Sometimes It’s OK to Quit

Quitter

Greg, you’re freaking me out again. Didn’t you just tell me to never give up? Now you’re telling me it’s OK to quit? Are you off your meds?

Slow down, speed racer, let me explain.

I understand the conventional wisdom is that you should never give up once you’ve set your mind to something. I agree with that – to a point.

There’s a big difference between giving up and deciding to quit something. If you stop working towards what you know is your Passionate Purpose because it’s too hard, or someone talked you out of it, or you got sidetracked on unimportant things, or you had to watch the Simpsons marathon on FX, that’s giving up. That’s what I hope you won’t do.

If, however, you are trying out new things to see what fits on you, it’s perfectly OK to stop doing something you find out you truly don’t enjoy. How will you know what you really like if you don’t try it? I don’t want you to feel like once you try something new you can never quit or you’re a failure. That might stop you from trying awesome things.

And how can you keep being awesome if you stop trying awesome things?

(Who’s awesome? YOU’RE AWES…ok, sorry, got carried away.)

What if you discover what you’re struggling with wasn’t really your Passionate Purpose after all? What if you realize you’re trying to live out the dream your parents have for your life, or you’re trying to please someone else? Wouldn’t it be crazy to keep pursuing someone else’s goals?

How do you know the difference between giving up and quitting? Here’s what I do and what I make my children do. If you want to try something new, like a new job/career, a sport, an instrument, dance lessons, etc. determine a set amount of time that you are going to continue trying it no matter what. (A rule of thumb is six months to a year.) If you decide you don’t like it at the end of your trial period, you can quit without being a “quitter.”

You aren’t quitting because you can’t stick with something. You did stick with it. You did what you set out to do. You learned it wasn’t a good fit for you and now you’re moving on to something else.

If it is a good fit for you, keep doing it! You’re on your way.

Remember, you can try a new job or business without quitting your old one. You can ease into it. You don’t have to GO BIG right away. You don’t have to take a big leap and risk everything. You can take baby steps to get started.

Question for comments: When’s the last time you tried something new to see if it was a good fit? How did you know?

Frustration Will Beat You Twice if You Let It

frustrated

Have you ever had a goal, made some good progress and then taken two steps back? It’s frustrating isn’t it?

Frustration can beat us down. It will beat us twice if we let it.

Frustration is just a test to see if you really want this.

–Greg Knapp

My oldest daughter, Faith, asked me to show her a chord and a new rhythm on the guitar last night. As we started to work on it, I saw her tearing up.

I asked her why and she said, “I was practicing this earlier and I had it. Now I can’t do it. It’s so frustrating!”

The frustration had taken the joy out of playing guitar for her. If we weren’t careful, it was going to push her to give up learning the song she wanted to play. Too many sessions like that and frustration might beat her into giving up on the guitar all together.

So, we took a step back and:

  • Thought about all the progress she has made on the guitar
  • Discussed how if it was easy everyone would do it
  • Remembered that she had learned harder things than this before

Then we started over again, slowly, until she got it. The joy came back in her eyes. With each little success, she became more confident that she could do it.

It ended up being the best part of my day. (Faith said she had fun too.)

Frustration will arise. It will try to derail you. Your goal won’t seem as reachable or as much fun. But, If you can take a breath, regroup, and begin anew, great things will happen.

How do you handle frustration?