I want to share with you about how I have been unlearning quitting. I chose this title instead of “how not to quit” or “perseverance” because we all quit bad habits, we quit people and so much more every day. Perseverance doesn’t quite fit the bill because I don’t want to share about persistence or doing something despite how difficult it is. Rather, I want to talk about the actual act of quitting and how to unlearn it. I want us to think differently about the act of quitting because like myself, you probably didn’t think of yourself as a quitter. When we take a deeper at what the word quit means you may find its not at all what it seems. The definition of unlearn is “discard (something learned, especially a bad habit or false or outdated information) from one’s memory.” So I want us to discard what we thought we knew about quitting and change our perspective about it, and learn new information.
QUIT verb \ ˈkwit \
– give up or let go
– relieve or release
Let’s think about how the word quit has showed up in your life. Where has it presented itself and with whom or what. I am sure you have a handful of things or circumstances that come to mind. Maybe you can think of something you willingly chose to quit. Maybe you can think of a thousand things or people that quit you. Often in my past, when I thought about the word quit, I didn’t associate it with myself and who I was. I would tell myself, “I am a doer not a quitter.” Its funny really because the more I unlearned the word quit the more I realized I have been a quitter. Like I said earlier, I quit things and people everyday without realizing it or even putting any thought into it. Said another way, how many things in my life have I continued to do and have been apart of my everyday life for a period of time? I can only think of a few things that have been a part of my life consistently for 20+ years and things I have started in the last 10+ years (of course there are also things in the last 5 years but we will think longer term) that I continue to pursue and haven’t given up for a period of time. Here is my list:
To summarize, there are not a lot of things I haven’t pursued. In fact when we dive really deep into my life I would say I have quit more than I have started. I quit a thousand hobbies, exercise routines, and well, I think you get where I am going. It’s not a bad thing that I quit all these things. It’s not a bad thing that I quit people or bad habits. Quitting can actually be one of the best things. Letting go. Releasing what doesn’t serve you. It’s all good and necessary. But here’s my point. I have believed my entire life that the act of quitting was a choice and not a way of life which is FALSE. I am a believer that things happen for a reason. I believe this to my core and I can find purpose in everything. But this belief has allowed me to fall on a secondary belief – it wasn’t meant to be. Which has been my way of life or way of quitting everything. It has allowed for me the excuse to change my path time and time again. The moment thing got hard, or even after trying three or four times I would fall back on it being a sign (because it was hard) that it was not meant to be. This has become an excuse that allows me to presently move through hard things. It is a coping tactic that has served me in so many ways during seasons of hardship. Let’s be clear.. something can be super duper hard for its entire existence and still be worth doing. Have you heard the saying that good things come to those who wait? What about nothing worth while comes easy? As I find myself in a remarkably challenging time of my life I have leaned on this idea “the last thing for a tree to bear is its fruit.” The final phase in the cycle of a tree is its benefit. Giving up is something I have done often because I believed things, goals or desires weren’t meant for me. Said another way, when things get hard I quit. 2020 has shown me that I am resilient. There are a ton of NON NEGOTIABLE hard things that I cannot quit. For example, being a health advocate for my son and a primary care giver for him with his special needs has taken an immense amount of my energy its insane. Its really hard. Like super hard. I would never give up on him. I will always fight for him even if I have to kick and scream. This part of my life has also challenged my career and leadership professionally in a way that I could never anticipated and it too is something I could give up on and refuse to. I may never know of another human in my position of having a chronically ill, special needs child who requires mom full time for childcare during a global pandemic and also managing working full time as an entrepreneur, artist, team leader, stylist and so on but that doesn’t mean its not doable. Everything we face in life can be a challenge but we have a choice to go after what we want or a choice to quit. Just because something constantly faces challenges doesn’t mean its a sign it isn’t meant for us. That is a false belief we need to unlearn. We deserve what we want from life. Good things do not come easy. Good things take hard. damn. work. Choosing not to quit becomes a way of life when we make it a habit. Being more aware of where we put our energy allows us to navigate if we quit on our hopes, dreams and goals or if we continue to work on them step by step despite the challenges.
Yes, one decision to quit or persevere is a choice. I want you to think about if your continual choice to quit the things you want to do or want for your life are conscious choices or rather a way of life that has been given to you? What if you continued to show up for that goal? What if you chose one thing that is your non-negotiable and actually saw it through? What does that look like? How does it feel?
I can be honest and tell you that there are not a ton of things I have actually been on the other side of success on. All the best things in my life continue to face challenges. Here’s the thing. Knowing I tend to quit things and that that doesn’t have to be my way of life has allowed me the clarity to make new choices in where I devote my energy. The non negotiables in my life that I prioritize. It gets easier and eventually becomes habit. Not quitting on myself has been the best decision I have ever made in my life and continues to prove my old false beliefs wrong. I challenge you to pick one thing you will train yourself not to quit because if you don’t learn to continually show up for your life in the way that you want why should anyone else?