Every single one of us that has ever embarked on the journey of doing something of significance has probably wanted to quit.
Maybe more than once.
Maybe every single day.
Hell, there are days when things go so poorly, I want to quit my business every other minute.
There is nothing wrong at all with wanting to quit.
The trouble lies in actually quitting. Before you should. Because you haven’t developed the most important characteristic needed by the person trying to see any goal through to completion.
That characteristic is grit.
In a world of positive thinking, daily affirmations and tapping into the infinite power of the universe to get whatever you want ordered however you like it, we aren’t exactly prepared to suffer.
And by suffer, I simply mean struggle. Fight against resistance. Push through when things get hard.
Because in case you’re living under a rock, or you happen to be one of those exceedingly annoying individuals that everything goes perfectly for (who are those people, anyway?) you probably experience times when things don’t go your way.
Those are the times when you need grit.
Don’t get me wrong; quitting isn’t always the wrong answer.
But more often that not, when I visit with people who chose to quit, they quit simply because it got “too hard”.
So let’s get to the three questions you can ask yourself when you’re courting the notion of quitting:
1. Do I really love this enough? (Like really, truly, deep down in your soul with a fire in your belly kind of fervor…)
If not, it’s unlikely you’ll see it all the way through. If what you’re experiencing is all struggle and no wins, that sounds like pure suffering and might be worth walking away from.
But some struggle is normal. It’s healthy, even.
I find when I’m struggling the most is when I’m growing the most. While that thought doesn’t always soothe the pain of the moment, it usually excites me enough to forge on ahead.
2. Have I practiced enough?
I don’t know if you realize this, but people are rarely good at things the first time they try them. Sure, it happens from time to time (again, with those people that always have to be the exception) but that should not be our expectation and certainly not the benchmark we measure ourselves against.
Most endeavors worthy of pursuit require some dedication and commitment to the task at hand.
I’ll give you an example. My oldest son is in the youth bowling league this year. A lot of his friends have been on the bowling team the past two years.
His first week was rough.
I won’t reveal his score (he deserves some dignity here) but he didn’t break double digits.
To get on the board, he needs to score a 75.
To put it mildly, he has some room to grow.
He has honestly come home frustrated more often than not.
His friends always score higher than he does.
He constantly feels like he is never going to get there.
Plus, he’s already had quite a few sessions of bowling.
And furthermore, as he continues to improve, his friends likely will too, making it that much harder for him to feel like he’ll ever catch up to them.
At what point should he cash it in? When should he just up and quit?
Do I encourage him to quit?
Well, that’s not the route I’m choosing.
I talk to him about needing to practice.
I remind him that no one starts out amazing at most things.
I talk to him about not comparing his beginning to other people’s middles/endings.
I asked him whether he loves going.
All of this has seemed to help.
Just this week, he told me (with a sincere sparkle in his eye) that he got a 64. He proudly stated that he feels confident he’ll be on the board soon.
For now, he’s sticking with it.
He simply hasn’t practiced enough.
The same goes for you.
You may be thinking it would be crazy to encourage a young person to quit something so soon, but I say the same to you.
Even if you’re on your 10th year of trying something, if you haven’t fully committed to practicing and getting better, it’s possible quitting isn’t the answer for you either.
You may need different kinds of support, which leads to the third question.
3. Do I have the right kind of support?
Through my book and my consulting, I often speak to groups about the people they choose to surround themselves with.
But this is slightly different than just being mindful of your friendships and social connections.
When we need to get better at something, our friends can sometimes be subversive to our efforts.
After all, friends don’t like to watch friends suffer. (And sometimes, our “friends” don’t want us to get better because then we become…well…better.)
This is when it pays to look for someone who is already successfully doing what you want to do.
Ask them for help and insight. (You may have to pay for it but if it gets you the results you want, isn’t that worth it?)
Struggling is rarely a sign that you ought to quit.
Struggling is a sign that you’re being tested.
Ask yourself these questions before giving up too soon. You might be on the brink of a breakthrough.
Don’t just quit; develop grit.
And because it’s Christmas, I gifted you a rhyme.
All kidding aside, Merry Christmas from me and my family to you and yours.
And of course, Happy New Year…can’t wait to see what the new year brings!