If you're working on a big project, like building a business, sometimes you reach a point when you question your steps and even ask yourself if it's time to walk away. It's a times like these we need to ask ourselves a few hard questions and decided if it's time to recommit, or time to release.
It’s easy to keep plugging away at something, either through the lack of courage to face it head on and actually ask if it’s what you really want to be doing, or because you kinda just fall back into a groove and keep going. Or because you’re doggedly determined that you’re gonna make it happen no matter what, when in reality, things need a shake up. But how do you choose which to keep and which to let go of?
After a bit of a break and coping with some sad events, I know it's time to review what I'm focused on. To take stock and re-assess where I’m spending my precious time.
For me, I like to be either 100% in or 100% out. If I’m sitting on the fence wondering if I’m doing the right thing and ignoring niggling doubts, I can’t focus properly and I won’t enjoy my day! It’s the worst feeling to be half-in half-out. You end up doing things half-heartedly with a niggling feeling that keeps questioning yourself all the time. The fact is, we can choose to do anything, there’s no real right or wrong, only a decision that we choose to adopt whole-heartedly, or not. The outcome is never guaranteed. The results are never known. No matter how hard we work, or how focused we are, we never really know for sure if it’s right or wrong, or if it will work or not.
The most important thing is whether we believe in what we’re doing and how we take actions based on the decision we’ve made. If we approach it with doubt and insecurity, it’s pretty much doomed for failure. If we approach it with faith and confidence, there’s a much stronger chance of success and of course enjoying the steps along the way.
I’ve hung on to things in the past that could have bene let go of much earlier, and I’ve let things go that could have maybe worked if I’d given it more time. Because sometimes things do need to change. It’s the most natural thing in the world, change, but one that we all resist so much. It’s not as scary as you think, it’s the making the decision that is really the most difficult, once the decision is made, the change happens more easily. So how do you make a decision whether to change things or keep going?
If you’re sitting on the fence with a few decisions that need to be made, here’s a questionnaire you can use to help make your choices from a well-rounded perspective on things. First, I suggest you get really clear on what you’re trying to decide, what do you want to re-commit to? Or what would you like to improve, change or maybe leave? We have three choices at any given time: We can accept things the way they are, we can change things, or we can leave them. Then go to a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for about an hour and ask yourself the following questions. Answer them honestly and clearly.
- Do you just need to re-commit? Everyone needs to re-commit and there’s no problem with that. We can all lose sight of the end vision and forget the real reasons why we are doing something, so it’s so important to tune in with those reasons and visions regularly.
- Get Real. Sometimes we need to take a reality check and take a step back from the doing and check that what we are doing is taking us where we want to go. Is the work, effort, sacrifice you’re taking worth the end result?
- Don’t take the cookies out before they’re cooked. Sometimes we just expect things to happen too quickly - but how quickly is too quickly?
- Are you too hung up on the outcome? If all you’re hankering for is the end result, you’re missing the journey along the way.
- Are you worried about what others will think, say or do?
- Take a joy test! How much enjoyment are you getting? There’s a ‘shit’ sandwich in anything we do, but I don’t think this should be a very big one! How much time are you realistically putting into your project and how much is bringing you joy?
- How often have you been thinking about changing it? Has it been consuming your thoughts for some time and you’ve been pushing them away?
- Take the balance test. What have you let slip in order to focus on your goals and visions. Sometimes we get too hung up on one thing and lose sight of the other equally important things in our lives that need attention.
- Are your expectations too high?
- What can you do to change things? How can you approach things differently? What are you choices right now? (Accept it, change it or leave)
Once you've been through the ten questions, you should have some clarity around what you'd like to recommit to and what you'd like to release. To really commit, now is the best time to make some clear and solid decisions that you feel your can commit to. Choose a timeframe that you're comfortable committing to, don't make it too long so you run the risk of burning out, but don't make it too short so you can't see any results. I recommend around 3-4 months if possible.
To help you work through these questions, I've created you a template. You can download it below.
Take the time to use when you feel the need to make some changes - you will feel clearer and more confident about the decisions you're able to commit to!