How to Know When It’s Time to Throw In The Towel

Quitters never win and winners never quit, right? Maybe not.

In fact, it might just be the opposite. If you never throw in the towel and walk away from the things that are not working in your life, you won’t create space for the things that are meant to be – the things where you can and will WIN.

I recently wrote a blog post about accepting failure; about how some things, no matter how hard we try, just aren’t meant to be. That blog prompted some great questions from friends, readers, and clients: how do I know when it’s okay to quit? When can I declare “failure” and move on?

There are three key signs which, for me, are indicators that it is time to call it a day.

  1. When you’re getting consistent signs from others and from the Universe that it’s time to throw in the towel.

Obstacles are a part of life and show up on our path all the time. Often, they are there for our growth and are indicators that we need to persevere and learn how to overcome them. And, often they are indicators that we’re on the wrong path. My client, I’ll call her Jane, is a successful business owner who is in the middle of a divorce and trying to transform her business by breaking into a new market. As with any new market entry there are anticipated roadblocks and hurdles to overcome. Jane’s experience has been no different; however, she’s been at this for several years. Each time she tries a new tactic, the feedback is clear: this market is not buying what Jane is offering. It’s also clear that the new market entry has been a distraction from her dealing with her divorce – something painful that she’d rather avoid. Jane’s repeated messages and signs from the environment and the Universe are indicating that for now, it’s time to throw in the towel on the new market. Maybe she will explore a different tactic and market in the future but for now, her attention needs to be elsewhere.

What feedback are you getting from your environment? Is it a consistent and ongoing indicator that you are not on the right path? If so, don’t be afraid to step away. By doing so you are more likely to be led to the path that’s right for you.

  1. When you’ve exhausted all possibilities to make things work.

When we’re trying to succeed at something that’s important to us, we often try anything and everything to make it work. Like Jane, we may try for years to break into a new market with our business, or try endlessly to repair a relationship that’s not working. Eventually we reach a place where we’ve exhausted not only the possibilities, but also ourselves. Is there always one more thing you can try? Perhaps. But, if you’re honestly assessing your situation and can say for sure you’ve given it your all and done all you can, don’t be afraid to call it a day. Acknowledge how hard you tried and that somethings are not meant to be. Accept that you are on a path that has turned cold and step off it so you can discover the new path that is meant for you.

  1. When you feel it.

This is the most important one and is the only thing that helps you accurately assess the first two. You feel it. You know in your gut that you’re on the wrong path, in the wrong place, with the wrong person, in the wrong career – you just feel it in your bones. This is the biggest indicator that not only is it okay to throw in the towel but you must. When you know in your gut that you’ve exhausted all the possibilities and the signs and messages from the Universe confirm this for you, please do yourself a favor and throw up your white flag. Call it a day. Step away from whatever it is you were hell bent on making successful so you can discover where you are truly meant to be a success.

Maybe sometimes winners never quit, but I believe that at times it’s the quitters who end up winning the most. Don’t be afraid to throw in the towel; often it’s only after you do so that you can see the beauty of what lies ahead.


This blog was originally featured in The Huffington Post on March 28, 2017.

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