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Should I stay or should I go?

There are always times when I feel like giving up. I work with ideas, which means that I don’t have a 9-5 job and I don’t have a regular paycheck.

Like many people, I am cutting my own path. And when you are cutting your own path, you can get tired. I have a project that I am trying to put together. I hate that word “trying”. I don’t want to try, I want to do. But sometimes, I have to try to bring all the people, the resources, the funding together to really begin something.

During that time of “trying”, sometimes, I think about giving up. It’s insidious really. Perhaps it’s the echoes of my mother, deep in the recesses of my unconscious that prods me to get a real job. I consulted with a shaman years ago on his book project. It was called “Coyote Goes Global” and he always repeated, “The dark side works through distraction.” Those thoughts about jobs and security and health insurance paid by a corporation are certainly distracting.

What are the best things to do to during those moments of weakness when what is most called for is focus on your goals?

What I do is write down all the distracting thoughts. There’s something about getting it out of my head and onto paper that makes them less insidious. It’s no longer a secret whisper that I can’t really put my finger on. Now, it’s facing me and I can say, “No way!”

Really, though, it’s the same muscle called for in any commitment. It’s the muscle that keeps us monogamous, that keeps us making breakfast in the morning for our children even if we were up all night, that powers us through our process (whatever it looks like) to achieve our goals.

Are you someone who can be monogamous to your idea?

Sometimes walking away is the best answer. I’m not preaching commitment at any cost. Life evolves and we change and sometimes, it is best to walk away. But I get this question a lot. How do you know when you’re working through a tough time or when you’re just beating your head against the wall?

The problem with this question is that it’s impossible to answer. People spend months even years agonizing over whether to stay or go. They make lists, they ask people, they analyze, they think and think and think. It doesn’t lead anywhere.

Of course there is something valuable in clearly assessing situations and making informed decisions but I believe the answer is not in the analysis. And it’s not in recklessness or impulsiveness either.

Rather, there is a middle path. There is who you are. Are you someone who stays or goes? Neither is morally superior. For some, staying is dysfunctional and for some, going is.

When you look at who you are and how you operate in the world, does this work for you? Do you regularly achieve goals or walk away from them before they are completed? Do you want to do things differently?

Developing ideas is a learning experience like having children, getting married or divorced, buying a house, anything we do. The important thing is to choose consciously if you want to give up or stick with your project. Ultimately, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. Did you show up in a way that you can be proud of? Did you do your best? Are you reducing the amount of regrets or increasing them as you go on?

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. If you CAN leave, then it is usually time to.
    But stay for two more full weeks, open hearted, committed.

    Yet the two long weeks are also the quick throw of a coin in the air, where only when it is unstoppably falling you suddenly find out which way you really wanted the coin to land.

    If nothing has evolved for the better by the end of that timeline then it’s certain it is the ship sinking and not the storm rising.

    That said, personally I almost always stay.

    Storms usually rise, distract, and use crafty mirrors before they settle down again.
    Most ships are seaworthy, or easily made so.

    The deeper one’s power of commitment the deeper one’s art, love, life.

    And in the end the easiest and possibly only way to eliminate regrets.

    June 13, 2011
  2. I have almost always regretted staying too long more than leaving too soon. But that is my karma.
    In business, I think, the 3 meeting rule is a good one. Kind of like your 2 week coin toss. If things don’t improve, it’s time to take serious action. Not necessarily end the partnership but definitely you need to face reality and really take stock of what you are creating.

    June 14, 2011
  3. I was so confused about what to buy, but this makes it udnerstadnbale.

    August 15, 2011

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