Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Knowing When To Quit.......

Did you ever give much thought to when you should stop doing something you love?  Maybe it is something you have devoted your life to.  Maybe it is something that has become a part of your personality and it is really difficult to let it go.

In the sports world, we see it all the time.  A great player begins to experience diminished skills as he/she ages but cannot stop trying to compete.  Sometimes it becomes an embarrassment. 

But, we see it in the business world as well.  A great performer begins to "lose it" as far as success goes and is nowhere near as effective as he/she once was.

In my case, I finally saw, at age 65, that I wasn't getting the results or the satisfaction from my job that I did for many years.  I was stressed beyond measure.  I prayed about it.  I asked God to tell me what to do.  He indicated to me that I should thank Him for the many great years I had in business and I should retire.  I did---even though I didn't feel comfortable financially.  It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

I will mention two current examples of well known personalities who have struggled with this issue and gone in different directions:

---Pat Head Summitt ---Famous basketball coach of the University of Tennessee Lady Vols

---Tony LaRussa ---Famous major league baseball manager

In the case of the legendary Ms Summitt, a coach who has achieved unparalleled sucess over 38 seasons, she was diagnosed with "early onset Alzheimer's dementia" earlier this year. 
Pat Summitt
She has brought immense pride and success to the University of Tennessee over her career---a gaudy winning percentage of .843; 16 conference championships; 8 times named coach of the year; and 8 national championships.

After it was announced that she is afflicted with dementia, I naturally assumed she would step down as head coach and turn the program over to a successor.  But, no.  She has stated she will stay on at least three more years. 
Tony LaRussa
As for the equally legendary Mr LaRussa, a head coach who has managed 32 years in the major leagues, he recently announced his retirement following his team's (St Louis Cardinals) World Series victory in October.  He is going out a winner while on top of his profession....achieving 2,728 major league victories spanning three teams.

When do you KNOW it's time to quit?


  1. That's a good question Clint. For me it was seeing the environment at work deteriorate, with no discipline. Plus the change from programming to templates being sold in web development. Threats of lay-off and management making bad choices based on their job security. But I haven't actually quit- I'm just reinventing my career. : )

  2. When do you know when it's time to quit?

    ... when your behaviour and actions have adverse effects on others. One example of this involves the operation of an automobile. A loved one was still driving and was boasting that he "had been driving for over 50 years and was an excellent driver". This "loved one" had been cited for running a red light, pulled over one night for erratic driving, totaled his car and caused bodily injury to another individual, etc. Too many "seniors" out there do not/or will not admit they can no longer drive safely. A family member had to resort to legal matters to get this "loved one" off the road. The matter of rights come to mind. This loved one had the right to retake the driver's test but decided against it.

    ... when your behaviour and actions have adverse effects on others such as a program, team, business, customers (fans). One glaring example of this is a very well known entertainer. I had noticed several years ago that he had lost his singing ability. He was known as a solo act but in his performances he was showcasing other singers/musicians to detract from himself. Sadly, it is now to the point his fans are feeling cheated and wanting refunds.

    With the whole world screaming, "Don Give Up", and from birth we are taught, "Don't Be a Quitter", is is not easy to quit: Let us not go gentle into that good night ... Yes, this is true in most ways but let us not forget grace and dignity, too.

  3. We should stop doing things when they harm others.
    Greetings Sabine

  4. I believe in carrying on until as long as possible. Giving up you will have more time on your hands to think of everyday problems. Of course you will have more time to enjoy hobbies and travells. So basically it is a matter of choice,
    Good issue Clint.

  5. One of us is crying, one of us is lying, staring at the ceiling, wishing she's somewhere else instead..one of us is lonely...I can't stop listening to this song, I can't even move away from it..one of us is only, waiting for a call...

  6. This is so funny you ask this question Clint I have been struggling with this for a month, hopefully I will be able to make the right decision. Unfortunately it is not only my decision to bare. Wish us luck. B

  7. When things are no longer a creative challenge, and you aren't accomplishing anything good.

  8. Retirement, uhmmmmm it is soooo far away for me.....enjoy your retirement you and your sweet thang! :)

  9. Quit so you have time to do the things you want...before your body won't let you do what you want!

  10. Good question. I have been pondering this for several months now on a particular issue. I still don't know....:(

  11. What a good question. I'd say it's time to quit when I am either (a) harming myself and my well being or (b) harming my loved ones. Often times it's hard to recognize though and unfortunately sometimes it's too late for some, but for some of us who are blessed and are granted second chances it's time to say thank you, pull up our socks, make the necessary changes and move forward in life. Another good indicator is when the heart stops dancing, then it's time to try something new or different.

  12. Clint - This is a really good post. Thank you. When I retired a couple of years ago, the CEO kept asking me, "Marsha, are you sure you don't want to stay another couple of years? Are you sure you and D. will be ok, financially?"

    I had prayed long and hard about the decision, had good peace about it, and have never regretted it for one minute. Sometimes you do know when it is time to quit. :) Great post, Clint!

  13. (Add Brett Farve to that sports list!)

    I decided this last year to retire. It was hard because I loved what I was doing, and I was still a bit on the young side for retirement, but everything in me said it was time. I think what keeps us hanging on sometimes is fear.

    Right now I'm trying to decide whether to continue with taekwondo (I'm just saying this to give me an excuse to tell you I just got my black belt--finally!) or quit and switch to something a little easier on my knees. We'll see.

    Interesting post and comments.

  14. First I have to say I admire Pat Summitt for coming out and admitting it and owning up to it.

    My husband retired this year - and we don't know for sure if we are that financially grounded either. However it just seemed like the right time.

    I think you have to ask God and listen


  15. The Good Lord will see to your needs, Clint. He has a way of making the best work for those that trust in Him...and you do.
    Personally, I gave up my medical career when it my emotions interfered with better judgement. It was particularly difficult in a small town, knowing everyone. Who knows if I made the right decision, but I knew I did, ' at the time.'
    Could I go back? They begged me to return but I'm still just a stay-at-home Grandma/Mom/Wife/Friend.

  16. I think when one is no longer effective at a job and the performance of colleagues and subordinates is adversely affected. I do have to point out that not all retires leave their jobs because they have become ineffective. Some of us just need the rest and a change of pace :-). Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Marye

  17. Look what happened to Andy Rooney. I say to stay in the game as long as you can.

  18. Some people never know when they are not capable to work, but then on the other hand it does many people the world of good not to retire.
    It's the ones that need to retire and won't that are the problem.