When to Hold On and When to Let Go

Gary Miller Jr. of A Better Guy (and the accompanying podcast, The Better Guy Show) dropped me a line a while back asking me the following:

“What criteria do you use to figure out if a project should go away or stay?”

Since I returned from my travels I’ve been giving that email quite a bit of thought.

Oddly enough, while I was at the World Domination Summit I walked away from yet another project…Workflowing (discussed here). So looking back at how I came to that decision has helped inform my answer to your question, which is as follows…

I trust my gut.

It’s actually not that simple, but it’s close. Whenever I feel overwhelm setting in — and it does happen from time to time — I take a look at everything I’ve got going on and really look at what I want to achieve across all spectrums (work fulfillment, family fulfillment, financial fulfillment, etc.) and assess accordingly. I try to get a sense of what will suffer if I continue or take on a project that I’m assessing and if something that matters more to me now suffers, then I look at both of them and make the call.

With Workflowing, I listened to my gut. I knew that I was spreading myself too thin with it — and that it was more Schechter’s baby than mine.1 In fact, I stayed on board with it for so long because I didn’t want to disappoint him — and I also saw the potential with it. But I knew the potential would never be realized unless I gave something up. When I looked at everything I wanted to do with my work (and using past experiences to help me come to a decision), I realized that Workflowing was the one that had to go.

Letting go of projects is hard. I’ve let some go completely and “backburnered” several over the past few years. I’ve tried a lot of ways to come up with ways of both hanging on and letting go, but after assessing everything I always turn to my gut. It rarely plays tricks on me — unlike my mind.

Photo credit: Randell Monaghan