Endings, or Knowing when to Quit. #500WED Writing Challenge.

In my youth, and early days of the Internet, I was determined to get, what now can only be called “Idiotic”, startup of the ground. At the end, not knowing when to quit and bring the business to an ending, I toiled much, much longer than I should have with dire consequences to everything else in life: grades, job, relationship, friends, etc.

Rome, Colosseum at Night
Rome, Colosseum at Night * Image courtesy of Moyan Brenn via Flickr

Our little venture had problems from the start: clueless founders, no funding, no paying customers, no go to market strategy, no monetization, no vision, bad timing. You name it, I was doing it wrong. But it was my baby. I was so passionate about it, at times I literally was having a more meaningful relationship with the startup, than my girlfriend. I worked on it in spare time, between college classes, jobs, late nights, weekends.  In hind site, I was hanging on to something that clearly had no chance to succeed. It will be interesting to write about lessons learned from that failure, because there were many, but this post is about hanging on and not letting go when one should.

The beliefs that make us hang on longer then we should, are easily transplanted from this business example into any other. Judging by the amount of books written on the subject, I am clearly not the only one who has made this mistake, and not just in business. So what is it about quitting, be it a business, a job, a relationship, a habit, or any activity you relate to, that we hang on long past the point when we should have ended it?

Here are some things to ponder on I came up with:

Is this good for me? Am I doing what I should be? Am I happy? You can come up with another hundred variation of this. Answering this question encourages honest assessment of the current state. To help you answer it, imagine that perfect job, business, relationship, habit or a lack of habit. What does life look like in that ideal state, where the ideal you came up with is true? How does that feel? How does it compare with current state? Does continuous engagement gets me closer to the ideal I am pursuing?

What are the fears that are holding me back? Am I afraid of change and loss of control? Does the change feel like I am walking into unknown and it’s too much uncertainty to handle? Am I afraid that letting go of something is worse than sticking with whatever isn’t good for me? Do I fear how uncomfortable things will become? Is it going to be too much work to make the change and sticking with the things as they are is manageable? What will people say? What will they think if I make this change?

Perhaps in conclusion, I’ll offer this thought: difficult endings are all mental first. To analyze and overcome them, you need to acknowledge it, commit to action and dedicate effort to getting it done. It might be hard, it might be easy, no way to tell, but once committed, keep going down the path. Remember, “All roads lead to Rome”. Whatever your Rome happened to be, you will get there, just keep walking.

PS. This post is written as part of the #500WED writing challenge on Lift.do

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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