I sometimes stick with things too long. It’s the downside of my persistence, my loyalty to people and my underlying optimism.
Whether it is a project I am working on, a job that I have taken, or an organisation that I find myself in, I often hang on in there beyond the point at which the thing I am in serves me.
I convince myself that if I can just do this one more thing, if we can “just get a bit of movement in that area, then things can start to turn around”.
I tell myself that things can’t really be as bad as I am making out, that it is just a phase, that it will pass.
And I remind myself of what I wanted to achieve when I started, the vision I had before things started to go off the rails, and ask myself.
“Is that still worth fighting for?”.
Then I find myself focussing on the people involved: I can’t let them down.
The people that work for me, the people I recruited to this cause, the people I have chosen to lead. I have to see it through, for them, and the people that depend on me, my family and friends.
So I stick with the situation long after others would have walked away.
The job, the career, the project, the friendships, the groups. It won’t surprise you that it never ends well, it never turns around, despite my best efforts and intentions. The problem, though, is not the failure but the cost to me.
I invest all my resources in these situations and end up with nothing.
I am depleted and exhausted and unable to help anyone, which means I end up letting down all those people after all.
When I look back at these situations, I wonder why I allowed them to go for so long and take so much out of me.
So these days I pay attention to myself and my needs first.
I ask myself if the situation is serving me and how, and whether it is in line with my values and purpose. If the answer is negative, then I give them up.
Guess what? The world carries on and people don’t feel let down - they move on to other things.
And giving up creates a space for new things to come into my life. New roles, new projects and new people that will still help me to realise my vision, serve my values and live my purpose.
Only they are way better and much more likely to succeed.
What are you hanging onto through a misguided sense of loyalty or persistence or optimism?
What are you still doing that is not serving you anymore?
The chances are you will identify things that have been in your life for a long time, so long you’ve accepted them as part of the furniture.
The career that you chose in your twenties that you were never cut out for. The job that is well-paid but meaningless.
The relationships that are long-held and routine but not going anywhere. These are filling your life but are not fuelling your life, at least not anymore.
It is time to let go of them and create the space for new and powerful things to arrive in your life that will propel you forward.