David Harding: How to realize that leaving your job doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve failed

David Harding, CEO, HardingPoorman Group

It’s OK to quit. Think about how much time we waste with stuff that isn’t working.

Quitting doesn’t necessarily mean failure. It’s OK to change your mind, to quit a job where you are miserable or to let go of a partnership or a goal that is no longer moving forward.

Seth Godin, said it in his best-selling book “The Dip”:  “Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations.”

Strategic quitting — or proactive, thought-out change — is not about stopping because something was harder than you anticipated. Life is hard. Strategic quitting is about identifying the wrong turns. It’s about not wasting your time when nothing is going to get better.

This applies not just to business, but to everything in life. Quit the eating patterns that don’t make you feel healthy. Quit the drinking habit that leads to fuzzy thinking. It’s OK to change something when it isn’t working.

When deals fall through

It’s the same thing with the occasional business deal that just doesn’t happen. It looked glorious from afar, full of promise. But then, something changed and you face the stark reality that the big new client/new piece acquisition/leveraged buyout isn’t going to happen after all.

It happens to us all. My advice? Communicate. Never be afraid to give people the bad news. Let your team know what happened and be transparent. Tell them your vision, the next steps to get there, and move on. It will make you happier when you “quit” and move on to something that makes you more excited.

So many people are not in love with what they do. What they do for a living — and what they do outside of work.

Plenty of great business-savvy men and women just don’t get this connection. They are far too focused on the brass ring (money, stature, success) and not on their passion, the emotional ground wire that lights up inside them.

To get passion, you need to want it

Few leaders “get” this. And that’s unfortunate, because without passion — a mission that you love — you burn out. It’s true in business and it’s true in relationships.

You have to want the concept of passion to get it. You’ve got to love what you do, to feel the kind of success that lights you up, where you don’t “hate” to go to work each morning, and can’t wait to get there because you’re excited to attack the day.

When you work with someone that lights up, you know it. You feel that positive energy radiating out, and it is absolutely contagious.

When I talk to people about whether they are passionate or not, most often I get a blank stare. They have never been asked about it. In fact, many people don’t know what I mean. I like to ask them what would get them excited to go to work each morning. What would they be thinking about when their mind raced and they couldn’t get to sleep? If money didn’t matter, what would they be doing?

Finding your passion is very difficult. But when you do, it’s amazing how you feel and what you can accomplish because you’re excited. If you do what you’re passionate about, good things will follow.

Robert Pagliarini is president of Richer Life Media. Here are some questions he thinks may help you find your passion:

What would you do that would give you a sense of pride? What would an ideal day look like for you? What have been the most significant experiences in your life (traveling, studying, awards that you’ve received)? When are you at your best? What does it look like? Suppose you had 24 hours to live. What would you regret not having done?

So what’s your passion? Do some digging. Figure it out. Put it into daily practice at work and at home.

David Harding is president and CEO of HardingPoorman Group, a locally owned and operated graphic communications firm in Indianapolis consisting of several integrated companies all under one roof. The company has been voted as one of the “Best Places to Work” in Indiana by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. Harding can be reached at [email protected] For more information, go to www.hardingpoorman.com