Are You Throwing in the Towel Too Soon? More Musings from the Marathon
When people realize I walk marathons, one of the questions I frequently get asked is "how did you do it? How did you finish the marathon once you hit the point of 'nothing helps?'" Well, I can tell y...
When people realize I walk marathons, one of the questions I frequently get asked is "how did you do it? How did you finish the marathon once you hit the point of 'nothing helps?'"
Well, I can tell you it's not easy. Lots of demons come out to play and you have to push past them.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Why would knowing how to finish a marathon have to do with your business? Because you might be having the same problems in your business -- demons coming out to play and you throwing in the towel too soon and not seeing the success you deserve.
Let me explain. It's been documented that lots of business owners quit too soon. They either quit the business altogether or they lower their goals (i.e. "I don't need to make 7-figures, I'll be happy in the low 6-figures") or they drop a product or service that's not selling.
However, many times the turning point in their business is just up ahead. They're right there, the finish line is a half mile away, but they stop. They stop and they use all sorts of excuses as to why it was a smart decision to stop.
This happens to me all the time after I get past mile 20 in the marathon. It gets even worse once I hit the point of "nothing helps" -- the pain is awful, I'm exhausted (a deep, deep exhaustion, so deep it makes it difficult to fall asleep for several hours after you're done) and I'm extremely grumpy.
All the demons come out. "I've done this before. Why do I have to make myself miserable now?" (The first year it was "I can try this again next year when I'm in better shape and know what to expect.") "Boy that pain in my knee feels bad -- maybe I'm permanently hurting myself. I should stop." "Look at all those other people in the medical aid tent, they've stopped I can stop too." "Why the heck (or something stronger) am I doing this to myself again?"
And on and on.
So along with walking on despite the physical pain, you're also battling mental demons. And this becomes an even bigger issue the longer you walk because at the end it's all mental. There's nothing physically left -- the only reason why you're staying on your feet is because you're forcing yourself too.
Does any of this sound familiar in your business? "Why should I bother marketing and/or selling? People aren't buying anyway. And the economy is bad. And my industry is struggling." "I haven't sent out a newsletter in months, I'm just too busy." "I know I have a stack of business cards on my desk I should follow up with, but I'm just so busy. And besides, do they really want to hear from me anyway? It's probably too late." "This product launch was a disaster. Only 2 people bought. I guess no one is interested in this after all." (Never mind you only sent out a couple of emails and called that a launch not to mention never sending out a newsletter.) "I'm almost done with my first product. I just have a couple more things to add/change." (And you've been saying THAT for 3 years.)
And the most insidious of them all "I've been doing everything so-and-so said for months and it's still not working. Maybe I'm not cut out to run a business. I should just quit and find a job before I run up any more debt."
All of these are just variations of the same theme. You're throwing in the towel before you've reached the finish line. And chances are, if you DO quit, success is most likely right around the corner.
Now this isn't to say there is never a time to quit. Sometimes you really do injure yourself and you can't finish the marathon. And sometimes a product or a service you've launched really isn't a good fit for your target market and should be dropped. And sometimes things have so radically changed in your market you need to change something or you're going out of business.
But, a lot of times the reason why things aren't working is because you aren't marketing enough (or marketing smartly). Maybe that product really isn't a good fit. But if you only send out 2 emails to your email list that only hears from you once in a blue moon and call that your launch, you don't know enough to say it's not a good fit. You haven't given it a fair shot.
What can you do to push through? Even when you feel like you're doing everything you're supposed to and nothing is working? Just do what I do after mile 23. Put your head down and keep walking. Don't listen to the chatter in your head, just keep walking. Focus on the cheerleaders on the sidelines telling you you're almost there and keep walking. The finish line really is just around the corner, and eventually you'll get to it, but only if you keep walking. The moment you stop, you're done.