How to quit without giving up
“Don’t be a quitter!”
I’ll never forget that motivational speaker standing in front of my middle school class preaching, “Quitters never win and winners never quit!”
As we squirmed on those rickety gymnasium bleachers we couldn’t wait to show the world what we were made of. We all had dreams of becoming something great. The room seemed to be full of future doctors, lawyers, super heroes, professional athletes and Olympic gold medalists.
We were told that we could be anything we wanted to be as long as we didn’t quit. Later that day, my dreams were shattered. My best friend and I were talking about what we heard and I asked him what he was going to be when he grew up, he said, “The richest man in the world”.
What!? You can’t be that!
Why not he asked.
Because, that’s what I’m going to be!
That day my buddy and I uncovered a flaw in the motivational guys message. We couldn’t be whatever we wanted to be. As our middle school minds reasoned: “What if everyone wanted to be the richest person in the world? There are like a bazillion people in the world and only one of them will get to be the richest.
There will be a whole lot of disappointed people. What if a bazillion people want to be the same thing I want to be? Man, this is exhausting, I’d rather just play video games.”
As an adult, I’ve realized that quitting is awesome. It kept me from doing things I didn’t want to do and has saved me a lot of time and money.
I found that not quitting can be very stressful not to mention expensive. In my business as well as my personal life, I’ve realized that I can quit without giving up by implementing three primary quitting principles. I see these principles as mathematical miracles. They will add time to my life, multiply the money in my life and divide the stress of my life.
Principle #1: Don’t confuse principle with practice. There are some things that are not up for quitting consideration. Anything that compromises my character erodes my relationships or diminishes my faith. Methods in business can change on a dime, but character and principles are non-negotiable.
Principle #2: Don’t let sunk cost sink you. It’s easy to get emotional about an investment that isn’t holding up its end of the bargain. We tend to hold on in hopes that things will turn around. This shows up in employees who are clearly not a fit, locations that are not producing, inventory that isn’t turning. The list goes on and on. When you realize you are not getting your investment back, focus on the best investment for your future, rather than the loss of your past investment. Quit as early as possible.
Principle #3: Celebrate non-fatal errors. Ask anyone who works with me and they will tell you I find great opportunity in making non-fatal errors. I make a lot of them. But when I do, I make sure they are non-fatal. Testing and experimenting is the key to success in business.
I heard Dave Ramsey once say that if his employees weren’t moving around enough to knock something over every once in a while, they probably weren’t working hard enough. Small changes end up equaling big profits.
Bottom line, quitting is saying no to things that aren’t best for your business. Every “no” is an opportunity to say yes to something better.
So go ahead and quit. It may be the best decision you’ve ever made.