Power and money can seemingly defeat humility, relationships, wit, and passion. My one wish for everyone is that you never let a lack of resources get in the way of your dreams. Creative, collaborative, and strategic problem solving and the will to overcome will nourish your soul to help you find the way.
This statement came to me last week on my drive back to the office. It led me to think profoundly about why people quit, fail, and the space between.
I’ve written about quitting. (It’s not a bad thing, actually. It can be quite cathartic and winners do quit. The key is knowing when and why.)
Many people equate quitting with failure. Quitting is an option, not failure. So is sticking. Knowing which option to take is the challenge we face. But I would argue that there’s a piece missing… “pivoting”. Pivoting isn’t easy. In fact I think it may be the most challenging of all the options because it requires strategic thinking and a keen ability to parlay your path into a more meaningful direction while retaining or even enhancing your value.
So do you quit, stick or pivot? Here are some guide posts.
You should quit when the stress outweighs the benefit or outcome of your work.
Quit because you tried your hardest, and nothing made it better.
Ask yourself: Am I moving forward? I call this the “dreadmill”. If you’re always running in the same place at the same pace, is that getting you where you need to go?
There’s a lot you don’t control. Try your best and work your hardest but when you don’t see progress, it’s time to make a move. Sticking around will just suck the life out of you and you’re better than that!
Stick when you can see the tiniest light at the end of the tunnel.
This is where people get stuck. We live in a world that doesn’t like time. We’re so damn busy we complain about needing more of it but then we don’t give ourselves time. Ask yourself: Do I need more time to learn and see this through? Long term investments require you stick with it, despite the dips.
I’m married and have been for 6 years. We’ve been together about 10 years. Marriage and parenthood is magnificently messy. It’s not easy, but when you pick the right partner and stick with that pick, you’re bound to make life work together. My husband has been an amazing life partner. I stick with him and he sticks with me because we know each other and value the differences we each bring to the relationship.
Or you can just pivot.
People think decisions have to be black or white. Nope. There is a middle. I call it the pivot. Pivoting is about leveraging the value you’ve created to drive a different path that still means you get to a winning outcome. Pivoting is about redefining the end game and appropriating what you’ve learned along the way.
I started my energy career in downstream where the margins are low, so the culture was about efficiency without minimizing quality or safety. You could say I was brought up to think creatively. In downstream, we chased pennies. When oil peaked, downstream suffered. In that moment I pivoted my career upstream. I did this to learn more about the value chain but to also apply my knowledge of lean, continuous improvement, safety and quality to an environment that needed it. Now that commodity price is low, people are pivoting downstream or midstream or toughing it out.
I pivoted. It meant I got to stay in an industry I love and learn new things while I applied my skills in a new environment.
The pivot, is my favorite.
So what say you? Quit, stick, or pivot?