I was reading a blog post by a guy named Bruce Lynn titled Pulling The Plug. Basically it was a follow up to another post he did reviewing a book by John Maxwell called Failing Forward. The 10 points on the post, which in the book is called “Top Ten Strategies for Dealing with a Dead Horse,” are pretty funny and deserve a look, as it’s also a quick review of how leadership sometimes seems to go.

It prompted me to take a look at this topic of what people should be ready to do when they know “it’s over.” The “its” could refer to almost anything, whether it’s a failed relationship, a bad business, working at a dead end job, recognizing that someone isn’t going to recover, etc. Most of the time it’s not an easy decision to come to, and when you can come to the decision it’s not an easy one to implement.

Last month I wrote a post about making the hard decision when it’s time to do so. Although I mainly talked about it in terms of maybe having to let someone go from a job (man, I need to learn how to be more quotable), the basic principles of needing to work through the process to make the determination are still sound.

Actually, probably the hardest thing for most people to do is to make the decision in the first place. This one actually amazes me because I usually find that people have already made these decisions, but for whatever reason either feel they have to be wrong or are scared of the outcome of making the decision.

Most of us make snap decisions. Anyone who tells you they don’t is kidding themselves. I make snap decisions all the time; what I don’t do is act on most of them all that immediate. I need time to evaluate how I think it’ll impact me or whatever it is I’m thinking about doing. That’s why we do evaluation and analysis, so that we can back up our thinking. And if we find we were wrong, that shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing, but just as the outcome of what you were researching. Even scientists don’t go into something “just because”. They have a theory, then they test it out.

And what should you do if you determine it’s over? Now we’re into the second part, which is figuring out what might happen. Sure, we sometimes hear about the disgruntled employee who gets a weapon, goes back to where they worked, and threatens people, sometimes causing harm to others. That’s still a very rare thing; if it was more commonplace, it wouldn’t be on the news anymore. But that’s the worst thing that could happen; with everything else, it will pass.

If you’ve evaluating a personal relationship and you know it’s over, just say so and try to move on with life. If you’ve evaluating a business relationship that’s not working for you anymore, just end it and get on with life. After all, if these things were working for you, they wouldn’t be on your mind.

Will you always be correct? With evaluation you have a better chance on being right than being wrong, but no one’s perfect. Sorry, but life isn’t always supposed to be easy. But since it’s life, time will move on, it’ll get easier, and if you were right, you’ll end up feeling much better.