Tuesday, June 27, 2017

When to Stop

Few days back; I got a call from a friend. He seemed very dejected. This person would not generally call me and say, “I wanted to talk”. At times, we just need to be heard; without wanting any advice or being judged. This was the situation here; and so, I casually enquired about his well-being.

If you are distressed; all you need is a nudge to vent out. My “how are things?” did just that. He mentioned how his business has hit rock bottom. Payments were being delayed indefinitely, orders were difficult to come by and months of struggle to sell off the business was not materializing as well. His lament was how all his efforts and time were going down the drain. He has been failing repeatedly and could not figure out where was he going wrong!

No one can be hard on us than ourselves. We berate ourselves for our failures; overlooking the fact that it’s not only one’s efforts bring success. You need support of people for your success and growth. Business is all about collaboration; where individuals work together to achieve a common purpose.

We often face such situations in our life; not just in business like my friend’s case, also in situations relating to career, education, marriage, personal success.

We are wired to focus on the outcome than the journey itself; which is an enriching learning experience. Not being able to achieve your goal does not mean you are a failure. For one; it is best to set realistic goal. More importantly; you should know when to stop chasing a goal. When you face this dilemma, asking yourself these questions might help.

  • Is your heart still in it? Maybe. You believe in the idea and persistently strive for it. But if it’s not working well; does not mean you are a failure.
  • Are you gaining or losing more from it? If you are losing and falling into an abyss, it is better to revisit the goal and the returns. Is it worth your time and effort? I asked my friend if he thought if it was still worth the risk with his debt building up day by day. He was heading nowhere and not only losing time, health and energy but also carrying huge debts that he must repay without any support or collateral.
  • How long are you willing to pursue your goal? It is always better to set a timeline, break the goal to manageable chunks and work on them one at a time. Setting a deadline makes it realistic and lets us review the feasibility regularly.

Stopping is not a sign of failure; not at all trying is. The lessons learned are precious and knowing when to stop avoids wild goose chase.