It was the 6th time I landed in the doctor’s office that month and my iron counts were dangerously low. I was working up to 70 hours per week, often eating strange dinners like celery & 2 boiled eggs with salt, before plopping into bed, exhausted from the day. I worked when my partner was there. I worked when my partner wasn’t there. I worked on my days off. And this was the expectation.
At that point in my life, I thought that quitting was a sign of weakness. I’d bought into the lie that quitting was a flaw of character, and not just an action. And to be honest, I had my fears of quitting: what would that say about me as a person? would my resume be sullied? would I end up back home, after coming so far in my career? However, as I answered the doctor’s questions about what I was eating, how much sleep I was getting, etc. I realized that I already knew what his diagnosis would be… I had a case of the ‘never can say goodbye’s’.
In a recent, informal poll, I asked people about their thoughts on quitting. I asked what types of things were worth quitting and how they knew it was time to quit something. Some of the responses were that we should quit:
- Being afraid
- People pleasing
- Habits that are harmful and counter productive
- Thinking more of yourself than you ought & being self-righteous
- Doubting yourself and others
- Allowing people to bring drama into your life
- Comparing your journey to other people’s journey
- Things that no longer edify you or hinder your growth in any way
- Smoking, complaining, and not making time for yourself
- Saying yes when you want to say no
- Being hard on yourself
- Relationships that aren’t good for you
And when is it time to quit?: “When whatever you’re involved in becomes destructive instead of constructive.”*
The reality, as Bryant McGill so eloquently states, is that “there is a difference between giving up (quitting) and strategic disengagement,” and that we should “know the difference.” I knew that in order to maintain both my health and well-being, I needed to make decisions about my strategic engagement and / or disengagement. I knew that in order to be effective, I needed to think about quitting a lot differently.
Now, I am NOT saying you go out there and quit stuff at random.
What I am saying is that most of the decisions about your engagement or strategic disengagement belong to you… and are directly aligned with how happy, healthy, effective, and productive you will be in the long term. The goal is to critically examine our “yes-es” – the things that we have decided to engage in – and ask whether it is allowing us to thrive or to be deprived. In order to thrive in every area of our lives, we have to think critically about our resources: what can we reasonably do and give? What can we reasonably accept without it being a detriment to our health and well-being? What engagements will allow us to be most effective and efficient? Because I can assure you that saying yes to every opportunity without assessing our commitments and internal resources… just ain’t it.
So grab a few of your closest and truest friends, reflect internally, journal through, or comment below (if you’re feeling brave) and let’s work this out together!
– What are your honest gut-level thoughts on “quitting”?
– Do you have a case of the ‘never can say goodbyes’? or Have you dealt with this in the past? How’d you get through it?
– What are your current involvements (i.e. personally, professionally, spiritually, relationally, etc)? Would you say that they are ultimately constructive or destructive? What would 3 of your closest friends / trusted advisers / designated mentors say?
– What are you involved in that is a constructive & “strategic engagement”? (At least let me know this part, so I can celebrate with you!)
*One of my favorite books on the topic is I Quit!: Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life, by Geri Scazzero
*Thanks, salutations, and citations to everyone who participated in the informal poll!
Image Credit deathtostockphoto.com
Overcoming the “Never Can Say Goodbye” Syndrome by Jade T. Perry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.