As an entrepreneur, you probably occasionally have your moments of doubts, when you ask yourself: Should I go on, or is it time to stop? Have I reached a dead-end, or is it simply another challenge that needs to be met? On the one hand, you know you are fully invested in the process, you have devoted time and energy, you have made some sacrifices and probably put in some money; on the other hand, doubts and uncertainty are essential to progress. So how can you know whether it is time to recalibrate and move onto a different path, or, alternatively, whether you should stick with your investment and push on further?
Consistency is, as we know, a major part of success, but how long should you persist? How can you make sure not to lose sight of reality when evaluating the odds and the options on the way to realizing your goal? Surely, when the situation is clear — on the one side, zero results, even though you have exhausted all your options, and on the other side, promising signs of success — then the answer is equally obvious. It is in the interim that uncertainty looms; when the answer isn’t so clear-cut. And that's when you may be thankful for having some kind of formula to help you make a decision.
Here are 3 simple questions you can ask yourself whenever you get close to one of the poles — namely, the should I stay or should I go points — to help you find the strength to go on:
A Sense of Timelessness – The first question you should ask yourself is whether you enjoy what you do. Are you so satisfied that you feel like you lose track of time? Are you so concentrated in your activities and in the creative challenges, achievements, and interactions that you find that time doesn’t matter? If the answer is "YES" this is a sure sign that you're on track. The opposite of this feeling is working at a job where you just want the day to be over, where you keep looking at your watch, desperate to be done. Yet, you shouldn’t confuse being happy with what you do with achieving external acknowledgment or success. You can feel your absolutely best writing a book or a blog or developing an app or a business but still not realize a market potential, because others don’t resonate with your message or they have a problem which hasn’t been solved by your solution. So, there may be no correlation between your own self-development and progress and positive feedback from the outside world. You may still be making big personal leaps, but this is not necessarily linked to a market need or match.
Pure Unlimited Choice – The second question you should ask yourself is what you would be doing if you had no limitations whatsoever, not of money, time, responsibilities, or prior commitments. How would you spend your time? Would you still be doing what you’re doing now —blogging, startup, small business? If the answer is "YES", that's another sign that you're in the right place.
The Cause – The third question you should ask yourself is whether your venture serves a higher cause. Will it benefit not only you and your close circle of family and friends but also have a larger circle of influence? Serving a cause that helps others (whether by helping fellow bloggers, directly impacting the lives of others, or helping improve the circumstances of a certain group) not only gives motivation and strength but also proves that your efforts are driven by a sense of purpose. If the answer to this question is "YES", namely, you feel that you are contributing to something greater than yourself, this once again proves that you're in the right place, because any contribution, regardless of the end results, will benefit the cause. You are playing your part in the process of providing others with innovation, knowledge, or information, and together it is easier to progress and achieve a goal.
If the answers to these 3 questions is "YES" (you lose track of time, you would still be doing the same thing even if all options were open to you, and you believe you are serving a greater cause), then you should probably continue doing what you're doing; you are not ready to give up on your vision. The fewer the number of "YES's", the harder you will find it to battle on.
In order to get a clear answer to these 3 questions, you must try and weigh up your answers somewhat objectively, as if you were an observer, detached from your efforts and your creation.
These 3 questions are totally disconnected from the results or outcomes of your efforts. Rather, they are dependent on your internal satisfaction and triggers, which is why they are a good way of telling whether you are still on track toward achieving your vision. They are, likewise, independent of external influences and feedback, again making them the strongest indication that your inner motivation is playing a significant role in working toward your goal.