Only the weak ones quit

Only the weak ones quit. Is that true? There is a story of a CEO of a multi-national company who decided to withdraw a product from the market when it had consistently failed for nine months and eaten up millions of pounds in advertising, promotions etc. Was he weak? He could have maintained the myth of success and stayed in the market and gradually withdrawn, costing him and his company many more millions.

Instead, he chose to face the fact that they had made a bad decision backing the product in the first place. He admitted his mistake publicly and withdrew the product before it cost him and his shareholders more money. Is he weak?

We believe the opposite is true. He is a winner and winners quit in order that they can go on to achieve greater success. Perhaps, therefore, the phrase should be, ‘only the weak ones stick’. The strong appear to recognise when they have exhausted all the options and get out before the situation becomes a liability.

The successful appear to know when to quit whereas the weak ones, the unsuccessful, stay with a project hoping and praying that it will turn itself around.

Just stop for a moment and ask yourself:

  • Am I maintaining a project, thoughts, attitudes or beliefs that I should have ditched a long time ago?
  • What is it that I know I should have quitted but keep hold of?
  • What am I holding on to because I am afraid to let go?
  • What is it that stops me from quitting?

David was made redundant in 2001 and decided, because he had been relatively successful in corporate life, to become a management consultant, working from home. He had read all the books and information on the web telling him how much these guys earned and because he had 20 plus years in management they would be eager to call on his assistance and knowledge.

He realised he had little, in fact no, selling skills so he enrolled on a number of sales training courses. In fact David enrolled on and attended many courses in the first six months to learn the ropes. How to cold call. How to put a proposal together. How to find out the real problem in the organisation. How to close the sale. Etc. etc. etc.

The problem was, six months later, no work. He had visited a couple of owners of small and medium sized businesses to talk over their problems, sorry issues, but he was never retained. He felt that they were either seeing him out of politeness, because they couldn’t say no over the telephone or because they were trying to pick his brains at the meeting rather than pay for his ‘expertise’. David actually met one owner on a number of occasions, including buying him lunch, but to no avail.

Lyn, his wife, was getting worried because the redundancy cheque had long since disappeared and their savings was going the same way. He refused to apply for jobs saying that he knew he was doing the right thing. He just hadn’t found the right company yet.

David’s sole marketing was cold calling and calling his old network in case they had anything. As the months ticked away so did his money, his temper, his relationship and his health.

His cold calling got less and less because ‘that didn’t work’. He found himself reading more, buying more and more management books and magazines and becoming better organised. He had a great filing system but no work.

He decided he needed a web site. So spent hours and hours designing and developing his web presence. Many, many hours not contacting a potential customer because they would now come from the web. The months went by, the savings got less and less. His wife worked more and more hours to keep the ship afloat.

You see, David couldn’t quit. He couldn’t accept that being a management consultant wasn’t working for him. Because only the weak ones quit.

The difference between success and failure is that successful entrepreneurs know when to quit a project and start again. They are not attached to their loss making thoughts, attitudes and beliefs. It is the strong, focussed and determined that quit failing ventures before it costs them a lot of money. It is an ego driven myth that only the weak ones quit.

About the author
Graham and Julie

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