Riding through the tough stuff...
In 2017, my boyfriend and I did a motorcycle tour through Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. We went with a group lead by Rene, (who happens to be turning 50 this month. Happy birthday Rene.)
There was only one section of the trip where Rene sent us off on our own. He said, “Ride straight for about 80kms till you hit a T-junction. You’ll see a gas station. Meet there.” Sounds easy peasy right?
Wrong. Within a few kilometres we hit a detour that took us down a dusty, loose gravel road. Then worse... through sand. Um, yeah. We’re not Dakar champions. When we got back on pavement, we then rode through fire burning fields on either side of us. So much for easy peasy.
Our reward for going through the tough stuff? Discovering a secluded pond filled with hundreds of pink flamingos.
For anyone who started a new journey recently and is hitting a rough patch, this week’s tip is for you.
When to quit and when to go the distance.
“Winners never quit” is a lie. Winners are very strategic at what they quit, and deciding what not to even start. We can’t follow through on everything we begin, that would restrict us from going all out on what’s truly worthwhile.
We should quit pursuits that lead to a dead end. If there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, then we should get out fast, or we’ll be missing more important opportunities. For instance, if we have a job where we don’t love the daily grind and hasn’t got a bright future, then we’re only headed towards mediocre. That doesn’t mean we need to quit the career, just that particular job, or at least change the parts that aren’t working for us.
Now, when to stick it out? Every challenge worth doing is going to bring us through tough times. It’s going to weed out the people that aren’t suited for it. Remember if it were easy, everyone would do it. It’s important to assess a challenge before starting it to see if we have enough belief in the result, and if we have the resources and ability to get through the hard parts.
New goals usually start off well, with lots of energy, but we should question if we are prepared to go through the second phase, and for how long, before we can start building momentum towards success.
Going back to that career example, a new job is exciting, then after about 3-6 months it may become challenging in less desirable ways, and stay that way for years, before there’s a possibility for a promotion to the position we really want. If that position is really important to us – if it’s the light at the end of our tunnel – then it’s worth sticking it out through the tough times.
Take action: Quit something. What are you doing that is going nowhere? Where are you spinning your wheels with no good outcome? Stop. Now, what do you really want, but are struggling with? Take the energy from the dead end thing that you quit, and put it into what’s worthwhile.
:: Inspired by Seth Godin’s book, The Dip: A Little Book that Teaches You when to Quit and When to Stick.