How To Quit. Without Feeling Bad. At All.
I said it out loud.
"When I do something, I give it my all and do my best," my classmate in a writing class said.
To which I responded, "I don't."
I felt no shame saying so.
It took getting through a couple of stressful situations before life finally got through to me about the harm in misusing my best efforts on the wrong things and people that weren't tied to my life's work.
Maybe your life's work (the things you have strong emotional ties to) is parenting or creating. Maybe it's growing your career or serving your community or traveling. But how are you spending your time? Is your life's work reflected in your daily, weekly, and monthly activities? Are your decisions advancing your goals?
Maybe you're working for someone who minimizes your contributions or in a relationship where you don't feel appreciated. Maybe there's someone in your life mistreating you. Do you value them more than your own mental, spiritual, and physical well-being? Do you believe naysayers or your own convictions about who you are and what you're capable of?
As the sole provider for and manager of my home, I only have so much energy to use, so I'm deliberate about where I place "my all" and my best abilities. My best efforts are preserved for things and people that matter to me. When I begin feeling overwhelmed or distracted, that's a good indication that I need to take something less meaningful off my plate.
We do tons of things in a day that have nothing to do with our life's work, but have everything to do with life, like washing dishes and doing laundry. Obviously we can't ignore our responsibilities and that's not what I'm advocating.
I'm advocating for us to recognize that "good enough" is good. Let's not act like anything less than the best is mediocre. Good is still good. I'm advocating for slowing down, pressing pause, and removing yourself from trivial (to you) predicaments. I'm advocating for quitting that thing or that person when your stamina is being worn down. Your decision to engage in work that has nothing to do with your sense of accomplishment and well being is reversible. Things that are not at all connected to your destiny, legacy, love, or life's work!
What I won't do is get passionate about doing laundry. I won't exert extra effort into chores in the name of giving my all. What I'll do is throw my load in, wash, dry, and leave the last load in the dryer.
You have your obligations for sure, and they can be stressful, but be crystal clear about what's important to you. Knowing that will center you. It'll set off an alarm when it's time to quit what doesn't matter. Knowing that your time and space is opening up for something purpose-aligned makes quitting something that's not purpose-aligned attractive.
Does this mean that you should quit everything that isn't aligned with your purpose? Probably not, but I'm in no position to spell out the exceptions for you. You know better than I.
But as often as you can, slow down to examine what you're doing and who you're doing it with, and then ask yourself if it's getting you closer to where you want to be in 3 to 5 years.
Know your life's work. Know who cherishes you. Quit the things and people that are distracting you. Happily quit, guilt-free.
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