While I haven’t quite understood the psychology behind “sunk costs,” I do know that people hold on to things that offer no value far longer than needed. In fact, if you’re assessing the money, time, and effort you’ve invested in your pursuit right at this moment, it’s already too late. Why? Because you still haven’t found an answer to the “what about the money that I’ve already invested?” question.
The fact is there are no easy answers to that. The time, effort, and money you’ve invested is well past gone. However, what you have right now is a choice — to move forward to explore other opportunities or stay frustrated where you are and reminisce. Irrespective of your choice, the fact remains that you’re better served moving further than staying stuck.
I say that from experience, having invested hundreds of thousands of my hard earned dollars in failed projects, learning initiatives, and plans that went nowhere. You really don’t lose all that you’ve already invested as the skills and knowledge you gained are highly transferrable unless you’re switching to something completely opposite, for example from Law to Nuclear Physics.
I went from struggling to launch my independent executive coaching business to having refocused my energies to build a rewarding career in talent management. My independent business is now a micro-business that gives me the opportunity to work on interesting projects. It’s a win-win for me. Your mileage may vary, of course, but the point is I could’ve been stuck at launching my own million dollar business because of the enormous investment I’d already made. And I was stuck until I my own coach helped me see the light.
I realised that choosing to pivot would allow me to build a career in talent management (encompassing aspects of HR, acquiring and management talent, which includes a lot of training, coaching and mentoring) that will give me more opportunities to do what I absolutely love. It also meant that my independent business doesn’t have to struggle but instead become an extension to what I already do at the workplace. That shift in thinking allowed me to become a lot less anxious and at peace with myself.
The most powerful insight I had was that I really wasn’t losing any of the investments (the seeds) I’ve made. I, however, surely could’ve lost a lot more by continuing to struggle building that independent business instead of actually using my skills to transform lives.
So, I don’t think I’ve lost any of the seeds I’ve sown. As John Maxwell would complete this, “the only ones wasted are the ones you don’t sow.”
What are you keeping to lose? And what are you losing to keep?