the Oracle team to simply give up. The odds were overwhelming.
But they didn’t quit.
And the rest is history.
3 Good Reasons to Quit
Yet, in business, there are times when one really should quit. Because sometimes “quitting” is simply a strategic maneuver to a better position in life, a re-alignment of one’s actions with one’s abilities and passion.
There are three good reasons to quit if you are a business owner:
1. You’re in the “wrong” business.
“Risk means everything from being honest about your faith, to moving, to quitting a job that’s paying you a fortune but it’s not what’s in your heart. Risking things is one of the biggest fears we have.” – John Tesh
Many times I have encountered well-intentioned and passionate business owners who are frustrated because they come to realize that they really don’t care all that much for what they do. Their business is good and even honorable, but they wake up one day and realize that their heart is not in it – that they have no genuine passion for it. And they fell trapped.
2. You’ve realized that you are not an entrepreneur.
“I’m quitting the business today. I’m going to open up an appliance store; I’ve always really been into toasters. I’m giving it all up.” – Dane Cook
Okay, so we like to think that anyone can start a business with the right product or service, a real market, and some help. But starting a business or even being a “business owner” does not an entrepreneur make! And the revelation often comes crashing in on the owner that they are not. Panic begins to set in, courses are taken, books get read, and still they find that they are not entrepreneurial – nor do they want to be!
3. You’ve achieved your vision and need to move on.
“Quitting law school was the most difficult decision of my life. But I felt this great relief that this is my life and I can do what I want with it.” – Carly Fiorina
Non-profits and other organizations sometimes suffer from what is called “mission creep”. They have either achieved their objectives, but can’t seem to wrap it up and close it down, or they “creep” into other areas, products, services, crusades, etc. and work furiously to keep the machine running.
Business owners can do the same. But once you have “arrived”, so to speak, it may be time to exercise your option to step down, move on, and do something else.
Changing Direction Can Mean Abandoning a Goal
Another reason that we don’t like “quitting” is because it seems to violate something innate in our being – a sense of incompleteness, or frustration. Having a goal before us, especially one we have struggled and labored for years to achieve, can leave us feeling devoid of closure if not achieved.
But goals are often simply constructs that only exist in our minds and spirits. Letting go of one goal only to pursue another is largely a psychological task that requires intentionality and focus.
Or, more properly, a shift in focus.
The key is to learn that we are not “quitting”, but changing course, redirecting, and shifting our focus. When your conscious will is re-set, your emotions and spirit will soon follow. The mistake is made in falling prey to some form of pride that refuses to “give up” a pursuit because of the fear of looking or feeling like a failure.
Sometimes it is simply time to stop and move on. Ask Michael Jordan and Brett Favre.
If you are looking to deepen your leadership skills, develop a better company culture, or improve your company’s customer service, drop me an email and we can set up a time to chat. I’d love to hear from you.
1-707-837-5796, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org