Nobody is immune from life. We all have our own unique challenges, circumstances and approach to life. Even the ones we deem incredibly successful face the question (and often) “How do I do this? I am ready give it up, walk away from it all. How do I NOT quit?”
I’m sharing today a handful of wonderful tips for NOT quitting.
Before I go there we have to understand a big realization. If you are considering quitting – this means you have MADE PROGRESS! To quit something means you have already begun and you already have made progress.
We often hear successful people say “I’ve come too far to quit now. I can’t quit.” What they mean is they literally have invested so much time, energy, focus and various resources into what they are doing that they have crossed over the point of no return. Likely a long time ago.
What is the point of no return? When you have managed to show up often enough, have applied enough focus, effort and discipline to have created enough progress/results that you seriously can’t just quit. I’m not talking about a few days or weeks or months. I’m talking about people who have invested years into their goals/dreams and what they are presently experiencing is a big challenge, perhaps a big pause or detour in their plans but they cannot quit. It would be like trying to erase several big chapters in their book of life.
[Insight into Successful Mindset – Highly successful people do not quit. They either finish what they’ve begun while embracing as much learning as possible while they finish the endeavor. Or they realize that endeavor is totally no longer in alignment with their life vision and that they must alter course drastically to stay aligned and on purpose. Quit = Time for Big Changes in the mind of the highly successful.]
So how do we not quit then?
#1 Change in Perspective is Required
When we feel like quitting the most is usually when we are about to level up in life. It means we are seriously struggling to handle or overcome a present situation and we have yet to learn the tools and skills that getting through it requires. (otherwise it wouldn’t be a challenge.) When you quit – you can’t level up in life, which means you will keep spinning in circles with the life scenario you currently have.
Of course we want to get through, overcome and basically tell life how we want it to go. To do this, to level up, we have to learn how to change our perspective in the critical moments of chaos and struggle!
This means that we have to train ourselves (Yes it will require practice) to pause in the midst of the struggle, step back and try to see things from new and different perspectives.
I talk about overcoming challenges in this interview where I was a guest on Small Business Drivers Podcast.
As soon as you catch yourself thinking, “I’m done. That’s it. I quit.” Immediately follow it with thoughts like, “Wow, where is this coming from? This isn’t me! I’ve been working so hard and this challenge really sucks but just quit? Seriously?”
Once you can start to catch yourself having these “I quit.” thought trains, you can slow down the I Quit train and begin asking yourself questions about what is really going on. Then you can begin to adjust your perspective on the whole situation.
Sometimes this requires a mini break. I call it taking a breather. It isn’t quitting. It is literally stopping what you are doing – because it obviously isn’t working, solving the problems at hand or bringing you good results. In this breather you are stepping back, aside, away from what is right in front of your nose so that you can actually breathe.
Once you can breathe, you can quiet your emotions and your mind and begin to ask the real questions that bring about positive solutions.
“What lead to this situation?”
“Why do I want to quit?”
“Am I focused on the right things? (Values/priorities/long-term vision)
“Is this really as big of a deal as I am making it out to be?”
“Who could help me right now? (personally and professionally)
“In the scope of my lifetime, what would achieving this do for me? What would the positive results do for my life?”
“What would happen If I go ahead and quit? What would I be giving up in the future?”
“What are my strengths? How can I use them to work through this current challenge?”
When we can develop better clarity on what we are really experiencing and what the long term effects might be, we can establish a much healthier perspective and make better decisions.
I mentioned taking a break to create space and allowing your mind to clear up. This might take a few hours, days or weeks. This doesn’t mean you stop working and making progress. It does mean that during this break – you set the situation aside for a brief moment and when your mind has cleared and you are in a calmer state, you come back and assess the situation with your newer perspectives.
That is, during your breather you are coming up with new ways to approach the situation and the big question of “Do I really want to quit?” until you come up with a real, well-thought out solution.
#2 Focus on Your Purpose and Vision
One of the reasons why I have managed to overcome so many life challenges and now handle regular life hiccups with relative ease is because I’ve learned how to regularly re-focus on my purpose and overall life vision. This directly correlates with being able to approach life with a fresh perspective.
“What is the purpose behind what you are working on?”
Why are you doing it? This lines up with your vision for your future. Your purpose goes hand in hand with your life vision.
If your present situation has caused you to want to quit, it is likely due to two reasons.
1. As mentioned earlier – you still have some skills to learn and apply, character to build or experience to gain in order to overcome your present challenges. You can learn more about how to level up in life in my book Raising the Bar for a Higher Level of Living.
