Before entering the adult and corporate world, I was an avid athlete, playing multiple sports–soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, and track and field–while I was in grade school. During the many years and hours I dedicated to sports, games, practices, and conditioning, I realized the power of not giving up on your goals. With every loss or failure, I had to pick myself up from where I’d fallen and keep playing, keep running, and keep going because my team was counting on me and I refused to let them (and myself) down.
If you’re not a sports person, maybe you can’t relate to the above example. But chances are, there are obstacles you’ve faced in college or in your early career, where you’ve been tempted to give up, but instead pushed through. And chances are, that won’t be the last time you reach an obstacle in pursuing your goals and want to give up. For those times, I want to encourage you with this blog post. Here’s how to not give up when dealing with tough work situations.
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When You Want to Give Up
In the first few months of my corporate job, I was super energized and ready to work. After a year teaching English abroad, I was excited to use my college degree in a more direct way, to learn a lot about consulting, and meet more young professionals like myself.
You can imagine my shock and disappointment when I was not deployed to a project for several months, when I spent a majority of my time doing admin and grunt work, and the young professionals were all spread across the country, making it hard to connect with them.
When You Want to Give Up – Tough Work Situations
This is just one of the tough work situations I’ve faced as an English Teaching Assistant and a corporate young professional. I’ve also faced tough work situations like:
- Working with Critical Colleagues
- Dealing with Co-Worker Conflict
- Lack of Motivation to Be Productive
- Feeling Invisible at Work
- Unrealistic Expectations from your Boss
- Heavy Workloads and Unrealistic Timelines
- Not Learning New Skills or Given New Opportunities
- Challenging Projects and Assignments
- Not receiving Challenging Work and Assignments
- Feeling Stuck at Work or Not Progressing in Career
- Not Receiving Recognition of your Work
In all of these situations, it’s been tempting for me to give up, to give up on my job, to give up on my program, to give up on my team, company, or the corporate world. So if you’ve experienced or are experiencing some of the above situations, know that you are not alone!
Feeling Like You Want To Give Up?
Everyone experiences days where they want to throw in the towel. When they’re tired of pulling out their hair and going in circles around the same problem over and over again.
How do you feel when you want to give up?
I get frustrated with myself for not achieving my goals fast enough and angry that the path to my goal is not clear. Obstacle after obstacle, I get more and more tired, and once that discouragement hits, I want to give up on myself, my goals, and my dreams.
Sound familiar? Well, we will get through this together by not giving up and persevering!
Why is not giving up important?
While there are many more reasons, here are three quick reasons why not giving up is so important.
- You owe it to your goals.
Your goals are important and unique to you, and when you choose a goal, you choose it for a reason. Whatever that reason may be, you need to bring it to your mind now. You’ve put time, effort, and energy into accomplishing your goal, and you don’t want all of that to be wasted. Don’t give up!
- You owe it to your team.
Whether you’re working at a corporation that has a hundred people or a hundred thousand people, whether you’re at a non-profit or working in a lab or university, chances are, you aren’t working alone. There are other people that rely on you to do your job and complete your work.
Just like my sports teams, who needed me to show up to our practices and games, your team is counting on you to get your work done. Remind yourself that your team, your boss, or your department, or the customer, whoever that may be for your company, is counting on you.
Think about the downstream impact of your work and how it contributes to the bigger picture.
- You owe it to yourself.
Being able to perseverance when things get tough is a strong character trait. It’s one that we desire in our coworkers, our friends, our family, our spouses, etc. But it’s also something we desire in ourselves.
When I began pursuing publishing a novel, I was discouraged and rejected over and over again. Yet to this day, though I have no publishing contract, I am still persevering. Why?
Because I am a writer, I have a distinct voice that God has given me to tell the unique story that He has also given me. By not giving up, I’m showing the critics, agents, and publishers that I believe in myself and that I’m willing to do the work to achieve my goals.
