Tempted to Quit or Ready to Commit? – Toss the Top Ten Reasons for Quitting into the Trash!
Should I call it quits? It is the question that every aspiring entrepreneur asks themselves at some point. It is rooted in the deepest of anxieties. It is symptomatic of toxic thinking that cheats people out of the hope and possibilities they have to become master of their destiny.
But there’s only one reason you should ever quit. Before I get to that, I am going to list off all the insidious, self-sabotaging reasons that cause entrepreneurs to give up on their dreams.
There are ten far too common reasons that entrepreneurs use to give up on good business ideas prematurely. Let’s look at them a little more closely and hold them up to the light for a proper examination.
Expecting Fast Results
Aristotle said: ‘Patience is bitter, but its fruits are sweet’. There is nothing of lasting, concrete value that has been created by an entrepreneur that didn’t require significant patience.
If you started out as an entrepreneur expecting overnight success, the only thing you need to give up is that expectation itself. Stick around. Play the long game.
Losing the Faith
They say that it is mandatory that a great salesperson believes in three things: The product they’re selling. The company that sells it and themselves.
They have to believe in their abilities as a salesperson to do the selling.
Being a salesperson is much easier than being an entrepreneur. When you start as an entrepreneur, you don’t have a product or a company to believe in. That only leaves you.
Every entrepreneur is figuring it out as they go. When we start, we don’t have much of an idea of what it is going to take – or the capabilities we need – so we develop them along the way.
Self-belief is your greatest asset. We aren’t talking about grandiose, overblown ideas of yourself and your abilities but a quiet acknowledgement that you have what it takes, the humility to know that you will stumble and fall but also that you can keep on keeping on. Everyone else who has succeeded before you felt it too, but they continued anyway. It’s the continuing that guarantees a big win. Keep the faith in your ideas and your talents.
Missing the wave
Entrepreneurship is all about dancing on the cutting edge.
Why is it that young people are so drawn to the entrepreneurial world? It’s simple: The cutting edge is where they grow up, they don’t know any other way to be.
Age is irrelevant if you want to be an entrepreneur; you have to stay future-focused. The most successful businesses capitalize on emerging trends. The most successful entrepreneurs are always looking at the pointy end of innovations. They utilize that edge to get an advantage in the marketplace. Like a surfer scanning the ocean to identify a wave, you too need to stay open to upcoming developments in your field so that you can catch the wave and ride it!
Never allow yourself to quit because you can’t keep up. The thing about being cutting edge is that you qualify yourself to be there just by going there.
Dwelling on mistakes
Got burnt by a partnership gone sour? A falling out with investors? A deal falling through?
Are you beating yourself up because you made a mistake or took a wrong turn?
Get over it!
If you don’t, your baggage will prevent you from succeeding in the future. Your backwards-looking fascination with “figuring out what went wrong” will scare you from trying again.
Entrepreneurship requires crazy levels of optimism, which means that you have to reframe your past mistakes into learning experiences. Regrets are simply the past crippling us in the present. It happened, and we can’t change the past, but we can learn from it.
You haven’t really “had a big learning experience” until you’ve incorporated your hard-won wisdom into a new plan of action, skill set or way of managing relationships. Your mistakes are the foundations of the learning curve on which your future success is built.
Fear of the future
Do you feel anxious about some future, imagined failure? Worried about how you will handle success? Anticipatory anxiety is the anxiety experienced when a person thinks about some event in the future. It takes the fear and allows it to invade in your perception of the future. It is worrying about things that haven’t happened, and may never happen. It’s the game of “What if?”
People give up because they’re anxious and afraid of things – both bad AND good – that might happen. They don’t feel prepared to face those things.
If you’re feeling anxious, you forget something crucial: It won’t be YOU who faces anything. It’ll be your future self. And the cool thing about your future self is that it’s wiser, more experienced and more resilient than you are now.
Change is a constant in life
The entrepreneur who expects the market to stay the same is in for a lot of disappointment!
Your customer’s wants and needs will change and evolve. Your team will do the same. Politics. Fashion. Economics. It is all continually shifting.
Some entrepreneurs give up because they’ve been left behind. The real issue was that they believed they were operating in a fixed, reliable world. By building a company that relies on an unchanging environment, they doomed themselves to failure, they even started.
Be flexible and nimble instead.
A Sense of Entitlement
The world does not owe you a living!
A sense of entitlement and the inevitable disappointment it brings is a disaster for business owners and in fact, for anyone!
