The most important thing in any profession is to know when to embrace change or in some professions, call it a day. It got to be really difficult to change or end something when you are at the top. You don’t see it happening that often. Hundreds of companies and products go extinct and become less relevant respectively because they are not able to change. A sports star, an actor or a show normally comes to an end after a dip following the peak. The reason being it takes some real courage to take a bow and walk away when you are number one.
Continuing my obsession with Seinfeld, Jack Welch wrote in his autobiography that he offered Jerry Seinfeld some insanely large sum of money to do just one more season of Seinfeld which Jerry Seinfeld happened to turn down. If you see the interviews of creators and cast of Seinfeld discuss the ending, Jerry Seinfeld and others mentioned how burnt out they were doing it for nine straight years and how they thought they have done it all and so on. But the key thing behind the decision was that Jerry Seinfeld wanted to call it a day when people wanted just another season or episode. He wanted people to cherish it without getting bored with it.
I believe it’s a gift to know when to embrace change or call it a day. A few years back I saw a stand-up show by Jerry Seinfeld. The show ended right when everyone thought he could have gone a bit longer. Jerry Seinfeld explained his thinking in an interview with Charlie Rose. Charlie Rose asked him how he decides when he is done. Seinfeld’s reply was simple: I call it a day when I feel that the audience want to listen just one more joke. That’s a great sense of timing. Every person walking out of the show thinks its been great.
To know when to end it is as important as anything else. Nothing can persist forever. Everything has a life. This has a direct correlation with change as well. To know when you have to change gears and refocus or to understand when your product needs a complete overhaul is very important to have a long-term and sustainable success. Time never stops for you and there’s always someone waiting in the wing to fill the void you may create. Know when its time and go for the change.