I’m showing them that I didn’t give up in the face of obstacles nor did I let rejection and negativity drag me down, which is why they should want to work with me.
With all the work I’ve put into my books and my stories, I owe it to myself not to give up. So, don’t give up on yourself either! You owe it to yourself to keep going and see your goals through to the end.
The Power of Not Giving Up
Before talking about how to not give up and ways to motivate yourself not to give up, it’s important to remember that our strength and power does not come from ourselves. In fact, the power of not giving up comes from our Heavenly Father. Scripture says:
“He gives power to the faint,
and to him who has no might he increases strength.
Even youths shall faint and be weary,
and young men shall fall exhausted;
but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.”Isaiah 40:29-31 (ESV)
In this passage, it says that even youths shall faint and be weary. So it is completely normal to face challenging situations and want to give up, even as a young professional. It’s normal to feel exhausted by the tough situations we face and discouraged by them.
But the good news is that God offers us the power we need to not give up and overcome whatever we are facing at work. Pray these verses to the Lord and ask Him to give you the power to not give up. Ask Him to show you in your tough work situation how the power of not giving up can have an impact on your work and those around you.
How to Not Give Up — Strategies to Not Give Up
Here are nine strategies that you can use when you want to give up. Every tough work situation will be different, so there’s no set formula to overcoming the urge to give up. But these tips for how to not give up can push you in the right direction and remind you of all the tools at your disposal.
- Focus on one piece at a time.
Instead of trying to solve everything at once, try to zoom in and just choose one facet of the tough situation. For example, if you have a boatload of work all of a sudden and are feeling overwhelmed, consider choosing just one task to focus on at a time.
- Stop Procrastinating.
Procrastination is a constant temptation of mine. It’s so easy to push things off to later, especially when you don’t want to do them. However, when that later comes, you’ll likely feel overwhelmed and want to give up. By tackling things as soon as they hit your plate, you’re more likely to complete them in a timely manner and less likely to have a mountain load of work later.
How do I motivate myself to not give up?
- Look at the Big Picture.
Each employee makes a small contribution to the place where they work, and when all of those small contributions are combined, the company is able to accomplish its ultimate goal, which is usually, serving its customers. While you may not be passionate about the work you’re doing at the moment, think instead about the big picture. What is your company doing as a whole? How is your work contributing to the big picture?
- Reminisce on past successes.
Earlier in this post, I spoke about my time playing sports and how I decided to persevere instead of giving up. As a result of the hard work and not giving up, my teammates and I were champions at one point or another. I reminisce on other times in my life where I pushed through instead of giving up and what I was able to achieve as a result. Keep your past successes in mind to encourage you.
What else should I do to not give up?
- Practice Patience.
Sometimes time is what’s needed to resolve a tough work situation. For example, if you’re constantly butting heads with your colleague, you may be tempted to stop collaborating with the person all together. However, in my experience, with a little bit of time and a couple of projects together, you and your colleague will learn how to work together. You’ll learn how to adjust your working and communication style to best collaborate with your colleague.
- Find a New Point of View.
Albert Einstein said that insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”Albert Einstein
Don’t be afraid to change your tactics and tackle a problem in a different way. If you’re feeling invisible at work, perhaps you’ve tried eating in the cafeteria so that you can eat with your colleagues. I have, except that most of my colleagues work from home, it turns out. So instead, I’ve made extra effort to schedule fun meetings with them to catch up during the week.
- Take a Break.
Sometimes when you want to give up, we don’t really need to give up. We just need a break from the problem. A couple of times when I was feeling stuck or like I wasn’t making progress in my career, I would take some days off of my project and attend a training course.
Pursuing development as a young professional is super important, and whenever I attend training, I return to my desk with a new set of tools and new found knowledge to help me at work.
- Try to Learn Something.
