Someone on my Facebook page recently declared:
No one writes books about quitters.
First of all, that’s not at all true. Seth Godin wrote a book about quitters. It’s called “The Dip”. In business history, there have been several famous quitters who went on to launch some of the most innovative businesses in the world – people like Bill Gates, Ray Kroc, Howard Stern, Jeff Bezos and Michael Bloomberg.
Now in fairness to my Facebook friend, I’m sure the comment wasn’t meant to be taken literally. It was probably meant to encourage people to never give up. But here’s the problem…sometimes, you should give up.
Yes, it’s true. Sometimes you should give up and quit. And that’s a good thing.
More importantly, it might be a bad thing if you don’t. There might come a time in our personal or professional lives when the best option is to walk away. The important part is knowing when.
Some people walk away too soon. At the first sign of difficulty, they toss in the towel. This can leave people with the impression they’re not tough enough.
Some people quit too late. Yes, there is such a thing. They keep hoping change will occur so they stick around. Meanwhile, everyone else has seen the writing on the wall and made other plans.
Others don’t quit at all…and potentially get hurt in the process. They stay in bad situations because they don’t want to be called a “quitter” or they stick around out of loyalty.
Over the past few years, we’ve come a long way in embracing failure. It’s okay to fail at something and learn from the experience. It’s time we embrace quitting.
There are absolutely moments when quitting is the right thing to do. We shouldn’t tear people down by stigmatizing the important art of quitting. Figuring out the right reason and the appropriate moment to quit is harder than anyone realizes. But, we need to learn how.