Why It's OK to End Something That's Wasting Your Time

Aug 11, 2020

I was on a golfing trip one year when I met a guy named Blair. When I asked Blair about his line of work, he said he was in bonds. 

“Wow, that’s cool.” I said. “Have you been in bonds for a long time?”

“Not too long,” he said. “It’s a second career for me. I was in chemical manufacturing for a long time, and then made a switch a couple of years ago.”

I was impressed that he got to the top in a second career so fast, but you know what made the difference? He told me that although he’d experienced many temptations to keep believing things in his former career would turn around, he finally came to “the moment.” There was a moment when he knew that it was his time to get out.

When you can overcome internal conflict and get comfortable with a necessary ending, you’re going to get a more desirable result. You have to make endings a normal occurrence and a normal part of business and life instead of seeing them as a problem. If you see them as normal, expected and even a good thing, you will embrace them and take action to execute them. But if you see an ending as meaning “something is wrong if this has to happen,” you will resist them or fight them long past when they should be fought. Endings have to be perceived as a normal part of work and life.

Let’s look at three organizing principles that will make endings both necessary and normal. Being aware of these will help you to make peace with endings, so when the time has come, you will be able to do what you need to do.

Accept life cycles and seasons

Nothing lasts forever. Life cycles and seasons are built into the nature of everything, and when we accept that as a fundamental truth, we can align our actions with our feelings, our beliefs and our behaviors, to accept how things are, even when they die. The problem comes when we don’t accept or we willfully ignore these seasons.

Accept that life produces too much life

Life begets life, but sometimes it can be too much. Take a high-functioning person who has an extensive network. While this is perceived as a good thing, this person is also very good at not having some relationships. They have accepted a reality – that they generate more activity than they can fruitfully handle, so they can cut these ties without feeling that “something is wrong.” They respect the fact that there are limits to what they can do, to whom or what they can invest in. Come to grips with this truth, that your life and your business produce more buds than you can nurture, and you will end some things more readily or easily.

Accept that some things simply cannot be fixed.

When you come to terms with the fact that some people are not going to change, no matter what you do, some very necessary endings get much easier, and your business and life will change. But sometimes you convince yourself that you can get someone to change, thinking that one more coaching session will do the trick, or one more bit of encouragement, or one more session of feedback. Come to grips with the fact that some people, no matter how much you give them or how much you try to help them improve their performance in business or their personal lives – are not going to change. Accept it, and it will get easier to take the necessary steps to make an ending. You will go from being in shock or in denial to asking yourself the right question: what am I dealing with here?

Those seeking to set boundaries and better their lives are very much in touch with each of these realities. Their brains don’t send signals saying something is wrong because it has to end. They are aligned and integrated people who come to terms with what has to happen. Reality is a tough thing to face, but executing a necessary ending is what prepares you for the next great thing that’s going to happen in your business or your life.

I'll show you how to get over the fear of creating a necessary ending.