When I was a teenager, I remember somebody telling me that many people quit right before they are about to succeed. I was told that if you could just hang on (and outlast everyone else), success was almost always guaranteed. I recently came across this sentiment again in a book that I read. (The book is “Platform” and I interviewed Michael Hyatt, the author, for an upcoming podcast episode).
I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea that if you just hang on and don’t quit, you are likely to succeed. I do believe that there is a lot of wisdom in that concept, but I also believe that there is a fallacy there that we need to be aware of.
As a parent, I want my children to try things and to stick with them. I teach them that quitting is generally negative and they need to stick with whatever they are doing.
For example, the oldest three children have recently launched podcasts and blogs. Emery is really struggling with it. In all honesty, I knew that he probably would and that this would be a stretch for him. Unlike Brett, he has never done much work on the computer, and is completely unfamiliar with wordpress. Spelling is one of his most difficult subjects and so writing a blog (and answering comments) is very tedious as he constantly checks his spelling and grammar. And while he loves flowers and works well in his own garden, he’s having to do a lot of research, which is also a new task for him.
He often wants to quit and expresses that desire vocally. I’ve told him that quitting is not an option and he has to keep working on it and podcasting. In a way this is easier for him because he had an external pressure forcing him to continue through the pain. And the other day he told me, “You’re right, Mom. Podcasting is getting easier.” So for Emery, not quitting is leading to success.
As an adult, I also know that we don’t always start the right thing, and sometimes it is better to stop than to continue going down the wrong trail.
An example of this is my blog. I have been struggling for about a year with what direction to take my blog. I had two separate blogs – one for just the family and one for the business. I didn’t like the fact that they were separate because that doesn’t accurately depict who we are. We are Goat Milk Stuff and Goat Milk Stuff is us. So why should I have two separate blogs? But I initially had a lot of trouble integrating the two. My first blog design layout just never felt quite “right”. It felt forced and like I had to write certain things and couldn’t just write what was on my heart. But I had spent a lot of money on that design and I didn’t want to just abandon it because it felt like I was quitting.
But after a lot of thought, reflection, and prayer, I knew that it wasn’t quitting. It was changing (and hopefully improving) in order for the blog to accomplish what I wanted it to accomplish. I want the blog to be a place where I can open up myself and share what is happening in our family, in our business, and in my heart and mind. I think that “quitting” the old format was the right thing to do. I am much happier with this new design and feel a renewed sense of purpose and direction. So for me, quitting is leading to success.
As in much of life, there is no right or wrong, there is merely “depends”. Sometimes the right thing is to quit and sometimes the right thing is to hang on.
I think the bottom line is whether you are quitting for the right reasons or for the wrong reasons.
Quitting for the wrong reasons might be:
- because it is too hard
- because I am too tired
- because I just don’t feel like it anymore
Quitting for the right reasons might be:
- because my priorities or interests have changed
- because I have accomplished what I set out to do
- because I am needed elsewhere
I would really love to hear some thoughts on this subject and some of your experiences. Have you quit things that you regretted quitting? Or maybe you’re struggling right now with something that you want to quit but don’t know if you should? Or perhaps you felt like quitting, but hung in there and experienced great success? I’d love to hear your story in the comments.