Seth Godin call’s it the Dip. Others call it “knowing when to lay down your bet”. However, it shouldn’t take just a losing proposition to stop doing something that is ‘good’ in pursuit of doing something that is great.
In meeting with a successful leader the other day, I was challenged to not always think in terms of “life long time lines”. What if projects had shorter life spans? What if we had clear, short-term, small budget, in-n-out approaches to some of our objectives? What if new products, established teams, marketing budgets, fund-raising efforts, et-al didn’t always go on forever?
In WWII the U.S. Marines spent over a year preparing to take just one key island – Iwo Jima. It was a hotly contested conflict with thousands of lives laid at the alter of freedom, but they knew when and what victory looked like and it wasn’t about being in the marines forever or engaged in war in perpetuity.
The challenge before us for the greatest gains does not always have to include “doing this forever”. Don’t be afraid to cancel things that aren’t meeting you goals or your values or your stated outcomes. Just because you started something does not mean that you should always finish. See more of what you do as “experimental” and don’t get down when it doesn’t work out. Just try something else.