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How to know when it’s time to abandon a goal or a project ?

As an entrepreneur, a big part of our time is invested in getting new projects from clients. We spend a lot of time pitching, putting together offers and trying to get ahead of competition. Recently, a door has been closed on me. Which door this was doesn’t really matter but it meant a lot to me. After an initial emotional reaction of anger and pain, I made a deal with myself, that of not fighting back. While crossing the beautiful Pont des Arts in Paris and watching the rough flow of the Seine river, it suddenly occurred to me that this is where my negative emotions belonged, and I figured myself literally throwing them inside the river and seeing them washed away. So, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner, can you know that It’s time for you to let go and move on to your next goal or project ?

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Always do your best

When you are not in control of a situation or a decision, there is only so much you can do. As one of the Four Agreements has it : “Always do your best”. Once you have done the best you could, you will have given yourself all the means you could to achieve your objective whatever that may be. And on top, you will have earned something invaluable: having no regrets. If the result is not what you hoped for, please don’t blame yourself and repeat again and again that you have done as best as you could in the circumstances. 

Don’t mull over it again and again

OK, so you have done your best and still did not get the result you wanted. Our brain naturally struggles to accept what we see as a lost battle, so here we go. We think about it constantly, we replay endless scenarios in our head in the form of “I should have said this or that”, “I should try again”, “what could I do to change the decision”. This is pointless and won’t take you anywhere useful. In fact, it could even make things worse by putting you on a path to distress. 

Welcome the opportunity to learn

Instead of reviving again and again the painful feeling of failure, perform a thorough postmortem analysis, going through the reasons why thing did not go your way, what’s been within your control and what has not. Assess what you could do differently next time. Then press your internal “Archive” button and put the folder in a closed locker. Then move on to your next goal or project.

Express your emotions

Have someone you can confide in and share what you really feel. Don’t let yourself be burdened by your emotions. Find a way to let them out instead of letting them become too heavy to carry. Meditation or hypnosis involving positive visualization can also make wonders to tackle the overwhelming emotions you can feel. Take a mental trip to that secret place you cherish, where you feel safe and secure, and distance yourself from your state of pain. My secret place is Vathi beach on the Cycladic island of Sifnos. What is yours ?

Don’t take anything personally

Another of my favorite principles from the Four Agreements. Whatever objective or project has slipped out of your hands, this is not against you. Maybe it was not the right project or goal for you, maybe you were not the right person for it, there might be reasons behind the decision that you don’t know and that, in any case, are outside your control zone. More than anything, by simply accepting this fully and sincerely, you create the space for other opportunities to come your way. As Benjamin Disraeli said : “the secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes”.

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