Success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of sweat, tears, and sometimes, even blood, to reach one’s goal. No matter how successful anyone’s life, business, or career may be, at some point in their lives, they have come across a bump in the road and felt like giving up. If you’re at that crossroad right now, know that you are not alone. Some of the most successful men and women in the world also felt like quitting at one point. The only thing that has set them apart from their peers is — they didn’t give up and chose to strive harder.
As Thomas Edison perfectly put it, “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”
Take for example, Sir Richard Branson. He may seem like he’s got it all and more — Virgin Mobile, Virgin Atlantic, and billions in assets. But it wasn’t always a smooth ride for the billionaire.
Branson dropped out of school in 1967 to start his first ever business: “Student” magazine. At 16 years old, the magazine didn’t make enough money. However, instead of killing the business, he went back to the drawing board and carried out yet another idea — a mail-order recording company. Virgin Records helped fund the magazine, but it also took off and became a million-dollar empire.
A few years later, Branson started Virgin Atlantic. While today it has branched out to space flight with Virgin Galactic, in 1984, the airlines almost got booted even before it started. During the airlines’ initial flight test, its lone plane — a Boeing 747, which Branson just rented — was severely damaged by birds flying into an engine. Without enough to funds to have the plane repaired — and without a plane, the airlines cannot be certified to operate — it seemed like the end for Branson. But he didn’t give up. Instead, he restructured his company and pulled money from his other ventures, had the plane repaired and the rest is history.
If there’s one piece of advice the multi-billionaire has for businessmen and budding entrepreneurs, it’s to never give up.
“It's extremely important not to give up,” Branson told BBC. “You have plenty of situations where your back is right up against a wall and you've just got to work day and night to make sure you overcome the difficulties a particular company finds itself in. Brush yourself down the next day and move on into something else.”
If you’re finding yourself in a similar situation and feel like quitting, take a deep breath and follow these tips to stay motivated to continue on your journey.
- Remember your “Why”
All ventures start with an idea — a brilliant one. An idea so good, it had to be acted upon and make it a reality. With the idea came a purpose — to make lives easier, to make others happy, help those in need, or simply because it was your passion. However, somewhere along the way, you may have strayed away from your purpose. Now, your passion has become a burden.
Remembering why you started the venture in the first place should put everything in perspective. Going back to your “why” — the time the idea was born and you were so excited and passionate about it — will help motivate you to continue your journey.
As Winston Churchill said, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.”
- Believe in yourself
Failure could make you question yourself — your strengths and your capabilities. When you’ve hit a snag and feel you’re not good enough, look back at how far you’ve come. If you’re no good, how come you’ve reached so far? Just the fact that you’ve left your comfort zone and took a risk is already a testament to your strong-will and determination.
Remember, “Failure is another steppingstone to greatness,” says Oprah Winfrey.
- Take a break
Sometimes the thought of giving up comes from being burnt out. When you’re stressed and fatigued it’s easy to welcome the idea of quitting. However, working hard doesn’t have to mean sleepless nights or month-long stays at the office. You can still achieve your goals while pacing yourself. Take a breather, sleep in on weekends, spend time with family, and enjoy the small victories you’ve had. Make time to do the things that make you happy. When you take a break to breathe, you’ll feel refueled to continue working.
“The [Bill and Melinda Gates] foundation is a marathon for me, not a sprint. And I always have to remember that, at the end of the day, my kids come first,” Melinda Gates, wife of Microsoft’s Bill Gates, once said.
- Count your blessings
It’s easy to get caught up in your struggles that you forget about all the milestones you’ve reached and blessings you’ve received. It’s human nature to complain, but don’t let it be your state of mind.
Often times, you make excuses and blame so many things for your plight and why you should quit. But if you would just take a second to think of all the good things that have come your way since starting your journey — be it at work or with your business — you’ll realize that it wasn’t all struggles. There were also triumphs along the way. Now, use the positive to motivate you to continue.
“Great managers turn hard times into opportunities for change…So, be mentally prepared for challenging times,” Andres Gluski, CEO of AES Corporation.
- Find a support group
Whether it be your family, your friends, your colleagues, or partners — find someone who you can share your ups and downs with you. Having a strong support group is very important as these people will help keep you on your feet and running even when you feel like it’s time to throw in the towel. Whether it’s a simple tap on the back, a night out to unwind or to stay up with you during those late nights at work, your support group will keep you sane.