2. Whatever you were working on and are dealing with is not lined up with your purpose or your life vision.
In the case of facing obstacles in life, we have to continue learning and growing or we will walk in circles over and over again until we do finally learn what is required to rise up and get through and over that challenge. Life is all about evolving. This isn’t something to quit over. It just means you need to adjust the time line for your goals/project, focus on what you do need to learn, practice it and then you can handle the situation much better down the road.
So many people spend so many years of their life wandering aimlessly and/or building other people’s dreams and visions. This is a very difficult life altering acknowledgement to accept, face and begin making new decisions about. Many people never begin pursuing their own goals/ambitions in life.
But we aren’t talking about them. We are talking about what do we do when we have been making progress and now we want to quit? Maybe it got too hard, or you lost interest or you just simply are stuck in muck. This happens when somewhere along the way we’ve lost focus on the reasons behind why we wanted to this in the first place and where it lines up in our overall life vision.
So when you have realized things are just not going well or you are seriously struggling – return your focus to your purpose and your vision. The why you began in the first place and where and how it builds your future life circumstances. Pull out everything you’ve written down about your life goals, intentions, and the convictions you live by.
When we revisit (do this regularly!) our values and priorities and bring our focus back to the purpose and overall vision for what we are doing – it helps us to quickly recognize where we did get off track and helps us prevent getting lost in the future. Putting our vision and purpose in front of our decision making can replenish our energy, mentality and determination.
#3 Seek Out Wisdom
The longer you have been working towards this goal and building your life up to this point, the more important seeking out external wisdom becomes.
Maybe you are able to admit that you have no idea what to do next to improve the situation or where to turn or even how to begin approaching the whole thing.
Maybe you can pinpoint a few of the skills you do need to learn, and want to learn them quickly.
The key is that BEFORE you up and quit, you actually seek out real advice and wisdom from people who can actually help you. This doesn’t mean go to your family or best friend. While they can encourage you they likely do not have the experience or skill set you need help with.
To help you decide where to find help, read my article on Mentors and Masters, knowing the difference between the two will help you find the person with the answers you are looking for much quicker. Gaining the right clarity from people who have dealt with the same challenges you are facing speeds up the process of getting through the challenge without making tons of mistakes.
#4 Look at the Big Picture
This is such a helpful tool for getting that fresh perspective, returning to your purpose and vision and re-awakens you to how much wisdom you actually do have.
If you write down your goals and life ambitions pull them all out and review all of it.
Grab a piece of paper and draw a line across the middle and start writing down all your achievements (small and big) over the last 3-5 years. Then grab more sheets of paper and line them up on the left and right hand sides of your timeline sheet.
Are you seeing the big picture yet?
Whatever you are currently experiencing is just a small piece of your entire lifespan.
The challenges you are facing are not as big of a deal when you zoom out and appropriate them properly.
[Insight into success: Things in life are as big as you let them be. Doesn’t matter what those things are. Highly successful people learn to take challenges as they are without blowing them up into gigantic issues. To one person a cancer diagnosis may be the end all while for the next it might be just a small blip on their 95 year lifeline. Mindset and approach to life creates your life.]
Along with looking at your timeline, look at all the other challenges you have overcome in your life! You are totally capable of overcoming your present challenges too!
#5 Progress and Achievements Take Time!
It is so easy to become impatient. When we have been working our tails off and have been applying everything we’ve got and we are still banging our heads on the wall…quitting so sounds nice. And easy.
Often our biggest frustrations happen when we lose that ability to see the big picture. We want everything to happen right away, like pronto!
But everything in life happens in seasons, it is a natural aspect of life. There are seasons for rest, seasons for planting the right seeds, seasons for actively tending to what we have planted, seasons where we focus on other activities/goals/planning ahead while we wait for our crops to grow and mature. There are seasons for reaping our harvest and then it all repeats itself.
Progress and results take time to unfold naturally! When we get impatient and try to force things to happen we are trying to dig up what we’ve planted and shake the rewards from it for an early harvest without giving it enough time to blossom fully.
If you are getting too impatient with your current goals/progress, set it aside for a while and go focus on something else. Come back when you have regained the right perspective, attitude and approach that will bring you the real results you want to experience. While you are ‘vacationing’ from your present challenge and wanting to quit, what you have been working on might just sort itself out naturally.
It’s that let muddy water sit still and it will clear itself soon enough approach that really often resolves the very thing that makes us want to quit in the first place.
When we have other activities/projects to enjoy and pursue – this can reignite our energy, focus, determination, passion and drive to come back and pick up where we left off and see that original goal through to the results we are after. (Just make sure your ‘vacation’ is short term and you actually return.)
I hope you find these tips helpful the next time you find yourself wanting to up and quit.
Do you need help with learning how to achieve goals consistently or want tips for handling the challenges the come with striving after goals?
In addition to these 5 tactics for achieving your goals, you might also enjoy:
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