There is something to learn from every tough work situation, whether it’s:
- how to be more grateful
- how to be more patient
- how to work with difficult colleagues
- how to make a good presentation
- how to write a proper report
- how to communicate more effectively, etc.
The list goes on and on. I challenge you to take whatever tough situation you are facing and think about what you can learn from it. Use that to motivate you not to give up, knowing that at the end of the day, you’ll learn something important and develop more as a young professional.
- Think about the future.
I’ll be the first to admit that when I face a tough work situation, I think it’s the end of the world. It’s all that I can think about it, and it bothers me to no end that I can’t find a quick way to solve it.
To you and myself, I have to say: remember that these situations are temporary.
If you have a boss who is difficult to work with, know that you won’t always be working for them. Maybe they’ll be promoted, or you will be! If a project isn’t interesting for you, think about how it could be a stepping stone to the next one.
10. Ask for Help
Sometimes when we want to give up, we really just need to ask for help from others, whether that be a boss, a mentor, a colleague, or someone else you trust. Young Professionals don’t know (and shouldn’t know) everything. If you’re stuck on a challenging task and you want to give up, reach out for help. Whenever I’m assigned a new project where I don’t know where to start, I schedule a meeting with my mentor to get advice. She is able to guide me and give me suggestions for how to start.
What do I do when I want to give up?
Instead of giving up, you can enlist any of the strategies I mentioned above about not giving up. Take a break from the problem. Remember the big picture. Think about future opportunities. Find a new point of view. Use these strategies to motivate you not to give up and deal with the tough work situations you may face.
Personally, when I want to give up, I pray to God and ask him to help me navigate the situation. Then I write down my feelings about the situation and try to write a list of the reasons why the situation is frustrating me. Writing things down helps me to find a new perspective and see tough situations in a new way. I may ask for advice from my mentor before I decide how to tackle the problem, one piece at a time.
I’ve enlisted all of these strategies in solving problems, but as a young professional, the ones that have been the most impactful are trying to learn something and thinking about the future.
If I can tell myself how I will benefit from this situation once it’s resolved and how it may help me in the future, then I am motivated to see the problem through and not give up.
Try some of the strategies above until you find what works for you. Until then…
Keep Calm and Never Give Up
In my favorite movie Hitch, the main character Hitch asks out the woman lead, Sarah Melas, on a date. She turns him down for Friday and Saturday, and though he’s quickly running out of weekend days, he perseveres and finally gets Sarah to agree to Sunday brunch.
Whenever I’m tempted to give up, I remember this movie because Hitch defines perseverance as continuing even in the face of obstacles and not getting deterred by failure.
And throughout the whole movie, he experiences a lot of failure, but because of perseverance, (spoiler alert!!) he ends up with the girl.
This example of perseverance is what I keep in mind to motivate me not to give up on my goals and not give up on my dreams. The same applies to tough work situations. It may be easier to give up when things get hard, but you’ll make a bigger impact and a better impression if you stick with it.
Barring special circumstances and hostile work environments (in which case, you may need to consider finding another position) never giving up is a mentality we can adopt when it comes to work.
In the long run, we’ll achieve more by sticking with our goals and seeing our work all the way through.
Not Giving Up Easily
You want to be known in the office as the young professional woman who perseveres, keeps trying, and never gives up. At the end of the day, these are the young professionals that companies want to hire because of their calmness and composure under fire.
With God, the power of not giving up is something we can all have, and He will show us how to not give up when things are tough (Isaiah 40:29-31).
So keep calm and don’t give up. I’m cheering for you!
What do you do when you want to quit?
Leave me a comment below!
Don’t miss this! More posts about Working and the Young Professional Lifestyle:
- Valuable Career Advice for Young Professionals – Peer Approved
- 9 Benefits of Maintaining a Healthy Work Life Balance
- 8 Easy Tips: How to Stay productive at Work
- Best Types of Planners for Productivity, Home, Work
Featured Images: Created with Canva (1); Deposit Photos, created with Canva (2).
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