Enough is Enough:
When Should You Give Up on Your Idea?
How do you know when to give up?
It’s a question a lot of people will ask in their life. Not all people, but I bet most of them. It’s a question that comes up when someone goes through a difficult time, when they are struggling with an idea. It’s a tremendously difficult question, filled with all sorts of caveats and issues depending on the person, her life, her background, and her experiences.
But I truly believe that there’s only one answer to this all-important question.
I wrote a book all about following your passions. In it, I told people to build businesses around the thing or things they love; to make it their livelihood. It wasn’t just preaching, it actually came from my own experience following my instincts when it came to building businesses. So I can completely understand how unbearable that pain is when you start to wonder if it’s time to jump off of an idea. When do you leave it behind? How do you know if you’re just two days or one week away from all your problems being solved?
I’ve asked — and been asked — all these questions.
When someone says to me “I’m having a lot of trouble with my start-up”, the first thing I do is ask them how long they’ve been at it.
I’m scared to answer, because I never want people to stop the work five minutes before they have success. I’ve seen that happen many times. But I’m going to give my answer, because to me, this question is the difference between happiness and misery.
The answer is to ask yourself another question: how continuous is the pain?
Some people don’t have the stomach for adversity. When someone says to me “I’m having a lot of trouble with my start-up”, the first thing I do is ask them how long they’ve been at it. Very often they reply somewhere between four and six months. Seriously; it always hits those dates. When that’s the reply, I need to try not to laugh. Four months, when you’re trying to build a business around your passion, your lifeblood, is an insanely short amount of time. Compare it to the upside of living the happiest life that you possibly can. Doesn’t seem so long now, does it?
Stick with it. Live through the bad times.
But maybe their answer is two or three years. Two to three years, and still no traction. In that case, when your days are filled with more anxiety than collectedness, I do have a bit of a more somber answer. It might be time to audit what you’re doing; ask yourself if you need to find a different version of it, or a new passion altogether.
I’m writing this article to make sure that ninety-nine percent of people who don’t email me don’t jump off after four months. Stick with it. Live through the bad times. You, and your business, will be strong because of it. Unless you’re struggling for twenty-four straight months, I still think you need to go after your goal. Do something you love. That’s really what it’s about.
It means so much to me that you took the time to read this. Could you do me a solid and scroll down to hit the “recommend” button down there?