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

Tenesha McCulloch | Owner & Creator of Angel’s Essence

As a Capricorn telling me to give up on something is almost like a death sentence, but as I have grown and learned throughout my years, you have to remember, everything is not for you to succeed in and there will always be roadblocks or bumps in the road. Giving up for me means I have done everything that I can in my power to succeed, especially if it something I am passionate about. I can honestly say I have never given up on anything, but instead realized this is not my path. Changing how you see your outlook can make such a difference in your emotional response to “giving up,” instead I say “this is not my path.” I know when something is not my path, when it no longer serves me or my community. When that thing becomes sour to think about, it stops be from the path I know I should be on. Sometimes it is hard to say this is not my path when you put so much work and effort into something. But sometimes giving up is the best self-care you could give yourself. Read more>>

Jordan Parker | Designer

There will always be those times in life, especially as an entrepreneur, where things will seem really grim. Your sales might be low, your engagement might be low, BUT that isn’t the time to give up. In fact, I don’t think that there’s a time that anybody should really “give up”, especially if you’re pursuing something that gives you a sense of purpose and joy. I think that when you get to your lowest point, and you feel like throwing in the towel, that’s the perfect opportunity to refocus (and possibly rebrand). Remember, as an entrepreneur you’re going to make mistakes. Those mistakes may cost you BIG TIME. But, the only time you fail is when you give up on your vision, and subsequently yourself. Read more>>

Bryan “Kofi” Smith | Executive Coach & Social Entrepreneur

You never want to give advice to anyone on when to give up their business, but it is definitely time to reconsider your choice of business when you’re drained financially, physically, mentally, and emotionally. I remember having to make the difficult decision to shut my non-profit organization down because I pouring from an empty cup for far too long. The hardest part about this decision is knowing when to remove your personal passion from your business logic. A passion and/or purpose is what starts our business, but return the on investment is what keeps our business alive and thriving. When to keep going is when you begin to see a return on investment in the specific stages of our your business endeavor. Example: You’re in your marketing stage in your receiving great feedback (constructive or praises) and people are anticipating your product or services. Personally you may not feel as though you’re where you want to be in life, but your business is making small progressive steps towards your end goal. If you see a return on your investment, keep going! You may have to reorganize, rebrand, etc… but keep going. Read more>>

Samyra Jackson | CEO of Sight Apparel

For me there is no giving up I have invested too much time and money. There is no other choice than to make it. This has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. The thought of giving up has crossed my mind time and time again, and each time I receive a sign to continue. Fashion is something I can not live without. I push myself even when things are not going the way I expected, because consistency is key. Nothing happens overnight. I know in my heart my time is coming. I just have to remain patient. I am surrounded with loved ones who are following their dreams and/or working on their own business. This keeps me motivated and inspired to go harder. Also the support from those around me means the world to me and reassures me I am on the correct path. Following my dream is more about my passion and love for my brand than making money. The money does not determine whether it is worth it. There are times when orders are coming in and there are times when business is down; Down days do not mean quit. Try, try again, try a different approach, try something new, but never give up. Read more>>

Geoffrey Smith | Artist/Designer

It’s never been much of a choice for me. Making art and more broadly just making in general has always been a coping mechanism for me. I’m not sure I could stop even if I could. There have been times in my life where I had almost no time for creativity but a little always leaked through. I figured out how to draw stickers just a line or two at a time in between tasks operating a a giant roll to roll printer for instance. Just keeping that toe in the water helped me. It’s very much a part of my identity and to “give up” would be a kind of psychological death. To make a living at it on the other hand would be the epitome of living in a dream. In reality, I’m dog paddling somewhere in the middle. Read more>>

Antonio Francisco | Creative Director

I continue to push until it is no longer fun; this is when it is a good time to pivot and/or start something new. When I am not able to visualize a positive and outcome, I know it is time to stop. Do keep in mind, my answer to this question pertains to my design and creative process – this may not particularly relevant in relationships with others, as relationships with people and loved ones are more dynamic than my relationships with my work and process. Read more>>

Dï Thomas | Filmmaker

I believe that this is something that we all struggle with in life. As a creative we tend to be our hardest critic on ourselves. I am still learning when to let go of a project, but over time I have learned to be gentle with myself. As I grow as a filmmaker, I realize that I am evolving and so is my vision. Before where I would keep re-writing scenes or sit on a project because I looked at it as not being good enough, I know now that any thing that I create is art and that it may inspire or influence someone else. I don’t look at it as giving up, but milestones for how far I have come and to keep going. Read more>>

Jaiah Rodgers | Lifestyle Brand Designer & Blogger

When I first started my brand, I felt that it was my purpose to create something based off of what is everyday life for me. I want other women to be able to relate to a lifestyle that gives us more purpose. Too often, in my opinion, do women persevere when they may not see a way, or see the light at the the end of the tunnel. For me, I thought I’d instantly find my niche, find my audience, and in short, attain success. That’s not life. Not for everyone at least. So when it comes to my brand, I want to continue seeing it grow. I want to see all that my brand can offer to the world, and that’s more than enough motivation to keep going. Read more>>

