Have you ever just thrown your hands up and said, “That’s it…I quit!” in a work setting? It’s a great feeling, you should try it sometime. You know, like on a Friday when you are overworked on a project, burned out so bad that you don’t think a pot of coffee would revive your tired brain, when you just say “fuck it” and go home to find a damn beer…or a few beers!
I’ve come across that same feeling as an entrepreneur many, many times, but there is a whole different twist to it from the entrepreneur side of things. When you say “fuck it” in your regular corporate job, you might be hurting customers or your own job performance. You are telling “the man” that you can’t take any more, that you’ve had enough. You always have someone else to point the finger at, it seems, to avoid having the problem lie with you directly.
But…when you say “fuck it” as an entrepreneur, the sole owner of the business, you are only hurting yourself. If you are a one-man band entrepreneur, like me, you are the only one to blame. If you quit, you quit on yourself and there is no one else around to absorb any pitiful excuses.
And it’s important to note that when I say “quit” here, I don’t necessarily mean like in Seinfeld when George quits his job… https://youtu.be/L8d9pBvtr8s
I’m talking more like Homer Simpson, who just walks away from something temporarily… https://youtu.be/vewkfFu8Q7I
I’ve hit this “I want to quit” point many times as an entrepreneur…yesterday, in fact. I had hit a point of complete overwhelm. I was getting beat up at every turn. I got a house under contract (woohoo!) at a fair price and sent it out to my buyers…but I heard crickets. Nothing from my buyers. Ugh!
Then I contacted a local investor with a big operation to do a joint venture with him…but this one isn’t in his area, so no dice.
Then I contacted the other investors I know in the area, looking to do a joint venture with them…but no one contacted me back.
Then every email I looked at seemed important, like something I needed to tackle right away. All of the subject lines screamed at me, saying “you need to be doing this!”
And my phone was ringing with more potential sellers…and I needed to go meet with my bandit sign gal to pay her…and…and…and…
I had hit the point of complete OVERWHELM! The tank was completely full. The more I looked at things, the worse the feeling got. I was paralyzed…had no idea what to do next…felt lost and confused. I hate that feeling!
So…I just stopped. That’s right, I just walked away. There was nothing more that I could do in my manic state, so I just gave up and walked. Turns out, it was the best decision I made all day.
I needed the mental break. I needed to get away. I haven’t been working out lately, so my mind is full of junk and I haven’t done anything to help clear it away.
I stepped back, played a stupid game on my phone, grabbed a drink (an adult beverage), and watched a baseball game. That’s what I needed in the moment to help clear my head. Sure my mind kept going with thoughts on business, nagging me to get back to it, but I didn’t dwell on them. I just melted into the couch and let things slowly fizzle.
I let my business thoughts just come and go because I was done for the day. I turned the “Open for Business” sign around to “Sorry we’re Closed” for the day. No one was home, the lights were out.
Today is a new day and I feel much better. I’m back in charge of my emotions and attacking the day. The break is what I needed in the moment and worked for me.
How you choose to react when you hit the point of overwhelm and want to quit is very important. It is also very telling about your current state of mind.
You may be able to take a deep breath, clear your head, and get back to it, right into the fray. That is a great state of mind, means you can handle just about anything and keep going.
However, you may feel awful and want to quit completely. If you hit this point, it’s probably time to walk away for a while. Step back and evaluate all the other things going on in your life.
The key is to be prepared for the feeling of complete overwhelm. It will happen. It happens to everyone. You will hit that low moment when you feel helpless.
Then the other key point is to recognize the overwhelm and have a solution ready. My solution was baseball and a drink. That’s short term. For the long term, I need to workout consistently in order to clear my head.
What’s your solution going to be?
What I’m Grateful For
Today I’m grateful for baseball. I love the sport and it helped save my mental state yesterday, bringing me back down to earth. Even though my team lost (couldn’t hit a thing), I was grateful to have something else to occupy my brain.
I loved playing baseball as a kid and always loved watching it. Then I wavered as a young adult, getting more excited by football and hockey. But in the last 7 years or so I’m back to loving baseball, maybe because I appreciate the little things more now that I’m older.
Anyway, I’m pushing on today with my business endeavors with a renewed spirit. And I might watch some more baseball, too.