I want to change the way we look at quitting. I talk about this and how to quit the right way in episode 017, The Lost Art of Quitting, during my Productivity Paradox podcast. Head over to iTunes and listen for more details and a download… or keep reading below!
Quitting something shouldn’t be simply looked at as negative. That’s because quitting is not an end, it’s the first step to redefining your goals and refocusing your life.
Some of you may have already gotten the rundown of my husband, John, and I’s story of starting inkWELL Press. But I really want to focus on how quitting was a big part of our success.
For while, we were very happy with the opportunity to work together. As a stay-at-home mom, I started my wholesale jewelry business so that John could quit working in corporate America and be at home more. We loved making decisions together and working side by side. But honestly, that business did not fulfill me and feed my passion – it only paid our bills.
Around the fall of 2013, I got the courage up to talk to John and tell him I was not happy with our business. He confided in me that he felt the exact same way. We decided that following your mission in life and finding what you’re passionate about was extremely important.
Together, we decided to jump in with both feet and quit the business we didn’t like. We wondered, “could we really go without any sort of income for 6-8 months while we work to open inkWELL Press?
It was scary, of course. But we saved up, we planned and we did it. Now we have a business that makes me happy on a daily basis and that I am so fulfilled by!
I think a lot of it has to do with that guilt we feel. I talk a lot about this and sunk cost bias in episode 016 of the podcast, so if you feel this often, I suggest listening to that episode.
We hear these messages about finishing what we start. It seems to be hardwired into our brains not to quit. But in the modern world, I truly believe that not quitting is no longer applicable. While choosing to quit isn’t instinctive, it’s imperative.
Quitting can permit you to grow, learn and help you frame new goals. Without the choice of giving up, most people would end up in discouraging loops of doing the same thing.
Let me start by giving you permission. You don’t need to finish every book you start or complete every project you begin. Don’t continue with habits that no longer serve you. Try using some mental contrasting.
Use mental contrasting by thinking positive and envisioning your future while acknowledging barriers keeping you from your goal. The barriers are things you need to consider quitting.
Know that when you quit you won’t find support from everyone. My parents has a hard time understanding why we would close the business that wasn’t fulfilling us because they knew it paid the bills. In their minds, they saw it more as reckless when I saw it as finding my passion. Know that this decision is yours to make and you need to feel confident in it.
Realize that when you quit something, it doesn’t define you. You’re not defined by this thing, job, project, person or venture. It’s really important to internalize that and know it’s okay to quit.
I’ll tell you that the wrong way to quit is immediately doing it without any kind of plan. That’s just trading one kind of stuck for another. If you do it the wrong way, you’ll end up with tons of baggage, disappointments, anxiety, etc.
Make sure that when you make the decision to quit that it’s mindful. Start by asking yourself what are some things that you could quit today? I’ve created a download to make this bit step in quitting things much easier!
You may feel some resistance to quitting. There’s going to be some arguments in your head about why you can’t quit. Remember that there are plenty of things you can delegate and outsource. Just as well, you should be able to share some tasks or projects with your partner, roommate or even the kids. Find a trade-off that works for you all.
Try opening up the conversation to your family and friends to see if the activities you’re all doing can be worked out in some way. It may even be that there are some things you’re doing, like taking the kids to soccer practice, that they actually really dislike! In that case, you should all realign your activities to better suit your needs and wants.
Note that doing these things does not mean you’re selfish. It’s actually good modeling for others to see that you’re chasing your own dreams, especially if you have kids.
If you’re stuck on doing something because you think it’s super important, try scaling back for a few days or weeks. Then assess its importance. You might be surprised that some of the things you’re doing on a regular basis aren’t as important as you imagine.
Lastly, I just want to encourage you to really think about the things you want to quit and assess their meaning in your life. Make a plan to get rid that thing you know you need or want to. Use the download and if you get stuck, open up that conversation with your friends and family. Remember that it’s okay to be a proud quitter and continue to grow instead.
Comment below what you want to quit or any tips you have that I may have not mentioned here!