How Do You Know When it’s Time to Call It?
Learn to recognize when your ‘dip’ becomes a bottomless pit
Much has been made of the idea that you will face a “dip” before your effort on a new project, a new career path, or a new hobby pays off. That’s great advice. Unless you’re in the dip forever. And in the meantime, your opportunity costs are mounting, then metastasizing and cutting you off from anything else worthwhile that you could be doing.
The self help-osphere is saturated with mantras like “it’s darkest right before the dawn,” and “never give up on your goals.”
But, speaking as someone who has in fact found success only after giving up on projects that were not working, I’ve got a question.
How does the spate of various never-give-up-isms square with this simple truth, courtesy of Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”?
You can hold both thoughts — as long as you know how to spot where “the dip” tips over into Einstein’s definition of insanity.
My friend Joseph recently closed the restaurant that had long been his passion. He loved sharing the joy of Tunisian cuisine with Los Angelenos who are expanding their culinary horizons. He felt he was doing the work he was meant to do when he shared his culture with others through food. The problem? The restaurant faced one issue after another for years. The funding. The location. The suppliers. Then Covid.
Yet, Joseph persisted. Everyone told him not to give up on his dream. But the one thing he hadn’t considered is that even if this version of his dream wasn’t working out, maybe it could take another form. Trouble was, Joseph couldn’t see this because he thought the answer was to never give up. No. Matter. What. Joseph told me the idea of quitting was inconceivable. It would mean he had failed.
After he finally closed the business, Joseph told me he had learned something important. It’s a perspective I don’t often see published in the “how to make it” genre, where 99% of the content covers 0.5% of entrepreneurial reality. Joseph has his own take. His only regret: Not pulling the plug sooner.