How do you know when to give up, try harder, or change direction

When was the last time you felt like giving up? More specifically, maybe you are thinking of quitting your job?

The challenge is in knowing when to give up, try harder, or change direction.

It could be that things just aren’t working out like you’d planned.

As time goes by, you find yourself increasingly frustrated.

Perhaps you are feeling responsible for things that are going sideways or you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself in general.

When things go south, you may blame yourself and spend a great deal of time pondering what you could have done better in that situation.

Perhaps you have a tendency to overanalyze or ruminate. Maybe you can’t figure out if the problem is you or the situation.

During times such as these, giving up can seem like a feasible way out, but as a leader or professional it might not be the best option for you. At least, not right away. So what do you do? How do you decide if it’s time to cut your losses and move on?

First, consider this. Like a tree enduring many storms, we must stray strong and flexible. We seek a deeper meaning in deciding whether we are making a contribution that we care about. If so, it may take some time, but you can face challenges head on and still emerge victorious.

That being said, ask yourself what motivates you. What keeps you on your toes and inspired to give all that you can? Is your current situation providing you with any of this energy? If not, is it a temporary setback or do you think this situation represents the new “normal”?

Sometimes it really is time to move on. You’ll have to assess whether you are in a toxic environment or your future in your role is limited.

There are many factors to consider in making your decision. Here are some things to consider.

Are you feeling complacent? Have you considered all available opportunities? Have you learned what you can in your current role?

Consider asking for a promotion. If this doesn’t appeal to you or seems impossible and yet you feel bored, it’s time to explore something new.

I had a role early in my career where I was pretty certain my boss would never promote me even though I was successful and doing a good job.

He seemed to see me as forever twenty-three. It’s as if I was being held hostage to his original picture of me. He had been there twenty years and showed no signs of moving on. I finally realized I’d need to leave in order to grow.

Can you align your values and priorities with your role? How is your job effecting life outside of work? How is your family effected?

Can you make adjustments for a better fit? Finding some balance and flow in your life shouldn’t be impossible.

I once had a role where I had been with the organization for many years. I felt a need to work from home one day per week. (This was before I understood that I was an introvert and my energy was being depleted by my surroundings). The office was chaotic and noisy and I needed some solitude in order to focus. My request was repeatedly denied.

Ultimately I quit that job and traded it for a position where I could work from a home office while doing field leadership work on my own schedule.

To this day, I’m so glad I made what seemed like a very difficult decision at the time. I left that role for something so much better.

Consider leaving if your boss or organization promote a stressful environment.

No one needs to get sick due to stress or anxiety brought on by working with unhealthy people or those who lack appropriate boundaries.

If you get the “Sunday blues” anticipating the upcoming work week, or your adrenal glands are working overtime and your body is constantly flooded with the stress hormone cortisol, you may want to take a look at this.

Having a job doesn’t mean you should have to suffer.

Undoubtedly, some days will be more difficult than others, but when most days are taxing and draining without bringing satisfaction, it’s not good for your health.

Perhaps you don’t click with your boss and no amount of trying to connect, “manage up”, or create space is working.

Certainly there is some acceptable stress brought on by being challenged in your work. That’s fine, but I’m talking about toxic stress here. There can be many reasons for it.

If this is your situation, consider a change. If you do stellar work and have marketable, transferrable skills, leverage these strengths and take them elsewhere before your confidence and self-esteem get hijacked and you lose the energy necessary to make an inspired change.

Often times we think we don’t have options, but really we do. Don’t underestimate your talents, knowledge, and skills.

If you are still in the right place, you will sense your own inspiration. If you are not, you likely already know it and just need to allow yourself some space to explore possibilities.

Don’t be discouraged. On the other side of this challenge is an opportunity to thrive.

Remember, if you find yourself wondering if you should give up, try harder, or change direction, you’re not alone.

If you think I might be talking to you, carve out some time to reflect on this topic or share it with a friend. Ultimately, you’ll be glad you did.

Living a life by design can be so rewarding. It’s when we default into staying somewhere that no longer serves us, that we pay the price of boredom, exhaustion, fatigue, and complacency. There is so much waiting for you out there. What you seek is seeking you.

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