Growing up, one of my identities was “I am NOT a quitter”.
Well, I was no different from most people around me at that time who grew up on an ample dose of motivational quotes, “Quitters never win”, “when the going gets though the tough get going” etc. You get the drift.
I took it to heart. But truth be told I didn’t really gun too much for the win part. Strangely I never thought about it too much, at least not as much as I thought about not quitting.
And so I pushed myself, in my teens, in sports, even when I had 5 stitches on my head I still ran the cross country, because I had the accident after I signed up for the race. I went through a marriage which very early showed signs of downhill, but I did what I knew how to do, got tough, sucked up, pulled myself upright and charged forward, that felt like courage. That was certainly the story I told myself and about myself. The unsaid was, quitting was weak. And I was not. It was not an option I gave myself.
But now, as I am in the process of re-authoring my life, I see that I have quit many times. I just did not see those things as quitting. I quit drinking boost at 6, I quit sports, I quit playing chess, I quit talking to myself in the mirror, I quit reading certain kinds of books, I quit many things many times. But I didn’t think I was weak, It was just one of those things I outgrew. And something else became more important.
Something else became more important
As I see the pattern of what I have found effortless to quit and not qui, the things which had nothing to do with anyone outside where easy, things such as roles that had a social implication were harder.
In my role as a coach I have seen many people put so much effort and energy to “not quit”. I wonder how much more movement they could make if they applied that energy to win.
Behavioural psychology tells us that shame plays a big role.
As Brene Brown in her book daring greatly emphasises,
When Shame is a management policy – disengagement is a given.
And when disengagement happens with self or with others the feelings of being disconnected get stronger – and that, my guess is what people are afraid of, atleast that has been my experience with myself.
People are afraid of feeling disconnected and Ostracised.
Thousands of people don’t quit and continue with being in unfulfilled relationships, uninspiring projects, unappreciated work, unhealthy addictions just so that they don’t feel disconnected and alone and an outcast
When we look around the number of people suffering from depression and mental health challenges, and general unhappiness are unable to quit something. A Habit, a belief, an addiction, a relationship, a job, a way of think.
So what does that mean? Does it mean we quit whenever whatever ?? NO.
It important to know what are you quitting? is it the right thing, right time, right reason.
The art of Quitting, is really having clarity of 3 things
1. Is your Cost greater than your payoff
2. What is most important for you right now.
3. What is your high dream
Quitting is actually an act of courage. It requires one to be vulnerable.
To give up something that defined who you are (or thought you were) can be scary. The ego puts up a huge fight. But if one of truly willing to be courageous and vulnerable the soul does speak. It not easy, by any measure. It is messy. And which is why to know what is it that you are willing to walk towards and not just away from is important.
“Sometimes the most courageous thing to do is say to yourself, I just can’t do this to myself anymore”
When people say I quit – it may be a short hand for something else. They are actually saying many things, which they may be feeling quite vulnerable actually saying.
They may be saying:
Perspective is an amazing thing. The minute you reframe quitting, as leaving and see it as growing, there is a different energy about it.
You can quit without guilt.
And sometimes you may not have the clarity of that future, then using your own feeling as a north star is a good strategy. How you are feeling and how would you like to feel.