before you quit, try this
Though the ability to walk away from something bad is inherently good, I know I miss out on opportunities to grow.
I'm a quitter, y'all.
I hate that it's true but it is. Things get hard and I throw in the towel. Like fast. And though I do think the ability to walk away from something that isn't right is a good one, I'm well aware that I miss out on opportunities to grow because the stretching feels too hard. This is an especially hard in the world of entrepreneurship because there's no one there to make me do anything. If I don't feel like doing something, then it just doesn't get done.
If I don't feel like doing something, it doesn't get done.
Not the best way to proceed.
If you, too, start stutter stepping when the going gets tough, join me in asking this question:
Am I quitting because this is wrong for me, or am I quitting because it's hard for me?
Now this might seem simple to a person who's used to persevering, but to the rest of us, it can be staggering.
I'm not skinny yet. Quit.
We'll never save money. Quit.
She has more followers. Quit.
No one is noticing my work. Quit.
You make me so mad. Quit.
I'll never be good. Quit.
We are consumed with doing things right. We want results. We want acknowledgment. We want to feel vindicated. We want to believe that our toil and our struggle are proving to be worthwhile. We want a confirmation that hard work is worth it.
(And we want it now.)
But there's that pesky old saying: nothing good comes easily. And I'll be damned if it isn't true. Let's think about it. Baby: holy hard work. Marriage (i.e., two people working to love and do what's right every single day): holy hard work. Building a house, losing weight, making a pie from scratch, growing a thriving business, leaving a legacy—each of them happen in a series of small moments that collect and multiply and then finally, after doing the work and forgetting about the accolades for days and weeks and years on end, you look back and realize—it worked. To make a great change, you've got to work so long and so hard that it's no longer something you consciously strive for, but rather, a part of who you've become.
That's the key to overnight success, y'all—working your entire life for what you want.
Now before you quietly start sneaking backward out the door and think that waiting your whole life for something just doesn't seem worth it, let's think about it this way:
What happens if we never make the change?
What happens if we stay exactly as we are right now, always afraid to take the risk and put in the work?
What does the future look like for you if you never try anything new? If you never stand up for yourself? Never decide that your health and your happiness are worth 30 daily minutes of misery? What if you never decide that you are worth more? What if you never forge a new friendship? Never stick out the hard parts and know what it's like to truly be loved? What if you never put your heart out on the line?
It's going to be hard. Freaking for sure it is. You are going to want to quit. You're going to get mad and sad and mutter under your breath that you knew this was a bad idea while you shuffle around in your 2-day-old jammie pants shoving stale frozen pizza into your mouth. But it's going to be worth it. Whether or not you see results in a day or two.
You're not waiting your whole life. You're working your whole life.
What's something you've been wanting to do? What's the purpose behind what you're already doing now? What is your life's mission? Truly think—who do you want to be and how do you want to be her?
I want to be a good partner and wife.
I want to be the kind of mother that makes my children look fondly on their childhood and remember how obvious it was that they were loved.
I want to be a part of the changemakers that bring women to a place in the world where they feel strong and safe and capable of having any kind of life they wish.
I want to feel good about myself—about my body, my health, my ability to handle the tough things and to roll laughing with the good.
I want to stop worrying about what I should do and learn to enjoy every little thing.
None of those things have to be specifically mastered—there's not a right way or wrong way to do any of them (except for maybe lowering my gummy bear consumption...I'm pretty sure that's scientific). And I love those kinds of goals because there's no failing unless I quit.
Unless I quit...
I get scared, you guys. I get scared that I'm expending energy into things that will never reap the rewards I'm hoping for.
What if I eat all this stinking kale and still hate how I look in a bathing suit?
What if I stay up all night writing and no one ever reads it?
What if I love you more than you'll ever love me?
There are plenty of what-ifs to be asked. More than I'd like to allow consideration for, in fact. But the thing is, none of my life goals hinge on those what-ifs. Being a mom whose love is loud or a woman who fights for other women does not depend on whether or not I get skinny or get my heart broken or fall down in the process. I still want those things. I want them regardless of what happens.
Which means it's not time to quit yet.
If something is hurting you, if something you're doing is negatively impacting your health or your safety, then throw in the towel, baby. Consider this your permission to stop dragging the bad stuff along with you. But if you're ready to run from something that gets you where you want to go, just because it's hard and you're tired, I urge you to keep pushing. Because nothing worth having should be derailed by a little hardship.
So yeah, my instinct is to quit. It is to drop my stuff and run before anything bad happens to me or before I waste too much heart space on something that doesn't pan out. But doing that doesn't bring relief. Quitting things—letting them fall at my feet—doesn't make me feel like I want to feel. Quitting doesn't get me closer to the life I want to live.
It's in the hard stuff, that something even better waits. It is at the junction of quitting and pressing on that we find the people we want to be.
I don't want to work out. I really really really don't want to eat a vegetable. Like not even one. I don't want to play Barbies. I don't want to sing songs or set bedtimes or sit at a computer when the sun is shining. I don't want to risk getting hurt or failing or losing something I set my heart on having. I don't want someone to tell me no. But without those risks or those things I don't feel like doing, I'm not the girl I want to be. This won't be the life I want to live.
No one said it would be easy. But they did say that nothing happens overnight.
They said that hard work reaps rewards, even if it's not the kind we first envisioned.
So, friend, if you're ready to give up because it's hard, hold my hand and take a second look. Because it might just be that the hard gets us to the place we're hoping to go.
Let's stick something out together.