We've all heard it. We've all read it somewhere. There are countless quotes on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter all saying the same thing. In fact, I have said it numerous times myself. Never give up! I've seen so much of this recently that I began to do some soul searching to explore this idea of never giving up.
The question that kept me up at night was is there a time to give up, and if so, when do you know it's time? So I began to think of events from my past where I have given up. One particular time was very clear to me and quite recent. As many of you know, I am an educator (as well as a coach and mentor) and have opened private, alternative schools all over the country which have been very successful. I had an idea to open a different type of school for a totally different type of student. This was a departure from the schools I have opened over the last 25 years. I was very excited about this opportunity and new venture. I saw this new school very clearly in my head. I knew what needed to be done to bring it to fruition. This was going to be my next big thing! And, man, was I on fire with the whole thought of it! But that was a problem -- I was on fire with the thought of it. I found myself thinking about it a lot. But what was curious to me was that, contrary to working on it -- like I had done with all my past businesses and ventures -- I wasn't making any deliberate progress or movements toward making it a reality. This was new to me -- this thinking-but-not-doing thing. And I was a wreck over it!
Had I lost my entrepreneurial mojo? Had I used up all my creative capacity? Was my business life over? Was I a loser? Why wasn't I doing anything with this idea? I found myself procrastinating putting a business plan together. I would distract myself with other activities like working in the garden, online shoe shopping (like I need more of those!), and creating ridiculous excuses, like cleaning out the utensil drawer, in an effort to not do the work! I loved the idea of this new school, and I knew it would be successful, and was needed in the community. Yet... I was stalling. Not only was I stalling, I was purposely filling my time with nonsense as to not have to work.
So I went inside my head and had a heart to heart with myself. "Self", I asked, "Why aren't you working on this new, amazing, smart idea?" And like a hummingbird hitting my head at full speed, the answer was immediate, and dazing and true. The answer that my heart spoke was that I lacked the passion for this new venture.
No matter how great the original idea, no matter how needed this niche school was, no matter how successful I knew this school would be and no matter how much I thought about making it a reality, the real truth was that for whatever reason, my passion was not aligned with the idea. My real, authentic, honest, raw passion that drives me in my work was simply lacking for this project. It was at that moment that I gave up. And I felt so relieved and breathed a sigh of gratitude. I gave up. I had never done that before and it felt so freeing. Huh, who woulda thought? I just gave up.
I believe that no matter how great an idea is, how easy or hard it might be to bring it to fruition, no matter how much you think about it and dream about it, the reality is that unless your full passion is behind it you will stall, you will find excuses, you will guilt yourself for not doing anything.
So, when do you give up? You give up when you realize that your passion is not in line with your business or your project. You give up in order to make room for something that you are extremely passionate about and that gets you up in the morning psyched to put the work in! You give up to allow the real, next, big thing to present itself. That one thing that you can't stop thinking about and can't stop doing! That one thing that seems to come through you and not from you! Then, NEVER GIVE UP!
I will leave you with these closing questions...
Are you stalling on your business? Are you finding any excuse to not do the hard work? Are you thinking about your business but not working on it? Now, ask your heart the question. How passionate about it are you really? And then listen to the answer.
Michelle would love to connect with you! You can find her at: