Never give up.  It’s advice that is thrown around daily – but is it always right?  We asked some folks we admire about their thoughts around how to know when to give up and when to keep trying

Aaron Young | Photographer & Studio Owner

One of the biggest things I’ve learned in business is how to differentiate fear of failure and fear of not being good enough from the feeling of lack of passion in what I do. There have been a few keys moments in my career when I really questioned if I wanted to be a photographer at all. Did I really love this thing that I was pouring so much time and energy into? Did I really want to do this for the rest of my life, or the foreseeable future? These questions would come rushing in like a wave of doubt and I would spend days thinking maybe I was just kidding myself and I wasn’t really into photography that much and maybe it wasn’t really what I thought I was so passionate about. It would keep me paralyzed from making a move, too scared I was messing my whole life up. Read more>>

Ben Winter | Filmmaker

This may sound a bit counterintuitive, but I feel that my lack of knowing when to give up has steered me in the right direction. On countless projects, I’ve found myself not just past the point of no return, but past the point where a reasonable person would have jumped ship and drowned while they still had their dignity. Sometimes, it’s only in that tunnel vision determination that I can get something done. Other people probably have a healthier relationship with their work, but that’s mine. To me, that process of seeing it through to the end is tantamount to the work itself. Read more>>

Ciara-Chyanne | Ready-To-Wear Fashion Designer

When trying to determine if you should keep going or give up, I always think about a baby when it begins to learn how to walk. Babies will fall several times before it masters having balance and reaching their final destination without hitting the floor over and over again. My point is, you’ll never be successful at something unless you try until you make it. The only way you won’t make it is if you give up. I look at failure as an asset. When you fail, you learn what not to do the next time or you learn how to improve what you are already doing. In this case, I couldn’t give up on my dream of being a fashion designer even if I wanted to. There is no plan B for me. I feel I was called to the fashion industry for a specific purpose and I am now walking in the very thing I once prayed for. Read more>>

Andrew McGregor | Musician, Roboticist, Curator & Educator

From my experience, whether to continue on the same course or make adjustments or abandon ship is a combination of reading the zeitgeist, vision, and revisiting the initial motivations of the endeavor. Always being in touch with the ‘Why’ of one’s actions is a useful litmus. If the ‘Why’ is no longer connected to one’s energies, actions, plans, and vision then calamity and long-term problems may ensue. You can see this in ostensibly successful organizations and people whose vital purpose has long been lost to them and yet they continue because that is all they know and that is what gave them success at a formative period of development. I think it is better for society and the types of individuals who ask these types of questions of themselves to be grounded in principles rather than justifications. Read more>>

Patrick Whitehorn-Schmidt | Illustrator, Designer & Artist

In short: Listen to yourself. Find what moves you and dig in deep. When in doubt, keep going. For me, it was 10 years into a business career in tech before realizing how far from my core I’d strayed. I grew up drawing all the time. Later, it was making music, performing in theater, then video, comics, and graphic design. Creative expression is central to who I am. As someone that also enjoys puzzles and helping others, finding relevance in tech was no big leap. There was music in my connections with colleagues and patterns in the projects I led. And the financial stability didn’t hurt. Toward the end, though, it was taking more than it returned, leaving me too exhausted to create. When an opportunity arose to change course last year, I took my wife’s blessing and went for it. Read more>>