Knowing when to walk away can be tricky. The straw that breaks the camel’s back is the result of not knowing when to back out of a failing situation or give up altogether in order to save your energy and resources for another campaign. As a leader, it may be hard to tell when you should stop pushing out relentless effort. If you are doing everything you can and you are not seeing a result then it is time to re-evaluate your situation and get ready to charter a different course of action.
A great leader would not run at the first sign of danger and can gage a de-escalating situation wisely. One leak in the sailor’s boat doesn’t mean you won’t reach your destination. But knowing when to make that crucial call can make a big difference in your life. I’ve never been one to run at the first sight of trouble. I typically let it soak in and make my next decision strategically.
No matter how painful the news or damaging the blow (thankfully I’ve never been mortally wounded in any relationship, business or in life), it’s important not to over-react or respond with an emotion reflex. Wait for it, analyze the data then make the best decision once you’ve considered every option. There’s no point in doing the same thing over and expecting a different result. Don’t bash your head against marble hoping it will yield to your will. If you’re getting nowhere, acknowledge it and work to create a new path where you can succeed.
Finally walking away from something can be painful but the pain of remaining stuck must be greater than the pain of separation for you to leverage yourself to a better position. Admitting to yourself when things aren’t working well or if things are getting progressively worse takes courage. No one wants to feel like they’ve made a mistake and as leaders, those of us who have come from nothing, we have the tendency to keep a mantra of “riding things until the wheels fall off.” You need to know that you don’t need to have the wheels fall off before you change vehicles, ideas, relationships, or strategies.
If you wait until the she ships masthead is submerged before you take refuge, then you may already be doomed. Spotting important issues that may be irreversible takes a lot of effort and know how about the situation you’re in and what you want for yourself. If you truly know what glory is supposed to look like, then by contrast you know when you’re heading in the wrong direction. I particularly like to focus on the vision I have for myself. If you keep your vision in mind, anything that happens in your life that isn’t in accord to that vision can be nixed.
Remember it takes courage to admit when things aren’t working if you’ve made a mistake, or just to admit that you won’t survive on the continued path. But with your ingenuity, and after assessing the real problems, you should find a way to continue on a successful journey which may be in a different vehicle altogether. Don’t be afraid of retreat if it gives you the option to fight more effectively at a later time. That’s not losing. That’s shifting your energy and resources to somewhere you can actually be victorious.