I read some comments this week about quitting. IT inspired me to pull up a post I wrote a while back about the very topic.
One of my mentors, Seth Godin advocates that there’s a big difference between winners and losers.
Winners have the innate ability to escape dead ends quickly, while staying focused and motivated on what matters and more importantly, when it really counts.
Yesterday I spoke at the University of Texas in El Paso. As a part of the seminar class, I was invited to give my wisdom on my career. I told the students two things I've learned:
1. Smart doesn't cut it anymore. You need to be FEARLESS. (Another post, another day)
2. There's a line between what matters and what you can control. It's very narrow but you most focus on it to be successful. (And that winning sometimes means you quit doing things that don't MATTER!)
One of the consequences of selling ourselves out to doing too much is that we will not leave any legacy, or at least not the one we want– at least not “ours”.
Many organizations and people have become overloaded with the tremendous urge to do more and be winners at everything. (In an up turn this is what causes organizations to lack focus and waste money and grow where they may ought to stay put. For individuals it can cause us to STRESS out putting undue pressure on ourselves.) Here's my thought:
- More is not better.
- More is the status quo.
- More is mediocre.
- More is hard to measure.
- More takes more time.
- Winners know when to quit.
For those Millennials out there who weren’t old enough to try it, the Coca-Cola Company introduced New Coke in 1985. It was an absolute marketing failure that led to an outrage by consumers. The company managed to bring back the original formula and brand it as Coca-Cola Classic and dominate market share for the best cola in the world. Coke quit. They escaped a dead-end.
Almost 12 years ago I sat on a team charged with simplifying some reporting. We spent 8 hours in a room locked away discussing our big plan on how we’d do this through surveys, focus groups, and meetings.
I suggested we just begin to cut reports. Surely if a stakeholder needed something, we’d hear about it. Do you know what happened when we quit sending them? Nada. No one was reading them! My leader was so worried we wouldn’t have work, yet the client rewarded my firm with more opportunities because of the trust that single action built.
Having the courage to cut bait rewards you with more meaningful work, faster.
Winners understand some races aren’t worth the fee required to participate because sometimes the best finish line is not to cross it at all. (And maybe not even to train for that race!)
A few years back I gave up on some work that was more "WORK" than it was fun. The people I was spending time with didn't have the same passion for the work or the same goal and the meaning began to lack, significantly. I learned quickly I needed to do something else, carve my own path and go a different direction. It was a hard decision because I spent years giving my time, love, relationships, financial contributions, etc. Change is hard, and despite what everyone else thought, in the end I broke it off. This single act of liberation opened up so much for me. You could say its what brought me to where I am today.
What do you think? Have you had to quit before? How was that? Maybe you want to quit now? Tell me about it!