I’ve been rereading Seth Godin’s The Dip, which if you haven’t read it is about when you should quit—and quit fast. And about moving through the ‘dip’ that can occur during the lifetime of a project/goal/challenge.
It got me thinking about a long-term project I’ve been working on and how, although I hadn’t quit officially, in my mind I think I had. I avoided that project by consuming all my time working on other things; it forever fell by the wayside.
Sound familiar? Even though I had quit in my mind, I knew I hadn’t given it my all, so I enlisted outside help to see if we could give it the boost and recognition it deserved (while resurrecting it in my mind).
A funny thing happened; a milestone was finally reached and now I’ve unquit. Do I still have those niggly little ‘quit’ thoughts? Yes I do, but I’ve decided now the project has some momentum, I would be doing all of my prior hard work a disservice to ‘quit’ now.
What’s my lesson? Yes, sometimes you should quit; often our energy is spent on projects/goals/challenges that, if we weren’t so stubborn, we would have quit long ago. And it’s also about pride—pride in finishing (and in our minds ‘not failing’).
Reality, though, is a different story. Often if we chose to quit earlier, we could move onto and concentrate our focus on those projects/goals/challenges that do deliver what we need. Quitting is not failing; it’s a very smart choice.
That said, it can be difficult to know when to quit and when to push through the dip. It’s different for all of us, but often your gut will tell you what you should be quitting – and when. There is a different gut feel for something that should be stopped altogether, to something that has just hit a dip—a difficult hurdle—and needs to be pushed through.
This is not scientific (for me at least), but I do know that checking in with your gut can link you to your true subconscious emotion about something. Check in, see what your true feeling is and then decide what to do. Sometimes, if we mistake a hurdle for the time to quit, we can miss out on the summit that was only a few steps away.
Have you hit a dip or should you be quitting?