“Winners never quit, quitters never win.” Who hasn’t heard this catchphrase? It’s been repeated liberally and stamped into our collective consciousness ever since famed pro football coach Vince Lombardi first uttered it decades ago. The truth is, happy and successful people quit all the time. The reason they come out “winners” is because they know just what to quit and when.
There are times when stick-to-it-ness has its merits. And there are times when letting go is the best option. However, if you’re overly worried about letting people down or concerned you’ll be “less than” for quitting, then making the decision to carry on or cut your losses can be one of the most difficult things to do.
Here are some key things to consider when wondering if and when it’s okay to quit.
What’s Not Necessary?
Many of us are living in a constant state of overwhelm with a thousand responsibilities and things that we feel we have to do, day in and day out. When you can hardly get to even fifty percent of the items on your to-do list, it’s time to kill some of those items.
For each item on your to-do list, ask yourself: Is this activity serving no real need yet causing me constant stress? Strike it. Is that activity a total time suck without any reward? Quit it. The key is to take a hard look at the payoff. Your work project may be stressing you out, but you can’t quit on your team or your paycheck. And though you’re under pressure today, once the project is done, you might gain some satisfaction, team camaraderie, and maybe even a bonus. But if serving on that second or third PTA committee has overloaded your schedule, it’s time to abandon it.
What’s No Longer Fulfilling?
So your kid’s entering middle school and he’s lost interest in continuing on the travel soccer team. But he’s been playing since he was five. So what? Encourage him to try another sport or get engaged in another activity that occupies the time he would have been out on the field. If he persists with soccer when his heart is no longer in it, he’s wasting precious time that could be spent exploring new interests and discovering a new talent. Likewise, if your monthly book club has turned into a gossip fest that doesn’t feed your mind or soul, dump it. Closing the door on one thing opens the door to a world of new possibilities.
Who’s Going to Get Hurt?
If you don’t answer all 220 emails in your inbox before you call it a night, or you don’t accept that invitation to the networking event, or you don’t volunteer to chaperone your kid’s class field trip, is anyone going to get hurt? Not likely. A better question might be this: If you do continue to take on everything, might you get hurt by ending up feeling overtaxed, overtired, and resentful? Stop being a people pleaser. Just say “no” when you’ve reached your limit.
Consider this: Reject the notion that quitting is a sign of weakness. Saying no at the right moment can free you up to triumph in a better way.