Why quitting doesn’t mean failure

If you ever reach the point in business or a job where you’ve had enough, and you utter the words “I quit” it can feel like an abject failure. After all, you are walking away from the very thing you originally set out to do with such hope and enthusiasm. You’ve sweat blood and shed tears over it - giving it up ain’t easy.

It’s particularly hard to admit a business isn’t working or a job isn’t what you expected it to be, that this fantastic idea you had just doesn’t quite cut it, especially if all those around doing a similar role appear to be enjoying runaway success and healthy growth.

But, as with everything in business, it’s not quite as simple as succeeding or failing. Shutting down a business doesn’t always mean failure. Giving up a job that on the face of it should be amazing, doesn’t mean you’re a loser. In fact, it can be a pragmatic and sensible route to take when something really isn’t working and the time or money to get it working is just not worth the investment. In fact, carrying on doing the same thing when you know it isn’t working is a failure in itself. And ploughing on regardless can lead to lower productivity, ever-diminishing returns and a poor sense of self-worth.

Recognising a business’s limitations or indeed your own limitations, is actually a sign of business acumen, of being self-aware enough to know when it’s worth cracking on to break through to the next level or when to call it a day.

It is really tough though, and if you didn’t shed a tear or two over what you’re giving up, then you wouldn’t be human. But having said that, making a final decision can bring stress relief and a feeling of unexpected peace. It can also open you up to new and exciting possibilities, allowing you to recognise the areas you excel in and to pour your efforts into them. As they say, every cloud has a silver lining…

That final leap can be terrifying but often it’s the thought of it rather than the actual action which is worse. Imagine standing on the edge of a precipice and you can’t see what is below you, but you’re trying to decide whether or not to step off into the darkness. It’s a little bit like that. But when you take that leap of faith, more often than not you’ll find underneath all that apparent darkness is a solid landing and a bright future ahead of you.

Written by Fay Millar