It’s Something Like Business Infatuation
I just spent an hour working on art for a blog post that I couldn’t write. The concept was too hard, to convoluted and too stupid to deserve the time and space it would take to explain it. It didn’t deserve a diagram. It didn’t even deserve a blog post.
I’ve done that before. It happens when I get too involved with my own ideas and lose sight of the people I’m writing for. Lucky for me, I recognize the symptoms sooner and sooner each time.
Most of them have to do with working too hard to make something work right.
How to Know When to Quit
It happens with ideas, with projects, and with relationships. We get started on something small or something big. Somewhere along the line infatuation sets in. We’re inspired with a foolish or extravagant love for some part of it.
It may be that we’ve discovered a little known fact that’s fascinating to think about.
It may be the most musical sentence we’ve ever written, that doesn’t fit inside any paragraph of what we’re writing now.
It may be the person, the career, or the company that immediately caught our attention and got us thinking new thoughts. It may be the project or idea we just thought up that moved us to get to doing our most outstanding work.
Whichever it is that has captured our inspired commitment to work at some point, when things stop working, we don’t want to believe we were wrong. Rather than recognizing the problem, we keep fighting to make it right again. We unconsciously find ourselves committed to a failing course. It’s an emotional response. It’s irrational and time wasting at best. Costly at worst.
When we’re on a quest, we’re emotionally involved. Emotions filter judgment and skew our evaluations. They build cognitive bias which reinforces our beliefs and often clouds the truth. How do you know when to give it up? Here are questions you might ask to figure out if you’re working too hard to make something work.
- Do you find yourself moving things around more than you’re moving things forward? Measure the time and effort you’re spending compared to similar situations.
- Do you find that you’re talking more about how things could / should / might work than talking about the work itself? Talking about behavior and process is not the same as talking about the work.
- Do you find that you’re spending time rewriting or reworking all around one detail, one person, one idea that you love? When a detail becomes more important than the work, stop to remind yourself of your goal.
- When you try to explain to others what’s holding you up, do they suggest that you lose the exact piece that you care about most? Do you hear yourself arguing for the problem rather than looking for a solution?
If you’re finding yourself saying “yes,” you might want to get some distance to find a less personal view. Imagine what the situation or the project would be like without the part or person that you have formed a personal relationship with.
Suppose you were offered the option to move that “lovely dear” to another project where he, she, or it is a far better fit? If the feeling you get in thinking of your answer is relief, then you know you’re working too hard to make things work.
How do you know when quitting your current quest is a good idea?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
Successful-Blog is a proud affiliate of