THE INC. LIFE

Tempted to Drop a Project That Isn’t Working? Here’s a Quick Way to Know Whether You Should Give Up or Push Through

The keys to understanding your motivation so you can make the right choice.

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BY Debra Maldonado - 09 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Have you ever hit a wall in a project and wonder if you should push harder or give up? How do you know if you are facing inner resistance or seeing a sign that you should shift gears and change direction? There may be times when you give up too soon and change strategies before you had given a project a chance to work. The easy guide to the right decision is to gauge your passion about the project.

In established companies, giving up on a project could mean costs burned with printing of unusable marketing materials, loss of time and money in training staff in a new program, advertising dollars and more. Some CEO's find it almost easier to justify moving forward than abandoning the plan just for the chance to get the investment back. If it fails, the loss can be made up from other divisions and not make or break a company.

Smaller companies face bigger risks when testing new strategies. We do most of our marketing online which makes it is easy to shift gears and test new strategies without much loss of investment. The problem is that it can be too easy to jump ship at the first sign of failure. Many entrepreneurs get caught up in the shiny object syndrome and move from strategy to strategy too quickly without measuring or understanding the results.

In a new start-up, it can be difficult to predict the future and avoid bad mistakes. A fool-proof measurement is looking at the amount of passion you have for the project. When you really believe in a project you will do whatever it takes to make it work. You will use your mind to focus, you won't give up on a small setback and keep pushing through. The passion will motivate you to overcome the obstacles.

If you don't have the drive and feel ready to give up at the first sign of resistance, you are not emotionally invested enough to see the project succeed. If you are driven by money alone, you may not feel connected to your personal passion and lack enough energy to break through challenges.

One time we had a project that hit some roadblocks and the program was not selling. We were at a crossroads on whether we should drop it or keep trying to make it work. We checked in and realized that were not too enthusiastic about it to take the extra steps toward getting the sales. When we shifted to something that we were excited about creating, success seemed to follow us effortlessly. Even when small hiccups occurred, they did not stop us and the new project exceeded our expectations.

Most projects worth pursuing have a passionate motivator. Ask yourself if the project is going to help move the company forward in a big way or something that would be challenging and meaningful to test out.

The key question to ask yourself is "If I put myself all in this and it still did not work, would I still be glad I tried?"

Just having a passion toward something does not guarantee a good result. Sometimes the best projects are the ones that you know may fail but there is something driving you to move toward it even if it seems impossible. These passion projects always lead to something more and many times take you to new, unexpected opportunities.

Entrepreneurs, especially in start-ups do a lot more testing than more established companies. You have to face a lot of unknowns and have little data or history to back up decisions. When you don't have the numbers to measure the risk, you have to rely on measuring your passion. Even if your passionate project does not bear immediate fruit, you will gain more information and data by going all the way that will help you with your next big idea.

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