How To Keep Going When You Feel Like Giving Up - Legally Bold

How To Keep Going When You Feel Like Giving Up


Sometimes entrepreneurship is extremely rewarding. You feel creative and connected to purpose and meaning in your work.

At other times it's frightening, risky, and feels like you're trying to chip away at a mountain with a spoon. 

Starting a business from scratch takes more resilience and tenacity than you ever imagined. You can find yourself regularly questioning whether you should keep going or throw in the towel.

This is the best illustration of a day in the life of an entrepreneur I've found so far.

When you feel like giving up as an entrepreneur, there are all of these popular cliches designed to strengthen your willpower and bring you back from the brink. 

People will tell you to "keep grinding," "hustler harder," "when the going gets tough, the tough get going," and "you can sleep when you're dead."  

But these cliches sound like a recipe for a heart attack, and I'll take a nap now over an early death any day.

The Problem With Willpower

The fundamental problem with willpower is that we think achievement comes down to having it or not. If we have enough will, we are good, smart, and resilient. We will achieve our goal with ease.  

If we don't have enough willpower, then we are lazy and deficient in some way. Our goals will always elude us because we aren't motivated enough to achieve them. 

These beliefs about willpower aren't true.

Yes, you need internal motivations for wanting to set a goal in the first place. But creating lasting change isn't an internal game.

To achieve anything, you have to control all of the sources of influence that guide your behavior long term.

6 Sources of Influence

In his TEDx Talk, Al Switzler identifies the 6 sources of influence that impact our ability to achieve goals. They include:

Sources of Influence


Personal Influences

Our personal influences are made up of our internal motivation (willpower) and our skills and abilities;


Social Influences

These are our supporter and coaches who keep us accountable and encourage us to keep going; and  


Structural influences

Our structural influences include our environment and reward system. To achieve any goal, our brains work best if we put them in optimal environments to succeed, and we believe we are working toward a reward or against a punishment.

According to Switzler's research, we must understand, personalize, and control for all 6 of these influences if we want to achieve a goal. Willpower alone isn't going to cut it.


Finding The Motivation To Keep Going

So when you are facing a challenge to your ability to persevere, it's not because you have a willpower problem, it's because you have a math problem. You didn't know that, in addition to willpower, you needed to control for the 5 other influences on your behavior.  


Luckily, all hope is not lost. To get back on the horse when you feel like giving up, remember to control for these influences first:

  • Ability  – Have you learned the skills necessary to achieve your goal?
  • Motivation – Do you still want to achieve the result? Does it align with your life goals right now?
  • Supporters – Do you have friends cheering you on? Can you avoid those friends that reinforce old habits?
  • Coaches – Do you have a coach or mentor to keep you accountable? (There is a reason that the coaching profession has exploded. Coaches help you get results.)
  • Environment – Have you created physical space for your success and removed any items that would hinder it? (I'm talking to you chips.)
  • Reward – Our brains love prizes. What rewards will you give yourself along the way to make sure you stick to your goal? 

Got tips on staying motivated when you feel like giving up? I'd love to hear your strategies and your thoughts on this post. Let me know in the comments below.