When should you give up a work project?
…hopelessness is the saddest of human emotions, especially when it follows upon the excitement of hopefulness. The moment when hopes are dashed and dreams abandoned is, for me, the saddest moment of all.
Thus wrote Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb when discussing the position of the children of Israel in Egypt. They had fallen from the euphoria of the protection of Joseph down to the slavery of a new pharaoh. For Weinreb, this is arguably the saddest point in the five books of Moses.
Many different types of people enter my office to receive business mentoring or coaching. And it is not just because I am located in Jerusalem that I find the above reflection ironic.
Some clients walk in with a pretend an aurora of strength and some place their weakness right out on the table. When you come in to an office like mine, it is because you need some commercial guidance. Frequently, people have started out with high aspirations, but things have not worked out as anticipated. Most are (eventually?) prepared to take on the challenge of my methods and to change.
Others question themselves and then seek my approval to give up. The problem for them is that I do not take on clients if I think that their project / concept / operation has minimal value. Thus, I do not readily offer them the path of turning back.
How can I instill in them a feeling of hope? As I explained to somebody this week, my role is to allow them to hold on to the true meaningfulness of what they are trying to achieve. That will provide a large beam of light to aim for.
Over the past few days, I have been working with a couple of teams, both separately aiming to establish large projects in the tourism trade. They are not easy to pull together. In fact. the odds are stacked against them.
However, all involved are learning so much and in a short passage of time. They are getting much satisfaction out of their struggles. And they are clearly overcoming the barriers, one by one. Many of my teachers from schooldays would have called this approach stupidity. Others today view this as resilience. And the despair of my clients is gradually being left behind.
I have just watched a clip on Facebook of a young man from Far East Asia. He has no legs. He ‘walks’ around placing two stool-like objects in front of him, one after the other. The film pans out to reveal him shopping with his wife. The last clip is of him, pottering around quite normally at home.
Clearly this is somebody who did not give up.