Not so long ago I was coaching an entrepreneur (Who shall remain anonymous) on building his 4th business. I was helping with marketing, sales presentations, generating ideas and some copywriting as well as coaching his mind.
Within 3 months we had grown the business from around $64k per month to over $200k (Within 9 months we had achieved over half a million in one weekend alone).
But my client wasn’t as happy or content as he perhaps should have been. Something was amiss. I had suspected something was not right from the very first meeting, but after enquiring I didn’t push and I felt the timing wasn’t right to do so.
To cut a long story shorter, he opened up to me. The success of the business we were building was funding another of his ventures. It transpired it was hemorrhaging money. He allowed me to take a deeper look.
After a few hours of delving it was blatantly obvious that the business model wasn’t working. It was leaking money big time. He asked me what I thought he should do. My answer was simple and blunt:
Prevent any further losses and shut it down right now.
He didn’t. He carried on funding it for a further 4 or 5 months. It was his baby and he just couldn’t let it go, even though it was costing him a fortune.
This was his first business. The jewel. The one he had worked like a trojan to build. The one he was most proud of because he had worked so damn hard for so long.
And there lay the root of his reluctance to let go, despite the cold hard facts that were staring him in the face and needlessly draining his bank account.
In psychological terms you have what is known as the Law of Concerted Effort. This means that the more time and effort we put into something, the harder we will find it to let go. Even if keeping a firm grip is detrimental to us. We become more and more emotionally attatched.
We must carry on at all costs, we say to ourselves.
Somethings are worth fighting for; somethings should be cut loose. Knowing which and when can be tricky
I see it in relationships. The one half who has put a lot of effort and time into making the relationship work keeps hanging on in the vain hope that love will be reciprocated or that the other person will change.
Meanwhile, the other half of the relationship is carrying on an affair.
Or the entrepreneur who has had a member of staff from the start of the business, but who has now gone past their stop, finds it most difficult to cut him loose.
The entrepreneur I spoke of above was not daft or stupid; far from it. He was driven, intelligent and highly ambitious. But so powerful is the Law of Concerted Effort that it blinds us to the harsh reality of what really needs to be done or the correct course of action we should take.
It can grip the very best of us. It can rule over all logic, including financial logic.
If ever you watch Dragon’s Den you will see how some entrepreneurs have spent years and hundreds of thousands of pounds on ideas that will more than likely never work (I know the dragons get it wrong sometimes). Yet they plough on and on driven blindly by The Law of Concerted Effort.
“I have started so I will finish….”
Please, don’t get me wrong, I am all for not quitting. But there are times when you just have too. No matter how painful or emotional it may be.
And this is why a good coach can help you. They will see things with fresh eyes and from a more rational view point. They won’t be emotionally tangled to what you have invested so much time and effort into.
If it’s not viable for you to get a coach right now try looking at things from a 3rd person standpoint. What would Branson make of this, kind of questioning.
The Good News About Holding On
The good news, or the other side of the coin for this situation is that when you do finally let go from flogging a dead horse perhaps; or when you finally walk away from the relationship that is beyond repair, you will have a mighty clear conscience.
Why? because you will be able to look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I gave it my ultimate best shot to make it work”
That said, it doesn’t mean you have to endure weeks, months or years of extra pain to feel that way. You can do it a lot sooner.