(Photo credit: Andreia)
I’ve written a lot about starting things. What about when it’s time to stop? Is it ever okay to quit?
Like creating a masterpiece, quitting is an art: you have to decide what to keep within the frame and what to keep out.
There’s a difference between casual quitting and strategic quitting.
Casual quitting is lazy. It’s when you quit because you don’t want to do the work. Casual quitting can lead to significant loss.
Strategic quitting is smart. It’s when you end something because it’s part of a larger plan to take advantage of greater opportunities. Typically, you strategically quit because you’ve done your research, thoroughly tested the idea and evaluated the opportunity and discovered it’s a dead end. Strategic quitting can lead to significant gains.
As Seth Godin says in The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You When to Quit, “Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations.” So, if you’re gonna quit, make quitting a part of your larger vision for the future. The same way you’d sacrifice a pawn in chess “in the hopes of gaining tactical or positional compensation in other forms.”
Ultimately, whatever you decide is a decision that you have to make (and live with) on your own. So before you make that decision, ask yourself this one question:
Are you giving up or are you strategically quitting?
I agree with Winston Churchill when he said, “Never, never, never give up.”
I agree with Peter Drucker when he said, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”
Perhaps these two conflicting quotes can be cleared up with another: “Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.” ― Osayi Osar-Emokpae
Here’s the deal:
- Life’s short.
- There are many ways to make a living and a difference in this world.
- Quit smart.
Happy (guilt-free) quitting!