Many of us are influenced by the sports ethic: Never give up! When a basketball team is down by 20 with 30 seconds on the clock, the players never stop working. Spectators might be filing out, and the winning team might be deep into the bench, but the game goes on.
If your game is a business or a job,you won’t hear a whistle to signal the end of the game. If you keep going and win, you may gain a lifelong prize. If you keep throwing good money and energy into a losing cause, the whistle can blow for unemployment or bankruptcy.
“Should I keep going?” is one of the most difficult questions for anyone, including career counselors and coaches. There is no single answer, but here are some ways to focus the question.
1. How did you get into the situation?
Were you encouraged by a spouse, parent, friend or mentor? You have a better chance of fulfilling your own dream than someone else’s.
2. Is there a little voice in your head that whispers, “Maybe you should be doing X instead?”
Listen up, as the sports coaches say, especially if you can put a name on “X” ,and if you’ve been playing this game awhile. That “little voice” may be your intuition speaking.
3. Does your new venture refuse to go away?
If you try to leave your job, do you find yourself getting caught up in a new project or rewarded with a new promotion?
One speaker, accepting a local “Entrepreneur of the Year” award, told the audience, “I hated this business. I tried to sell it but nobody would buy me out. I was forced to fix it up and, in the process, found success.”
4. What is the universe telling you?
Are you getting customers?
Is your progress considerably faster or slower than your peers and competitors?
Has anything clicked into place for you, seemingly without effort?
5. What is your own historical trend?
Do you tend to give up too easily or hang on too long? Often coaching can help you identify career patterns and decide if you want to make changes.
6. Are you still having fun?
A loss of enthusiasm can be temporary, especially if you’re fatigued or have just experienced a setback. Long-term discouragement will create negative energy and ultimately destroy your career or business.
7. Must your decision be either-or?
Can you continue a business part-time with a manager? Can you look for a new job but also start a business? Multi-tasking can fragment energies but also offer unparalleled opportunities. It’s a key transition skill.
Learn more from my free guide: 5 Tough Career Decisions