James Cluskey is an author, ex-Davis Cup tennis pro and just happens to be in a position to teach a certain Richard Branson a thing or two. So, who better to advise when the time is right to move on and try something else.
I think we all come to a crossroad at certain periods of our life and we need to make a tough decision whether to quit or to keep pushing on. I don’t like the word quit, but sometimes we need to find a different mountain or path to go and climb.
I’ve been successful and achieved a lot of my big goals, but I’ve failed on a number of them too. I’m going to give you my take on when it’s time to quit and to move on.
1. Your Gut– I genuinely believe in the power of your Gut. When we know, we know. We just have that feeling there, and we feel the time is right. I got to 145 in the world in tennis. My big goal was to make it into the top 100. However, I was struggling towards the end of my career.
I lost a match in Italy, and I put my racket in my bag. I said that’s it I’m done. I knew the time was right. Too many times, we don’t listen to our Gut. Look in the mirror and ask yourself some hard questions.
2. Look at the facts– The facts don’t lie. When you look at the information whether it’s your tennis form or the numbers in business or whatever metric you want to use, then we must look at the facts. We need to be realistic. If someone said to me when I was 150 in the world that I was going to be number 1 in the world, then the facts don’t show that.
If I had been 20 years old and moved up the rankings quickly and had some great results, then it might be possible. We need to sit down and look at the facts and decide should we keep moving forward with this plan.
3. Have you still got the passion– I knew towards the end of my career that I’d lost the passion for the chase. I loved tennis, but I think I was burnt out from travelling 35 weeks a year and from living out of a suitcase. I always think of athletes that come out of retirement to play again. They can retire for several reasons, but sometimes it’s due to losing that fire or passion for the sport.
A lot of athletes come out of retirement for right and wrong reasons, but one thing I believe is they have that fire or passion to come back. If you have the desire to keep going then, by all means, keep going, but if your passion and drive are gone, then it’s time to do something else.
4. You’re not happy– Life is short, and you may as well do something in life that you want to do. We all have days where we are not happy and are struggling along. However, we believe in our vision, and we are happy with the progress we are making. If we are on the right path and feel we can achieve our vision, then keep going and go do it.
I broke a Guinness World Record for the longest doubles match in 2018. We played for 60 hours of continuous tennis. It was the hardest thing I’ve done, was incredibly challenging, but overall I was happy doing it. I was with friends and great people around me.
If you are not satisfied and fulfilled in going after your goal then for the sake of yourself, please do something else that makes you happy.
James Cluskey is an Ex-Davis Cup tennis pro, founder of personal development group High Calibre Collective and author of Advantage: Lessons from Sport and Business to Achieve Your Goals published by Panoma Press, priced £12.99
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