“Don’t give up!”
“Giving up is not an option!”
These are all messages that we are reminded of on a regular basis in the pursuit of our dreams particularly in the entrepreneurial and professional space. I have been advocate for not giving up but not necessarily in the same was a most other people would have you believe. Most others, especially in the personal development/high energy motivational speaking circuit would encourage you to keep going at all costs. We become conditioned to keep going through the face of adversity regardless of how we feel or the impact that “failing” has on our overall well-being.
One of the key things missing from the personal development/motivational mindset movement is how to deal with negative experiences/rejection in a healthy and holistic way.
The “don’t quit” rhetoric doesn’t account for how to heal and not internalise upsetting experiences.
— Ronke Lawal (@ronkelawal) January 15, 2019
I know in the early stages of my own professional/business life I fed into that narrative but something didn’t sit well with me. I still believe that you shouldn’t give up on your dreams, I still wholeheartedly believe that many of us have been gifted with unique talents that make us special and that we must not give up on ourselves. I still believe that we must always have faith and hope to keep us going when times are hard. But I do believe that when things get tough or if something is not working that you should give up on the manner in which you are choosing to achieve your goals. Does this make sense? If you for example you are constantly busy and working relentlessly to the point of exhaustion, to the point of illness in pursuit of your dreams and you are reaching a certain level of success but other areas of your life are falling apart including your health and well-being then you need to STOP. You need to find another way.
“Hustle Porn is one of the most toxic, dangerous things in tech right now. This idea that unless you’re suffering, grinding working every hour of every day, you’re not working hard enough. It has deleterious effects not just on your business but on your well-being”-Alexis Ohanian
— Ronke Lawal (@ronkelawal) November 12, 2018
If you are working hard and you have the skills but you’re not getting the results from your efforts then you need to give up doing things the same way. Find new ways of working and expand your network. Don’t get so stuck in your own habits that you end up giving up on the dream itself because you won’t try something new to achieve them.
What if you do all of this and you still feel like giving up? What if you have tried everything that you think you can do, tried new ideas, stopped overworking and still nothing? Does that mean that you need to give up on what you set out to achieve? No. What you need to do at that point is rest, literally just take some time out to reassess and refocus. Now I know some of you might argue that you can’t pause because the money might stop or you will miss an opportunity or the connections might dry up but even if it is a holiday (or a staycation if you can’t afford to travel which means staying at home & unplugging) do that. Take the time to clear out the mental pressures that might be blocking you, get yourself a therapist or counsellor to talk to, pray, meditate, find a way to relax and rejuvenate. You might find out that actually you have a completely new dream and you have to give up on the old one after all but at least you can allow yourself the space to create that new dream or goal and you won’t feel guilty about “giving up”. Ultimately giving up is only ever really a problem if you give up on yourself and who you are, remember that when you feel like you’re losing hope.