One of the most common questions I get asked, whether it's about a job or relationship or some other life decision, is "Rory, when do I know if I should leave to try something new?"My response is almost always the same, and it's very simple: "Have you maximized your potential in the current situation?" If the answer is yes, and you are at the top of that profession, for example, and you feel like leaving, then go ahead. If the answer is no, then go to work until you do-and then evaluate the decision.
If you're not maximizing your potential where you are, then you can never know if you should leave because you haven't experienced all that it has to offer. Another way of thinking about it is that your decision will look much different after you've committed and played wholeheartedly, with full effort, than it does right now. Without ever doing that, it's not fair to yourself or the other people involved to leave your current situation.
It's interesting to note that successful people tend to be successful everywhere they go, in whatever they do. For example, with enough time and training, a top realtor could probably become a top financial advisor, even if it isn't her most natural vocation. Michael Jordan is a great example of this. Basketball was his God-given gift and he might not have been able to master something else the way he mastered basketball, but the discipline and commitment he had makes him a pretty darn good baseball player-and golfer, too.
This explains why Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is a habit; unfortunately so is losing." Some people have the habit of victory and success, and although we'd like to believe that these people have a glamorizing mystical power, the truth is much more basic than that: They commit to whatever it is they want to do. If you ask me, that is the more impressive part - that they can commit and exercise self-discipline in just about anything they do.
So, you must crush it where you're at. You must dominate whatever it is that you are doing. You must do everything in your power to reach the top of whatever game it is you are playing. Because if you don't, then you are not a successful person looking for a new challenge to take on; you're a person with conditional commitment looking for a new set of circumstances, and most likely starting the same self-defeating pattern all over again.
Success isn't a matter of circumstance; it's a matter of choice. Finding new circumstances won't make you successful, but making new choices will.
Except from Take The Stairs, 7 Steps to Achieving True Success by Rory Vaden, Perigee, 2012, p.68.