There are instances in life where you simply must finish what you started.
A race, for example. YouTube lauds the injured runner who runs to the end anyway, and makes heroes of the kind competitors who help them across the finish line.
Or if you’re giving a speech and you have a ‘black hole’ moment where your mind goes blank. By God, snap out of it and finish what you started. You can only fail at a speech if you didn’t leave the audience even a little bit better than you found them.
There is a time and place for this do-it-no-matter-what ideal. It shows commitment at any cost, which in many cases is a good thing.
But sometimes perseverance is not the smartest approach, especially when it comes to longer range pursuits.
In our culture, quitting or changing one’s mind is often viewed as flaky or lacking follow-through. Simultaneously, there is a movement brewing that celebrates failure as a means for growth and learning.
Question these. And give consideration to the wisdom of quitting before you fail.
If you accept a dream job, and as you dive into the position you discover reasons you are not a good fit for the position (and are miserable) – please write your letter of resignation. Forty hours a week is way too much of your life to spend in the wrong professional role.
You are smart to change your mind.
When you get into a relationship and later that person reveals they are not the partner you deserve, please break up with them. Even if you’re wearing the white dress and walking down the aisle – the goal of marriage is to love and respect the one you’re with.
You are entitled to change your mind.
Should you start a company, and along the way unearth reasons it will not be a sustainable or enjoyable business venture, please pull the plug. You are a smart leader to continually assess the company’s viability and success of your clients and customers.
You are doing everyone a favor by changing your mind.
If you finally get accepted to grad school and halfway through the program you discover you don’t want to pursue this professional path, please withdraw. Your talents and gifts are precious to the future of this world, and you’re not helping yourself or anyone by fulfilling an expired dream.
You are brave to change your mind.
Be bold enough to try new things, to explore innovative ideas, to make hard decisions, to chase big dreams and to proclaim it all to the world along the way.
But by God, please also be wise enough to know when to fold ‘em.
Sometimes things don’t work, and that’s fine. You tried, and that counts. Live and learn and never stop improving.
If you’ve been looking for permission to walk away, to move on, to back out or jump ship – here it is:
It’s okay to quit.