As human beings, we reserve the right to complain once in a while. And lament and regret and maybe even whine.  As artists and entrepreneurs who are somewhat solitary in the work we do, it’s especially important to know where we can find a sympathetic friend.

When I’m listening to people talk about their troubles, my ears perk up when I hear two important words: I’m done.  These words have so much strength and power that it’s impossible to even say them without a rise or fall in your voice or an increase or decrease in energy. Try it. I’m right, huh? When I hear those words, I know it’s time for that person to either make a change or make a break from whatever is troubling them. After all, when something is done, you don’t put it back in the oven hoping it will somehow get better.

Let’s say your landlord keeps adding new rules to how you can use your studio space, or your band members aren’t showing up for rehearsals, or your writing partner is shooting down every idea you have. If the words, “That’s it, I’m done,” cross your mind, you know you’ve reached your limit. You have two choices then . . . you can set up a time to have a meaningful conversation with that person and push for change or you can walk away.

That’s not to say you should necessarily drop things in a rush. Don’t let your emotions get ahead of you. Think through what type of change you’d like to achieve and how you plan to work toward it. Whenever possible, you want to leave a troublesome situation without burning bridges or opening new wounds.

If fear is keeping you from addressing the problem, remember this:  we do our best work when we can lean into our passion. If a situation is draining you of positive energy, if a person is bringing you down, if fear is holding you back, you will never achieve your full potential. It’s okay to say, “I’m done.”  It’s okay to move on.