Last week I wrote about persistence as a key element in achievement. While being persistent is certainly a valuable trait, learning when to persist and when to quit is even more valuable.
I have an entire chapter in my book, "Becoming Unstoppable: Tools to Elevate Your Game," dedicated to this very subject. However, let's take a quick look at when quitting can be a good thing.
Sure, not finishing a task you originally set out to accomplish may not sit well with many of you: especially if you are a high achiever. However, there is a time and place where quitting may serve you better.
Whenever we set out to complete a task or conquer a new goal we must chose a path that will get us there. Some times we can stay on our predetermined path until we reach our goal. Other times we must yield to the situation and chose another path. In order to make that determination, we must constantly measure our actions against our mission. Are our actions serving us well? Or do they cause us grief, turmoil, pain; are they a distraction? If this is the case, abandoning those actions in lwei of something new, something that aligns with our goal is a wise choice.
While this may seem intuitive, making the decision to quit may not feel so comfortable in the moment. If you can take the emotion out of the equation and look at the facts you may feel differently. On a piece of paper, write down your goal or task at the top. Then, down the left hand side, write down all the steps you have taken to reach your goal. Across from each step, on the right hand side of your paper, write down the results of those actions. Are your actions getting you closer to your goal? Or have they kept your wheels spinning in one spot? Or worse yet, moved you further away. This is a great way to evaluate your actions against your goal to determine if you should stay steady to your plan or re-evaluate. And if you need to set a new plan, hopefully you can now experience the positive side of quitting.