Quitter's Edge

When I was a little girl, my father used to tell me that winners never quit and quitters never win. It has been something that has stuck with me and that I think about in all that I have set out to do in my life. But never has it been more apparent than in the last few years when I have been out skiing. First let me say that I have always believed that I could do anything that I set my mind to. Anything. If I decided I was going to learn something new, I just set out and did it. So when I decided at 35 to learn to ski again, I knew that it would take time and practice. But I never believed or even set sights at becoming a really good skier. However, as several years passed, I realized I had improved - to the point where I took the ski instructors course - and passed. I achieved something I never thought I could.

In fact I learned so much the year I became a ski instructor that I thought - wow - I really have made it. But the following year, I did not ski so well. And the year after that I had a few good days, but again - felt I had taken two steps backwards. And I felt like quitting.

"Why am I doing this anyway?" I would ask myself. "I don't need to ski. It does not define who I am."

What had happened was that I had lost the joy of doing what I had once loved - because I had begun to measure everything and expect steady improvement. I became discouraged at my lack of progress and wanted to quit.

I realized how the same thing had happened several times with my business - and in fact I saw it happen regularly to other people's businesses as well. Often I would see people close up shop, and go get a job because they just got so discouraged at lack of growth or overwhelming responsibility and debt.

To finish the story - this last week-end, I grudgingly accompanied my husband who wanted to get one last day of skiing in - to the ski hill. We left at 6 am on a Sunday morning to drive 3.5 hours to our favorite mountain. The scenery on the drive was gorgeous -the weather sunny all the way through what seemed like hundreds of majestic mountains.

When we arrived I got on my skis and decided to ski better - this last time in the season - or at least achieve the level I had 3 years previous. I was on the chair riding up to the first run when it hit me. What an incredible view. Then I looked below and watched as a child tumbled and fell and lay in the snow laughing and laughing. I realized then - life (business, skiing etc) is for living and enjoying. In all my striving to ski better, I had missed the breathtaking scenery and the fun of speeding downhill. In fact I had taken it all so seriously - I had lost the joy.

After several runs downhill - some good and some bad - I realized something: nothing happens all at one time. It happens in little bits. Two steps forward - one step back! Really - life was like a dance - but I had never looked at the one step back as part of the necessary process in the dance. In fact - I realized it was during the one step back that I always felt like quitting. But because I had not quit - I had enjoyed the spectacular scenery, giggled with a child and then later in the day found that ‘sweet spot' or center of balance on my skis and had some really great runs!

So where are you with your business? Are you taking things so seriously that you have lost the joy or passion for what you do? Do you feel like you are in that one step back spot? Are you at the quitter's edge?

When you feel like you are at the quitter's edge - and guaranteed there is a time we all get there - stop for a moment and look back. Look at what you have created and how far you have come. And celebrate. Praise yourself for your own greatness, creativity and endurance. Look around you and find the ‘difference' you have made. You need to remind yourself of what you have manifested by your ideas and actions. Your business - your customers, your income, however big or small, would never have come into being without your effort, vision and determination. And then look forward. Understand that there will be bumps in the road. Nothing happens all at once. Your business is a living thing - and sometimes there will be ‘hiccups'. What do you do when this happens? Here are a few tips.

Meet up with another business owner for a good chin-wag

Call your mentor - ask for ideas

Save encouraging notes - re-read them

Take a few days off to refresh yourself

Whatever you do - don't have that pity party. Find a reason to get excited about your business - and amazingly doors will begin to open for you again. Remember - a winner is someone who never quits. And winning is not about getting there first. Winning is the process of never quitting


Mandie Crawford is a marketing expert, business coach, trainer and motivational speaker who was recently awarded Calgary Business Woman of the Year for her contributions to the business community.

Mandie also has skills and expertise in providing high quality guidance in time management and system implementation for small a medium sized businesses. Her passion as a business and professional development coach is to helps women recognize their value and self worth.

She is the Preside...

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