I have a client who is feeling stressed out, overwhelmed, and unsupported in her current work.
During a recent session she asked me: “How do you know when enough is enough?”.
Now, I generally don’t answer direct questions from clients and prefer to trust that they can find their own answers.
In this situation, I felt comfortable answering my client’s question since she and I had worked together for a while and had built up considerable rapport.
Of course, after our session, I thought of several additional ideas for how someone can know when “enough is enough”.
I’m sharing these ideas with you in case you’re struggling with a situation similar to my client’s.
And wondering if “enough is enough”.
How to Know When Enough Is Enough
Below are four questions that you can ask yourself to evaluate whether you’ve reached the “enough is enough” point.
And even though I’m talking about work and career, these questions can be used for a variety of situations where you’re wondering if it’s worth continuing down your current path.
What is the situation costing you?
First off, consider what the situation is costing you. In particular, pay attention to any physical symptoms that arise as a result.
For example, sleep problems or stomach problems.
Also, pay attention to what emotions are generated when you’re in the situation or when you’re thinking about it.
For example, with some of my past jobs, I reached a point where I dreaded going into work.
That feeling of dread was a signal that I had reached my “enough is enough” point.
If the situation is causing physical problems or creating strong negative emotions, then it may be time to say “enough is enough”.
Is the situation temporary or permanent?
If the situation that you’re struggling with is temporary and likely to change for the better sometime soon, then you might consider sticking things out.
On the other hand, if you’re dealing with a longer-term situation, one that’s unlikely to change on it’s own, then you need to consider if it’s time to say enough is enough.
For example, my client is a high school teacher in an area with high demand for teachers.
Her situation is temporary since once the school year is over she can look for a better situation with more support and less work.
If she were in a area where there was low demand for teachers, then she might decide that she had had enough.
Can the situation be changed or fixed?
Just because you’re in a tough situation, one that has high emotional or physical costs for you, doesn’t mean that you need to throw in the towel and say “enough is enough.”
You can also explore whether or not the situation can be changed or fixed.
For example, you may enjoy certain parts of your work but dread working on one particular project.
You could talk with your boss to see if that project could be assigned to someone else and that you be given a different project, one that’s a better fit for you.
What alternatives do you have?
If you’ve gone through the three questions above and are feeling that you’ve reached your “enough is enough” point, you should still consider what alternatives you have.
If you don’t yet have any alternatives that are better than your current situation, then you may have a bit more work to do before making a change.
For example, my client realized that if she threw in the towel right now, she’d undo all the progress she had made during our several months of working together.
She clearly didn’t want that! So before deciding that “enough is enough”, she would need to find or develop alternatives that are better than her current situation.
There are certainly times in all of our lives when we’re ready to say “enough is enough”.
If you’re currently in a situation like that, where you’re thinking that you’re reached your “enough is enough” point, then the four questions about can help you determine if NOW is the right time to step away.