the euphoria of admitting when it sucks
Some very cool things happen when I’m jamming with Fire Starters. Ah-a’s, elevated perspectives, connections. But my favourite phenomenon is when someone decides, with a nudge, to give up on what’s not working. Throw in the towel. Close shop. Call it quits. In the last month or so, I’ve witnessed two store closings, three blog unpluggings, two staff fires, three complete re-namings of brands, and some serious slashing of product lines. YES! Making way for success!
Here’s the thing about defining fulfillment on your own terms. You don’t have to have a storefront to be a wildly successful retailer. You don’t have to get up early in the morning to beat the competition. You don’t have to keep staff who are slagging because you’re a humanitarian or unionized (besides, cutting someone loose so they can go hone their truer talents and bliss is profoundly humane.) If it’s not working, you get to give it up – quickly, just like that. Quitting is a form of enlightenment, I tell ya.
Yes, success is gritty business. You’ve got to hustle your bustle. You’ve got to eat intensity Wheaties for breakfast. But there’s a difference between happy rigor and inane slogging. Slogging doesn’t work. It just doesn’t. You can’t plant misery seeds today and expect to get a juicy crop next season.
I hear this time and again, “If I just hang in longer… Maybe she’ll come up to speed. It might sell in the summer. If I dig deeper, I’ll learn to love Excel.” Fess up – it ain’t workin’. You’re smart to see it. You’re brilliant if you move on.
Indicators of when it simply is not working:
1. You use “it’s sucks” in a sentence to describe any aspect of your situation.
2. You “drag your ass” to it.
3. Sunday night anxiety (dreading Monday.)
4. Dismal sales (yes, the universe speaks to us through cash flow.)
5. The bleak absence of synchronicity.
6. Not a whole lot of thanks coming your way.
7. Your mother is your best customer.
8. Seething resentment.
The clues are so generic that we just plow them over with duty and ego and fear of totally flopping. But vitality is a sensation, and it requires a sensitivity to signals and surroundings – and the courage to flow and shout and stomp your feet in sync with the signals of life.
Don’t worry about how you’re going to fix what’s broke. Just notice what sucks with ruthless honesty. It’ll be a momentary rush when you do. You might even feel a strange sense of elation. I Know It Sucks Euphoria. And when you’re high on the truth, you’ve got a new vantage point of where to go next. Turn the lights off when you leave. Announce your new destination.
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The Dip: When to Quit and When to Stick, Seth Godin