Despite the mantras of “Never give up” and “Keep fighting” that many achievers subscribe to, hundreds of thousands of Americans shut down businesses, end relationships, or close the doors on some type of dream each year. In 2008, an estimated 595,600 small businesses were shuttered, according to the SBA. More than 1.4 million Americans stopped battling financial pressure by filing for bankruptcy last year. And in 2008, 3.5 out of every 1,000 people ended their marriages. Did all these people lack faith and courage to follow through? No.
“While you never want to give up on a dream, sometimes it’s in a person’s best interest to let go of how they are trying to manifest it,” says Rev. Anthony Farmer, founder of Visions of the Heart, a spiritual life center based in Mount Rainier, Maryland.
In other words, sometimes you must walk away and wait for a different time or develop a better approach. Or, in some instances, not relaunch it at all. But how do you know when that time has come?
Compromising your basic needs or those of your family may indicate that a dream has become too costly, says Tiffany D. Sanders, a licensed psychologist based in Naperville, Illinois. “If you’re neglecting your or your dependents’ physiological needs because you want this dream to come to fruition, it might not be worth it,” she warns.
Some other ways to determine if a dream is too costly:
- “Ask yourself, ‘how long have I been swimming upstream with this,’” says Nicole Cutts, a licensed clinical psychologist and success coach in Washington, D.C. Sure, dreams require hard work, but “if you’re struggling and working hard without making progress but instead experiencing setback after setback over a long time, then you need to consider whether you’re moving in the right direction.”
- Assess whether you’re utilizing all your money, time, or energy. Some entrepreneurs may work seven days a week to get a business started. But if they get no satisfaction or are neglecting other things in life with no end in sight, they may want to postpone their dream until they can access a surplus of financial or emotional resources, Sanders suggests. So if you’re constantly depleted (mentally, physically, or otherwise) while trying to accomplish your goal, the timing may not be right.
- Think twice if the dream causes you to compromise your morals and values, Sanders advises. “If you’re scheming or manipulating to maintain it, stop.”
- Check your motivation. “Fear of loss or hurting your self- image are not good reasons to hold on,” says Cutts. “If the enjoyment is all gone, ask yourself ‘Why?’”
- Set a limit that’s reasonable for you, such as a period of time or a dollar amount, to spend on the dream, Cutts advises. Once you get to that point, if you’ve seen no results, it may be time to try something different.
- And, yes, naysayers are typically available and ready to oppose you; however there are trustworthy people you should turn to. But you must listen, especially if what they’re saying goes against your pursuits. Sanders suggests, “If family members and close friends are telling you you’re neglecting certain aspects of your life, this may be a time for you to postpone or alter your course.”