Throwing In The Towel

“Given the paper’s limited means, there was nothing else I could do to further its mission,” says Roland S. Martin. In March 2007, the nationally syndicated columnist and Chicago-based radio host resigned from his position as executive editor of the nation’s largest black daily newspaper, the Chicago Defender. According to Martin, 38, a lack of resources–finances, experienced employees, and board support–prompted his decision to call it quits after a two-and-a-half-year stint. “Moving on was the best choice for the Defender and myself,” he says.

“Believe it or not, quitting is often a great strategy, a smart way to manage your life and career,” writes Seth Godin in his book The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick) (Penguin Group; $12.95). Winners are those who have the guts to quit early and redirect their energy toward actions that are better aligned with their goals to live their best life, he adds.

While slow to embrace the term “quit,” Martin acknowledges that his career and personal success are largely the result of his ability to assess when things aren’t working and take swift action.

“When we make the strategic decision to stop investing in actions that offer little return or negative outcomes, we are tapping into the power of positive quitting,” explains Miami-based certified life coach Pamela Mitchell. It’s important to discontinue activities that steal our time, drain our energy, waste our money, or diminish our self-esteem and respect, says Mitchell, CEO and chief vision officer of The Reinvention Institute.
But what is the most effective way to quit? “After much consideration,” says Mitchell. “Quitting should be an informed decision that takes other people and extenuating factors into account.” She recommends that individuals quit with an optimistic attitude and when possible make provisions for leaving those impacted by the decision in the best way possible.

Although Martin insists he has no regrets, he admits that walking away is difficult.
“As African Americans with a long and valiant history of struggling against the odds, quitting can be perceived as failure,” maintains Mitchell. But she emphasizes that quitting in the right situations can lead to success by allowing us to concentrate our energy on pursuing goals that are more closely aligned with what we want out of life.

Since leaving the paper, Martin is focusing on his radio show, The Roland S. Martin Show, on WVON/1690AM in Chicago; promoting his book, Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith (Romar Media Group; $11.95); and serving as a contributor for the TV One cable network and CNN across several of the network’s programs.

Not bad for a quitter.

Taking A Dip: To Quit Or Not To Quit
Here’s some advice for recognizing when to cut your losses as well as when you should stay the course

Quit when what you’re doing is not a priority. Focus on the important endeavors; cease those you truly don’t care about.

Quit when despite all your best efforts the situation doesn’t improve. Assess whether situations are moving forward, backward, or remain stagnant.