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There’s a reason why parents want you to “stick things out” and “never give up.” It’s easier to quit something challenging than it is to “fight through the pain” (another parent-ism) and “keep at it”.
In all fairness to our ‘rents, endurance and commitment are two essential skills that will consistently show up in your life, so the sooner you learn them, the better. However, as much as persistence is an admirable quality, sometimes quitting is totally necessary.
Whether it’s a sports team, an internship or a project, there are perfectly valid reasons for throwing in the towel. The challenge is determining whether you are quitting for all the right reasons. Here are some tips to help you out.
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1. Ask Yourself Why?
Get clear as to why you want to quit. Be specific as possible. Your goal is to figure out whether you want to quit because of simply one component, or the whole thing. Translation: if you feel like quitting your fashion internship, is it because you just hate getting people coffee (which is only one task of many other cooler tasks), or is it because you’ve realized you don’t feel the industry is the right fit for you any longer?
2. Dig Deep Behind Your Reason for Quitting
Figuring out the real reason behind your decision to quit is key. Basically, you want to recognize whether you’re quitting out of a place of strength or weakness. If you’re quitting because you’re impatient or frustrated, i.e. your uniform’s too itchy, you haven’t hit a home run yet or you’re suffering from writer’s block, then you might be doing yourself a disservice if you give up. However, if you’re experiencing valid emotional or physical pain — for instance, your coworker is super toxic — then you have a perfectly good reason for quitting.
3. Make a Pros and Cons List
It’s a good idea to determine the pros of quitting as well as the cons. For example, you don’t want to regret quitting your basketball team when they go on to win the championship. Think of the positive reasons for hanging in there. What are some possible good things/feelings you could experience if you stuck it out? At the same time, what are some things that make you feel anxious if you were to give it another shot? You have to get to the place where you’re comfortable with your decision no matter what happens.
4. Get a Second Opinion
Getting advice and support from a trusted family member, friend or mentor will help you gather an outside perspective on your situation. Explain why you feel like quitting and ask for their opinion. Maybe they’ll agree with you or maybe they can offer you a different solution. Even if they don’t change your mind, they can still offer you encouragement and support, which is always important when making a big decision.
5. Own Your Decision
Some people — like your parents, a boss or a coach — might not understand or agree with your decision to quit. That’s okay. You can’t control the reaction of others. If you have taken the time to consider your options and are totally okay with quitting, meaning the idea of leaving something makes you feel lighter and happier, then own your decision to walk away. When you quit something that truly isn’t right for you, you get closer to the thing that is.