Sometimes progress comes when we stop doing something that is not working. But how do we know when we need to try harder and when it is time to quit and try something else?
I am sure you could find a complex decision model in some book, but for me it comes down to two variables.
1. The Heart - what's your heart telling you and what kind of life do you most want to build?
2. The practical situation at hand - what are your current needs and circumstances?
I find that a lack of progress can often be tied to inadequate attention to one or two of these variables. Some people are all heart - going full blast toward their dreams - but fail to plan well and take into account current financial needs and lead times.
For example, I left Intel (a perfectly good, well paying job) to become a writer. I bought a small cabin in the woods and decided to make it happen. My heart was in overdrive. But I had not done my homework and I did not know the time involved in writing, selling, publishing, and then promoting books. The right decision was to quit, get a real job again and then create a new plan (which I did and now I write).
Some people are practical to a fault. They focus on stability and push riskier dreams aside. I am a big believer in slowly developing one's dream while taking care of life's needs.
I have also known people who stick with a bad thing way too long. They know it is not the right job, relationship, profession, city, but stick with it because the fear of something new is greater. Sometimes our ego and pride get in the way of giving up when giving up is the right thing to do. It was very hard for me to get a real job again after quitting Intel - it felt like a failure to me.
Ah, actually it was a failure. But that's OK. I tried something. It did not work. So I tried something else.
During my motorcycle book tour around the country, I met a lot of people who want to start their own consulting and coaching businesses. Many people jump into these businesses too soon, IMHO. I think you ought to have a strong platform in both consulting and coaching BEFORE you go fully on your own. You have to be able to articulate why someone should hire you - what experiences and successes have you mounted? Have you taken the time it takes to develop into a great coach?
I am constantly looking at the mix of how I spend my time and focus and making adjustments. Another adjustment is coming soon, I can feel it. What about you? Is it time to give up on something?