When an entrepreneur puts vast amounts of time and energy into a lousy business idea, they sometimes develop a (false) belief that they’ve paid their dues.
They believe that now, the world owes them something.
Unfortunately, there are no prizes for hard work alone. Your pain and struggle mean nothing to the marketplace. Execution is everything, but only when you’re clear on how to create value.
Quitting because of bitterness or feeling victimized by the world is the easy way out. What’s harder is leaning in. Leaning in to figure out what it was about your efforts that failed to create value for others. Those who give up will never discover the answer.
Fearing Failure more than Desiring Success
This isn’t just a reason why many entrepreneurs give up. It’s a reason a ton of people with incredible potential never even begin in the first place. The fear of failure is listening to the lizard brain. Hide under this rock. Don’t poke your head out. Don’t risk what you’ve got, because the loss is a disaster.
Unfortunately, the human brain is wired to have a bias toward loss aversion. It’s been proven that everyone will work 10x harder to get back $1000 that was stolen from them, versus working to earn a fresh $1000 from scratch.
Think about that for a moment.
Fear of failure paralyzes entrepreneurs. It makes giving up feel like a relief. Business is inherently risky, and no entrepreneur succeeds by avoiding all the risks. They succeed because of their increase their resilience – their capacity for risk tolerance.
So you worked yourself to death or close to it. Now what?
Entrepreneurs who quit because of burnout have made an idiotic mistake: They’ve told themselves the fiction that what matters is the hours that they clock at their desk.
And yet, Bill Gates isn’t worth hundreds of thousands of multiples more than you BECAUSE he worked hundreds of thousands of times more hours than you did.
Of course, he clocked some long hours in the early days at Microsoft, but he also probably spent more time reading than you ever had.
Having to quit because you’ve overworked yourself is having to stop because you haven’t figured out how value is created not only for others but for yourself. You ARE your primary product. Don’t you think you need to do everything possible to ensure that you aren’t just working hard but working smart?
Long hours do not automatically equal success. All that happens is that you become a cog in your machine except that nobody is applying any grease and over time, you get more worn down, less able to cope, and you blunt your instruments.
It also has repercussions in your relationships, you need your family and friends, but they can’t be there for you if you are too busy burning the midnight oil to even notice them!
Take a holiday. Your brain and your body need to feel rested to perform at optimal levels. Come back refreshed and then get back in and figure it out. Don’t give up.
But My Problems are Unique.
Entrepreneurs derive a lot of self-satisfaction at the thought that their business is a brand-new, never-been-seen-before idea. This leads to the kind of thinking that says, for example, ‘Other people don’t understand our staffing issues, we’re a unique business’.
Cashflow obstacles. Legal obstacles. Delegation obstacles. Customer support. Marketing. Security. There are lots of obstacles.
Your product might be special and unique. Let’s hope so! But you’re not reinventing commerce. You’re not even reinventing leadership. Your obstacles are not uncommon.
Entrepreneurs who get lost in the belief of their company’s “specialness” don’t take advantage of the wealth of support and wisdom available within the entrepreneur community. They believe no one else understands.
Then, they give up because they hit some problem they see as unique and insurmountable… when actually, the answer was just a phone call away if they had the humility to dial the numbers.
What to Drop and What to Carry with You
The one thing entrepreneurs SHOULD give up on… is a negative and/or closed mindset.
That’s right. It’s dead weight. Drop it!
I outlined a simple framework to help you identify those times and modalities that are keeping you stuck and to help you understand that there is always room to manoeuvre, time to re-calibrate, ways to reach out.
The one thing you should never give up on is the game of entrepreneurship itself.
Carry that with you. It can be transported to different places, flourish in different environments. It is a pledge that you have made to yourself, to learn, to push the boundaries and to create value in the world. It is a remarkable undertaking because to do that you must create a vehicle, your business, for that value creation to become larger than yourself.
Ideas come and go. Every successful entrepreneur has seen plans fail. That’s all part of the journey. Keep that flame within you burning bright and allow it to light your way even when your monkey mind is casting shadows and doubt. Hold on to the promise that you made to yourself and your future when you accepted your mission to become an entrepreneur.
To aspire to be an entrepreneur is to be on the path of unlimited learning, growth, and potential.
To give up on entrepreneurship itself is to give up on that path of incredible value creation for yourself and your business.
Storms Don’t Last Forever.
When you feel like quitting, stop and think about the reasons why you started this journey. It might not always be easy, but it will be worth it. You are worth it. Your business is worth it.
Your contribution to the world is worth it.