Have you considered quitting?
There is a dominant message we receive through advertising, in the “self-help” community, from our parents, mentors, teachers, coaches? It’s a variation of “Don’t quit!”
- Just do it
- Feel the fear and do it anyway
- Winners don’t quit and quitters don’t win
- Winners are not people who never fail, but people who never quit
- The moment when you want to quit is usually the moment before a miracle happens. Don’t give up.
I call…well…poppy cock!!!!
The people we admire most, the people we aspire to be like, are people who have found a way to be authentically themselves. Think about someone you admire or respect. Whether it is your favorite performer, celebrity, artist, athlete or relative, friend or teacher, aren’t you drawn to their natural ease, their competence? They make whatever it is you admire look easy.
Now, if you ask them if it was hard to get where they are, did it take struggle and work, were there disappointments and reasons to quit along the way they will, most likely, say yes. They will be able to recall low points, points where they doubted their abilities, where fear threatened to overwhelm.
But here’s the deal. This struggle, hard work and self-doubt isn’t some magic sign post that meant they were on the right path. Talk to anyone who has not fulfilled their dreams to this point and they will also report struggle, hard work, disappointments and reasons to quit. Struggle, hard work, disappointments and reasons to quit are simply part of our human experience.
What would change if we were allowed to quit? Encouraged to quit? Challenged to quit? What are you currently involved in that you force on yourself, feel you are obligated to stick with, would secretly like to quit? If you asked those folks you see as successful why they didn’t quit, they’d have some answer like,
”Quitting was never really an option. This is what I love.”
It’s the love of what they are doing, the fact that it feels like who they are, that truly leads to that “presence” they emit, the one that says they are competent and comfortable in their own skin. It’s the love of what they’re doing that guarantees they won’t quit.
Granted, we sometimes re-write the past and fool ourselves into believing we could have been more if we hadn’t quit. Like,
“I might have had a shot at being a pro-ball player if I had focused more when I was younger.”
Take a closer look at that idea. Were you top of your league, with a scholarship for college and you threw it all away because you didn’t want the work? Or were you amongst the best on your high school team, but no-one on the team got a scholarship? How close were you actually? If you could have a redo but it meant you would have to give up everything you have achieved, all your memories and everyone you have known since, would you trade?
Do we really think we will quit too soon? That a big risk we face as humans is our inclination to give up? In my experience, deciding to quit is much harder. If you’ve ever had to make the decision to quit something big, you know that it is one of the most excruciating experiences to face. It can be terrifying.
It seems to me there is far more risk that we will cling, that we will stay when we should go because “unhappy but known” feels safer than unknown. I know lots of people who feel trapped, who will admit, if they’re being honest, there is something they need to quit.
Think about it. What do you long to quit and why aren’t you quitting? Social pressure? Judgement of loved ones? Fear of the unknown? The real work is to keep courageously moving away from what doesn’t suit us so we have the opportunity to move towards what does!
So I want to ask a new question, start a new message. I want to ask,
“What do you want to quit and why haven’t you quit yet?”
- Quitting what you don’t love makes more space for what you do love
- The only thing in the way of quitting is your fear of the unknown
- Sometimes saying yes to who you truly are means saying no to the safety of routine
- If I work so hard at a job I hate, imagine how I’d work at a job I love!
- If you quit, society may judge you. If you don’t, you will judge yourself
Come on, people. What small step can you take to quit today???