Sofia Guarino | Front Woman of Caterina

It can be discouraging at times to be surrounded with the success of others while you struggle to meet the same level of recognition. The comparison game is never beneficial. When I hear how someone is affected by my music, or that it helped them through something, that motivates me to continue to create. I know that no one has the same unique story as mine, and that it can always be a tool to help others. Read more>>

Lou Lamar Booker | Owner/CEO, Editor-in-Chief, Chief Content Officer – Up Your Geek, LLC

I’ve been following since starting my business nearly 6 years ago. Before Up Your Geek was a business, it was an idea that formed with a few internet friends, but it is something that I nourished. Instead of this just being a hobby I wanted this to mean something and I wanted the brand to grow, but to do that requires hard work and discipline. No business is easy and it may take you years to realize your potential. I say all this to tell you that it wasn’t easy. And this journey is not over for me, for us, it is still ongoing. Up Your Geek is that dream that I dare not let die. That dream worth fighting for. How do I know whether to keep going or give up? Learning that the sacrifices are worth it. Knowing the time, energy, and money spent on a dream are not for nothing. The dream for me is an active one and after 6 years, I still love what I do and feel as strongly as ever about it. So I keep going. giving up is not an option. Never give up on your dreams. Read more>>

Anna Thurber | Botanical Ice Artist/Photographer

I make compositions in ice. Seven years ago I was freezing as many different things I could to see if there was an art to it. Today I am an ice artist/photographer. Thru these years I’ve asked myself so many times ‘is there anything to this?’ am I just kidding myself? Today I still do not know any other ice artist’s, and tomorrow I will probably ask myself ‘is there really anything to this?’. My ice making gets me up in the morning, and keeps me going throughout the day. Personally, there is no giving up. Read more>>

Shuntell/Gaynelle | 2 Sistas Cookin

Once we made that leap of faith to leave our 9 to 5 jobs. We know that giving up is something that we would not do. Even though you are faced with everyday business issues, like the sale are slow and your are not making the money like you were before. You say to yourself did I make the right choice, But then out of nowhere business picks back up and you just keep going. Because we have a bigger vision we have to keep going regardless of the challenges we face. With God we choose to keep going and never give up. Read more>>

Leigh-Anne O’Brien | Artist

My senior thesis, exit show, was titled ‘Introspection’. It was as applicable then as it is now. I am a constant observer… Of people, nature, objects… how I fit in to the puzzle… appreciating the detailed rhythms in nature, taking in the layers and depths of color in found objects,… all combining harmoniously on paper and canvas. I use journalling as a tool to organize my thoughts, and translate them into works of art. I am forever a student. I don’t ever want to stop learning. I arrived here one step at a time. My business, collector following, grew organically. One client at a time. I think the challenge in the social media world of today is to keep your head down. Do the work. Don’t compare yourself or your timing to anyone else. Read more>>

Malik King | Street Photographer

I know whether to keep going of give up when I’m out in the streets taking photos by the frames and images I make. If I don’t get that image that makes the viewer say ‘WOW’ I stay out there until I get it. Read more>>

Sharon Carelock | Creator and Administrator

I think the knee-jerk answer is keep going. Socially, we’re conditioned to let a profession or practice go if we’re not seeing success after a certain amount of time. Though, there are a lot of examples where people made it big fairly late in their lives or careers. I think the time to give something up is when it’s not serving you, the mission, or the person/people with whom you’re involved. It’s maybe easy to keep a thing going just because it’s ritual, but habit isn’t a reason to continue. Every skill that I’ve acquired took time to develop, and every aspect of growth in my life took time to manifest. It takes a constant check in with my self and my life activities to make sure what I’m doing and how I’m living serves. Read more>>

Dan Thorp | Actor | Realtor | Construction | Handyman | Painter

You know whats funny, Ive never asked myself that question. For certain areas of myself, like my art, Ive already accepted that I’ll be doing it for the rest of my life. In other areas, like construction, real estate, soccer, etc., I feel like I could walk away and not think twice. The interesting thing is to me, I find art in everything I do. I’ve never thought about that but maybe thats how I chose these careers. Do I need them to allow me to express? Do I quit the jobs that don’t. Read more>>

Kolawole Odumade | Videographer/ Photographer

You either want to be successful following your dreams or maybe this path is not for you. I’m from Atlanta, Ga, the west side to be exact and I’m Nigerian. So, my hustle for achieving things is top tier. If you give up that tells me you never really wanted to do it, it was a phase. So, to answer your question I don’t know how to give up because my hard work and dedication will be rewarded in due time. Read more>>

Reese Jackson | Owner Operator

I don’t know. Whether or not to keep Savor Training Company is a constant decision that I find myself making. It’s like taking a big risk everytime and I’m just hoping that I’ll strike gold and win big. Time is always my biggest obstacle but I end up just taking it step by step, day by day. My mantra is “Play to your strengths Reese.” No matter what, go with and trust your gut. Read more>>

