Coach Shari: Knowing When to Fold
I was listening to a friend talk about her career the other day. She told me that she was content in her first job right out of college when she decided to make the leap to a new position. Within the first two weeks, she knew that she had made a huge mistake in this move. Despite this realization, she stayed for another four years at this company. Why did she stay? She told herself that she needed to persevere and keep trying harder.
If you want to be a success in life, you need to try harder. You need to be inspired to push more. You need to hold on tighter and never let go. Just keep pushing yourself and keep trudging forward in your goal. I’ve read countless books, articles, and motivational sites that push this concept.
Is this truly the answer to finding success?
Not always. Sometimes the right thing to do is to fold your cards and reassess your place in life. Take a step back and get in touch with your honest self. As for my friend, she realizes now that she was trying to make something work that was never going to work. She felt that quitting after one workweek showed weakness and that the strong thing to do, the right thing to do, was to persevere.
This really resonated with me. I’m the queen of motivation and pushing forward in life. That’s wonderful in most situations, but I can think of a few instances where it didn’t quite benefit me. For example, there was the time I stayed at a certain job that was so incredibly wrong for me that it was obvious to everyone but me. I fought the urge daily, thinking that it actually made me a stronger person to fight this urge. I believed that I would persevere and rise above as the winner.
I didn’t. It was a romantic thought but definitely not based in reality. I wasn’t listening to my honest self. If I had listened to my honest self, it would have been screaming back at me to “exit as quickly as possible”.
This doesn’t only happen in your career. This happens in your friendships. At some point in your life, you will hold on to a friendship that is way past its expiration date. At some point, you will realize that the friendship is imbalanced and not functioning well. Despite this fact, you will try harder and harder to make it work. You will take on more responsibility than you should and try desperately to breathe life into something that needs to be let go. You will convince yourself that the right thing to do is to try harder, because that’s what strong people do. That’s what motivated, successful people do.
I don’t even want to get into intimate relationships. I’m sure that you’ve had the experience where you’re working much harder than your significant other to build the relationship. You probably convinced yourself that it’s the honorable, right thing to do. It shows strength and reveals your character.
You might be wrong again.
What I’m trying to say is that having perseverance is a respectable trait. Being strong and refusing to back down to your competition is admirable. However, there are going to be certain times in your life that it really doesn’t apply. It calls for you to stop battling and take a step back. Dig down deep inside and check in with YOU. Maybe the best thing for you to do is cut your losses and move on.
Sometimes it shows even more strength and success if you just walk away.