Last week I waxed poetic about how quitting is my secret sauce to success. And this week all I can think about are all the things in my business that I want to quit doing immediately because they suck and feel uncomfortable but I know in my heart of hearts, now is not the time to quit. So how do I know when it is?
Here are 6 ways I know it’s time to quit:
1- My body tells me so. I feel anxiety in my stomach first, I get a pit and I stop feeling hunger pangs. If I’m uncomfortable or scared, it feels like there’s fire in the back of my throat. And when I’m really uncomfortable and the threat feels imminent, my fingers tingle. When I wake up feeling like this when everything is “supposed” to be fine, I know I need to check in with myself to see what’s going on.
2-I feel apathetic. I used to pride myself in not caring about work or school. I was always “too cool” for it all. But apathy causes disengagement, and for me that showed up in a lifetime of intense procrastination and bored eating. I didn’t want to care because I didn’t want to feel the vulnerability of having my feelings hurt if I did care and messed up, I was protecting myself and projecting an image of strength. Now, I cry more now than I ever have before, I’m more scared on the regular than I ever was before and I feel stronger and more courageous than I ever have before.
3- I get no pleasure from my accomplishments. Usually the things that are good for you that you avoid, when you finally finish them, you feel good. I remember working long and hard on this presentation in front of Executives who were flying in from all over the country to pick on of our ideas to be implemented across the company, which was a huge honor. Afterward, all I thought was “I’m glad that’s over.” I resented the late nights and the frustrating collaborations, it all felt worthless. Now, when I finish a presentation, I’m so excited that it happened, I’m excited about the information I shared and what the audience got from it. I appreciate the blood, sweat and tears it took to do it and I feel proud.
4-I’m forgetful. I.remember.everything. But there’s a huge caveat, I forget things that I don’t care about. Even when I try to care about them. I originally wanted to get a work-from-home job and start my coaching business. I didn’t want to quit cold turkey. I was applying like crazy and landed an interview with Teach For America, an organization I truly admire. It would be a pay cut but I would have a cushion to help me build my coaching business. Well, I forgot about the first interview until like 5 minutes before. Then I missed a deadline on a business sample. When I was about to miss my second round of interviews, I finally just wrote an e-mail excusing myself from the interview process. I couldn’t get myself engaged for the life of me!
5- I’m uninterested in the things I love. My personal relationships are the most important thing to me, it’s one of the few values I’ve been conscious of for most of my life. When I was working at jobs I hated, I never saw my friends. I also love exercise. And I’m of the mindset that the best type of exercise is the type you’ll do, so I’m flexible with myself. I hated all movement that I tried to stick to my last year in corporate America. I went from marathon training and OrangeTheory to only being able to walk .5 miles at best on a good day even after 30 day challenges, counting down backwards by 5 and all the other habit tricks I threw at myself.
6-I break the rules. This might come as a shocker to a lot of people who know me, but I’m a natural rule-follower. When I break the rules, it’s usually conscious and for the “greater good” or at least convincing self-serving reasons. Unless I hate my life, then I just break the rules to distract myself from what’s going on. My rule-following self won’t even let me tell any of the stories I have around this lest I get in trouble for it.
Sometimes quitting the whole goal isn’t the answer. I get a pit in my stomach every time I try something new, which feels like every day these days but I know quitting is not the answer. The ultimate question is- will this matter TO ME a year from now? I was living a life that had me saying “no” to most everything. It would matter to someone else but as for me, I couldn’t care less… So I quit a lot of things, and I’m glad I did. Now, I quit a lot less and do a lot more pivoting but I know the difference.