Mir. Marshall | Director & Lord of Coffee

I got into coffee because I love coffee. It’s ever changing and evolving—there’s so much to learn about and so many directions that you can dive into and discover. It’s fascinating! But that’s coffee, not the coffee industry. Working in the coffee industry, more so the specialty coffee industry, I would be lying if I said that there wasn’t a racial and social imbalance. As a queer black masculine presenting woman, I am definitely not the face of this industry or even a face that comes to mind. There’s a lack of representation that I seek to fill. I want to build a brand that helps correct that imbalance and change the narrative through chill vibes and great coffee. No matter what you look like or how you identify I want you to know that you have a brand you can connect with. I say that to say, because Im looking to build something that aligns so heavily with my values and represents me as a person I can’t give up. Even on days where its stressful and it seems like I’m behind on everything or nothings working out the way I wanted it to. Read more>>

Imp | Musician

My gut will let me know everything I need to know about continuing or quitting once something feels off, unfulfilling, or suspicious. Humans are instinctively intuitive in that regard. Read more>>

Josh Land | Photographer

Never give up! From a young age this has been impressed upon my being from my grandparents, along with “Nothing is ever easy”. Short story explaining that; in my Gpa’s workshop he had a cartoon “Never Give Up” of a frog being swallowed by a heron, but the frog is choking the heron. As for “Nothing is ever easy”, my Gma has it embroidered hanging in their home. Family motto or curse, I haven’t decided. Along the way I have also learned that adaptation is also necessary in line with perseverance. While I am not at a level I will claim victory, I can say I have won a lot of battles. If it means something to you, if you love what you are doing, do not ever give up. Like Bruce Lee said “Be water”. You will find a way. Read more>>

Roy Saunders | Musician

It is hard to make that decision. Especially if you are passionate, driven, and focused on your brand. Back in 2016 I decided to make that decision and gave up on the pursuit of a musical career. I put all of my energy into another profession and ultimately I was miserable. I came to realize that music will always be a part of my life. With a lot of thought I decided to dive back into the music scene and it had been one of the best decisions of my life. My musical career had grown exponentially in the last three year’s and I am very lucky to be at the level I am right now. For me I will always keep pushing my musical career, giving up is not an option in my book. Even if for some reason music is not a full time job for me anymore I will always continue to play shows, record, and grow as a musician. Read more>>

Monique Williams | Artist & Chef

Only a true failure would give up on the first loss. . Everyday we wake up we face Trials and tribulations it’s the unenviable We simply can’t deny it. Knowing that I have a purpose on this planet. Knowing that there are people that believe in me and my journey more than I believe it myself at times. With me giving up it’ll break their hearts as well.. I believe true answers come from reflections. I look into the mirror and ask myself “How to know whether to keep going or give up” My reflection responds “There is no giving up you must keep it going for it’s not only you that is being let down but an entire group of people that is eager to see you shine. So I shine. Read more>>

Ashley Devine | Owner of Dream Anchors Tutoring & Mentoring

Knowing whether to keep going or to give is is determined by my will power. I have to ask myself “why” 7 times and have 7 different reasons as to why I can’t give up. If I cannot come up with 7 reasons as to why I should keep going when I feel stressed, weary, and discourages…I release it. If it returns at a later time, then I will continue to journey it, but in the moments when stress is involved, I have to make a decision that best helps my current state. I always tell myself that I create the timeline, so I am never in a rush. Read more>>

Kenisha Dennis | Founder of Black Girls Can Incorporated | CEO, K. Dennis Cause Consulting

When I think about whether I should keep going or give up, I reflect on why I started. When I started Black Girls Can Inc. it was to close the resource and opportunity gap for inner-city girls like me. I knew way too many youth in my community and surrounding communities that were going overlooked and under-resourced and no matter how much I tried to fight these visions and ideas out of my head of how I could help, I kept getting pulled to this focus area and signs from God on why I needed to do something about this problem. Often there will be days where you want to give up, where it feels incredibly overwhelming and like there’s just one problem after another and on those days you have to ask yourself, are you still committed? Even if it’s hard right now? And on those days, I still say yes because I am reminded of my “why.” Time and experience will often be your biggest indicator on whether you should continue because for every tough day, God has blessed me twice over. Read more>>

Cardarrius Mims | Founder of Bocabeard

I have learned to deal with failure in silence. We live in a day in age where social media play a big part of our lives. Sometimes it gets stressful and overwhelming to try and keep everything sane. But I would say Keep going because the more you fail the more you grow and learn. Read more>>

Jessica Frazier | Founder & Executive Director

That’s a great question. Understanding my purpose in life, makes quitting not an option. So on those hard days, I think about the impact we’ve made so far in the lives of individuals, families, and communities. Our mission is to Make a Difference. Read more>>