One dangerous myth holding people back is that quitting is for losers. The opposite is true.

According to Pareto’s rule, 20% of your projects will deliver 80% of your results and satisfaction.

The secret to extraordinary success is consistently quitting all the projects and tasks outside your top 20%.

Yep, that’s right, for a quantum jump in results, you will need to quit 80% of what you are doing to focus on the top 20%.

The myth that you should not quit keeps unfulfilled people stuck. They stay with jobs, projects, products and businesses way past their expiration date.

It also stops them from trying new things freely, as they think trying means committing.

All this waste of potential because of an internal need for consistency and not seeming like a quitter.

The “don’t quit” myth is so pervasive that the people who reinvent themselves feel guilt. Like they should have gotten it right the first time. Like changing directions is some kind of failure.

I am no stranger to quitting.

I built a 6-figure virtual 1:1 coaching sessions business, and then I shut it down. I decided not to offer the standard virtual sessions package anymore but only 1:1 coaching retreats.

I had ten associate coaches who would serve my clients, and then I decided to close the associate part of my business down.

I also built a 6-figure team coaching business that I loved. This week, I transitioned all my team coaching clients to another team coaching company so that I could focus on VisionPath.

These were all products that I poured a lot of love, energy and creativity into. Clients loved them, and they were doing well.

My former self would feel guilty for shutting down successful products.

I now know that creative destruction is necessary for a quantum leap. It is not failure; it is a milestone in your evolution and continued success.

Apple needed to shut down their iPod business, even if it was worth billions, so it could focus on the iPhone.

Creative destruction is an inevitable step towards success

In his book “10x is Easier Than 2x,” Dan Sullivan builds the case that every quantum leap is preceded by letting go of 80% of what you were doing.

You need to identify what 20% of your activities bring 80% of results and satisfaction. Then, focus on that 20% and let everything else go.

The criteria to choose your top 20% depend on what is important to you. It does not necessarily mean revenue, even though it might be. I usually look at the highest-ranking activities in terms of enjoyment, impact, profit, scalability and potential.

Every time I let go of the 80%, I found myself with plenty more free time and a revenue boost soon after.

I read an excellent explanation for this in the book “Energy Codes” by Dr Sue Morter.

Everything in life has its cycle. Each cycle has three stages: creation, maintenance and death.

We are moving in an upward spiral, going from one cycle to the next, constantly evolving.

We need to close the current cycle to move to a higher one in our evolution.

We need to let our projects and products end when it is time to uplevel. Resisting this leads to stagnation and a lack of evolution.

It is like a tree refusing to shed its leaves or its fruit.

Fail Fast

Some companies do not innovate because they are too afraid of failure and do not try new things.

Others might try new things but do not have a structured approach to evaluate their experiments. They do not kill off the ones that do not work to redirect resources to the ones that do.

If you try things but do not kill projects, you end up with a complicated, bloated organization and a bunch of mediocre products.

When I worked at Google, I saw how the mantra “Fail Fast” was responsible for most of the company’s innovative culture.

When Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997, his first action was reducing more than 90% of Apple products. This creative destruction set up the foundation for the company’s extraordinary growth.

Is there such a thing as quitting too early?

Yes, quitting at the right time is an art.

It is during the maintenance stage of the cycle that we enjoy the fruits of our creation, like money, success and ease. It is then that the compounding effect kicks in.

If we never take any project to maintenance, we see limited fruits of our labour. We are perpetually in creation mode or in the void between cycles.

All my products started small. It took some persistence to see them grow and start paying off financially and in terms of impact.

The secret to not quitting too early is to enjoy the process rather than be in it for the result.

In the last few weeks, after a year and a half of doing yoga several times a week, I was able to do a basic pose: chaturanga.

It downed me that, finally, the compounding effect kicked in. But since I enjoyed the process, this milestone came as a bonus.

The frequent reflection on the 80% to let go and the 20% to double down on will ensure we take our projects through their full cycle rather than killing them off too early or too late.

What happens in between cycles

When we have closed one cycle but have not started the next one, we are in the creative void. I love that space in between. It is the space to be rather than do. Explore rather than go from A to B.

I intentionally design Sabbaticals and take time off between my projects. Some of my most significant breakthroughs and ideas come during the creative void.

The best way to organize your closet is to get all the clothes out on the bed and be intentional about what goes back in.

The Sabbatical is a similar process. You pause your old activities so that you can be intentional about what goes back in.

Conclusion

In embracing the cycles of creation, maintenance, and death for our projects, we unlock the door to growth.

Strategic quitting is not a sign of failure but a courageous step towards focusing on what matters. It is allowing ourselves the freedom to evolve.

By letting go of the bottom 80% to fully invest in the top 20%, we mirror the natural cycles of life itself.

Creative destruction paves the way for quantum leaps. Here are some questions for you:

Which 20% of your projects bring 80% of the results and satisfaction?
When have you implemented strategic quitting or creative destruction in your life? What were the results?
What stage of the cycle of life are your key projects right now? Creation, maintenance, death or the creative void?
What do you need to let go of to prepare for your next quantum leap?

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