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A Tough Challenge or Time to Call It Quits: How to Know the Difference

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When something isn’t working in your business, you can’t tweak it indefinitely (even though you have lots of ways to troubleshoot those not-so-perfect outcomes). At some point, you may need to call it quits; some experiments just won’t work no matter how many changes you make.

The difficulty is knowing when you’re facing a tough challenge and when it’s time to call it quits.

Although each person and every circumstance is unique, here are some key indicators that will guide you in making the best to-quit-or-not-to-quit decision for your business.

Read on, so if you think it’s time to stop tweaking and call it quits (or at least take a break), you can do so with confidence.

Call it quits indicator #1: You’ve tweaked like you’ve been taught and nothing shifted

If you walked through the business troubleshooting guide from last week, tried everything, and still haven’t seen results, it may be time to take a break or call it quits.

When you’re trying your hardest to make something work, there are only so many doors (or windows) you can open. Instead of desperately grabbing for new ideas when you’re still stuck at square one, respect your own efforts enough to say, “I’ve tried it all. Enough is enough. I’m going to put it to bed.”

Reward yourself for a solid effort, even if the outcome wasn’t what you hoped. By this point, you’ve learned a ton simply by taking so much action.

Call it quits indicator #2: You don’t want it anymore  

We’re human, and we change our minds. You may have really wanted to make something happen when you first started, but it’s okay if you no longer want it.

I see people push themselves beyond enjoying their work to a place of drudgery and misery. It’s okay to quit if you no longer like what you’re trying to create. Continuing to push forward after you’ve hit the done point only serves to make you even more fed up and frustrated.

Remember: This isn’t a “Have you pushed yourself hard enough!?” contest. This is your life. Have some fun. And don’t let your work kill you.

Call it quits indicator #3: You’re exhausted

If you’ve been pushing hard for a while and you’re exhausted, the best thing you can do is stop. Even if you still love your idea, you may simply need a break. Exhaustion does not help in making you a successful business owner!

There’s no sense driving yourself into the ground when you’re already running on fumes.

Again: This is your life. Take breaks. And don’t let your work kill you. Tweet that!

Call it quits indicator #4: Your gut (not your stinking thinking) tells you to stop

It’s essential that you learn the difference between your gut and your thinking.

Our thinking can push us to keep going even when something isn’t working; or, it can have is quit before it’s really time.

So before you push beyond necessity or call it quits to early, separate your truth from your thinking.

Once you do that, you can feel your gut and hear what it’s saying. You’ll see the white flag and be able to say, “I tried everything I could. I did my best, and now it’s time to step away and move on.”

Listen carefully for the little voice telling you to call it quits. Sometimes it’s really quiet when our thinking has so much to say!

Call it quits double-check indicator: You’ve been determined but not desperate

You’ve evaluated your energy, your drive, your troubleshooting, and your thinking. You think it might be time to quit (or keep going), but want one more indicator.

This is the final thing I want you to consider: Have you been determined or desperate?

When you’re determined, you show resolve for making something happen. You’re moving forward and feel excited about it. This draws people toward you.

When you’re desperate, you’re graspy and need it to happen. This is a huge repellant to others.

The question for you is, have you done everything you could do with determined focus without being desperate to make it work?

It’s a difficult question, isn’t it?

That’s why next week’s post is all about this fine line between desperation and determination and how one will kill your business and the other will catapult it.

I’ll also share ways to can check your desperation at the door so you can stay focused and positive as you put new things out in the world (even if you really are strapped for cash!).

Your Turn

As always, I want to hear from you!

Have you had a moment before when you knew it was time to call it quits? How did you know it was time? What were your indicators?

Are you currently in that position, wondering if it’s quitting time on something but aren’t sure? Based on the ideas above, do you have any new insights?

I can’t wait to read your experiences, stories, and thoughts in the comments below!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 anna long

Great post Jenny! When I ran my first business this scenario was juuust the case. I got to the point (finally) where I was profiting, I upgraded to a new space (exactly what I thought I needed) and I even did a ton of “client trimming” so that my books were truly filled with my ideal clients. the things was…I had been “done” with the biz for awhile and I was just biding time to close or sell.

My heart wasn’t in it anymore. so even though things were easier…I really didn’t want to keep putting all my time and effort into it. I thought that once I sold my biz I would have all these regrets. Nope! Sold a year ago and still sooo happy I did!

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2 Diana Dorell

What a great story Anna! Thank you for sharing it! It takes courage to leave a situation that is working but that just doesn’t light your fire anymore. Bravo!

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3 Jenny Shih

Wow, Anna! That is a story. Good for you for listening to your heart. That takes guts!!

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4 lavonzell

Thanks Anna for your response. I have been toying around with getting out of my biz for a while now and honestly reading this plus a terrible morning with a customer sealed it for me. I had been putting off talking with someone about selling and had the conversation this morning. Making money doesn’t equal happiness or sometimes you change and goals change. I don’t know what will be the end but definitely feeling lighter having decided its time to do something new….

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5 Jenny Shih

Good to see you here, Lavonzell! I was just thinking about you the other day and wondering where things were with your business. Best of luck!

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