Projects, relationships, and jobs don’t always work out as planned, and it’s not always clear when to throw in the towel. Too often, we hold on to things even after they’ve run their course. Think about that relationship you couldn’t give up on or the job you stayed in despite a boss who made you miserable. These five strategies can help you figure out when it’s time to throw in the towel.
• Reframe your thinking. Instead of focusing on what you’ll lose, think about what you gain if you stop putting time and energy into the lost cause.
• Identify what's in your control. Getting clear on what you have agency over and what you don’t will help you make a quality decision about whether to call it quits or persevere.
• Expand your identity. Avoid the trap of insisting that you’re “not a quitter.” Sometimes putting an end to something is a sign of wisdom and strategic thinking.
• Seek other perspectives. Rather than relying solely on your own thinking and instincts, consult with friends, colleagues, and mentors to get a different point of view.
• Have self-compassion. When something promising doesn’t turn out the way we imagined, we can be overly self-critical. Instead of ruminating over what went wrong, focus on what you can learn from this situation, and do better next time.
By offsetting cognitive biases, considering your strengths and outside perspectives, and being self-compassionate, you can overcome your tendency to stick to things for too long and cut your losses when it’s time to do. And while letting go can be difficult, it will free up your time, energy, and mental space to imagine new possibilities and pursue new opportunities.
Were you ever in this situation?
How do you handle tough situations?
Smith, D. (2021, Septembert). Do You Know When to Give Up?. Harvard Business Review.
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