Hold, Raise or Fold? - When to Stick With Your Plan and When to Retreat

Last month I discussed how to decide whether to persevere and continue to pursue your goals even in the face of setbacks.  This month’s article is basically part two. If you decided that your goals ARE worth pursing, how do you decide if you should stay the course or if you should revise your plan?  Here are some of the questions to ask yourself:

Are you following a coherent plan? Can you look at your plan objectively and say, “yup, that is a good plan”? It doesn’t have to be perfect, but if it is reasonable, then you should stick with it, at least for a while.  What do I mean by reasonable?  Would an extraordinary degree of luck be necessary to make this happen, or would old fashioned hard work and persistence likely be sufficient?  Do all the intermediate steps build toward the final goal, or do they conflict in some way? You don’t have to do something perfectly to achieve fantastic results.  However, you do have to work at it consistently, and second guessing your choices is likely to be counterproductive.

Does the plan make sense based on YOUR talents, YOUR team, resources, and values? Sometimes we create plans based on expert advice. The problem is that plans are like clothes. They might be perfect for someone else, but we are not all made the same way.  You need a plan that will fit your strengths and preferences, and those of your team (if you are working with other people).

Is there an inherent time lag? Some things take time.  Actually, lots of things take time.  If you are building a reputation in a new market, changing the work culture in your organization, or simply making new friends, these things don’t get handled all at once.  People need time to learn, absorb, change their default behaviors, etc.  If you are feeling impatient with the pace of your results, just think through the situation logically and see if there are any built in time lags that could explain your current outcomes.  If that is your main problem, just keep going.

Are lousy circumstances getting in your way? Your idea could be way ahead of its day.  If you were trying to teach yoga in the United States in the 1950s, I’m guessing you wouldn’t get very far.  You could also be teamed up with the wrong people, or in the wrong location, or the macroeconomic forces could be lowering your chances of success.  Once you get clear about these sorts of external factors, it should be pretty clear whether you should put your plan on hold or revise it in some way.

Good luck and enjoy the process!!