Have you grown up with the belief that it’s a failure to quit? I have. Over time and with further experience and reflection, I have decided to change my mind. Now I see that sometimes it’s better to quit than to stick with something just because someone, somewhere, said it’s the right thing to do.
It’s different than giving up.
To be authentic, you must trust yourself, and sometimes, just quit.
I think quitting has got a bad rap. There’s a notion that quitting is about taking the easy way out: it’s being lazy or unwilling to commit. I’ve certainly told myself that over the years. Have YOU?
But, I don’t think that’s always the case.
Trusting your gut (intuition), following your energy, and making choices based on that inner guidance, takes courage. It usually requires going against the grain (or the so called experts and gurus). And there is always a price to pay for the choice. It’s a matter of deciding whether it’s worth it to you.
Here are five reasons (in no particular order) I believe it’s better to quit:
1. You choose to do something for pleasure – but it turns out not to be what you hoped.
Reading a book (how many of us were taught that you must read a book from start to finish, even if you don’t enjoy it?). Taking a recreational class/program (then fun quickly feels like work). Going on a camping trip (until your back starts aching from sleeping on the hard ground). Fill in your own blank.
2. A relationship is unhealthy – and the longer you stay, the more you feel the ‘real you’ fading away.
Disrespectful or abusive marriage. Toxic friendships. Non-ideal clients. The roles you choose to play. After doing your part to establish and maintain healthy boundaries, do you owe it to anyone to ‘stick it out’ if it’s soul-crushing?
3. Your health is being negatively affected.
Job. Schedule. Habits. Goals. If what you are doing is negatively impacting your mental and/or physical health (or distracting you from self-care), maybe it’s time to figure out an alternative. You don’t have to wait until it’s too late (literally or figuratively). Health and well-being first.
4. Your core values are being compromised.
To deeply believe in certain principles, yet behave in ways that undermine them, eats away at you. It takes guts to quit the behaviour in these cases, because there is an obvious pay-off for doing it in the first place. And the payoff is often reinforced by social norms.
5. You are trying too hard to be someone – or something – that you’re really not.
Stretching beyond your comfort zone for growth can be beneficial. I’m a proponent of becoming the-best-version-of-yourself. It’s when your actions don’t really mean anything to you or inspire you and are for the purpose of trying to live up to external comparisons and pressures (keeping up with the Jones’, fitting in, choosing a career path for prestige or approval, trying to motivate yourself to build a six-figure business, or simply avoiding the perception of failure, for example), that it doesn’t serve you.
Quitting can provide an opportunity for personal growth – we discover what our preferences are, learn our personal limits, and can make more honest choices next time to create a life that feels like a better fit for us.
Grit, persistence, commitment, determination, self-discipline – each has its place. The question is, to what end?
In these five scenarios, quitting isn’t about giving up on ourselves. It’s about trusting ourselves enough to invest in something more – by changing paths to choose authenticity.
For some people, quitting looks more like changing gears or shifting focus. The point is, you get to decide.
You know yourself best. What do you need to quit???
Alternatively, when you have created that extra space in your life, what do you need to start???
Give yourself permission to take the first step.
Be Brave. Be Seen. Be True.