I have a secret; I’m a reformed quitter.
Growing up, I was one of those kids who would quit the game once it was obvious I was going to lose. I quit taking piano lessons the minute my mom gave me permission. (After seven years of forced lessons and practices, she thought for sure that by the time I was old enough to make my own decision I would happily continue, but no, I had other things I wanted to try.) I would quit anything that appeared I wouldn’t be good at, like golf. The first time I ever played golf, I made it to Hole 9, and that was it for me.
I even took this quitting methodology into my early adult years by quitting my first job to become a stay-at-home mom, only to quit that two years later and go back to my old job. A few other jobs in my resume show that, for a while, I was on a quitting spree – leaving one opportunity for another.
Honestly, life’s circumstances often spurred these changes more than my desires did in those early years, but I’ve come to realize that I am prone to consider quitting when things aren’t working or are harder than expected. While this is embarrassing to confess, just making this admission has helped me on my journey to quit all this quitting.
Here are a few other tips I’m happy to share with others who may have the quitting bug:
Adopt a Mantra
Come up with a saying – or borrow a motivational quote or inspirational Bible verse – that you can use to keep yourself going when times get tough and you think you hear the fat lady singing. Personally, I use “God brought me to it, and He will bring me through it.” This helps me remember that whatever “it” is that I’ve got on my plate at the moment – my job duties, my family responsibilities, my personal commitments – I was brought to them for a reason, and I have the knowledge, skills and abilities to complete the mission, which brings me to my next point.
Set Your Sights on the Purpose
Remember why you took that job, accepted that chairman position, joined that committee or volunteered to lead that event. No job, position or experience turns out exactly as we thought it would. Most of the time, we find out that a job is harder than expected or that others’ expectations are different than we thought. Regardless, keeping a mindset of accomplishing the purpose of the role will help you make it through to the finish line. At this stage of my life, an established, long-term career is what I want most for myself; that’s why I’m staying put at Obsidian. At the same time, I stay busy outside of the office volunteering at activities for my children because I’m committed to being an engaged mother.
Chart Goals and Milestones to Meet
By setting goals to accomplish and milestones to meet before calling it quits, you not only eliminate the spontaneity of being able to walk away, but you also help guide yourself toward achieving the purposes for each adventure. Make a vow to grow your organization’s membership to a certain number before stepping down as chairman, and leave a legacy. Resolve to put in a specific number of years with your company before looking elsewhere for better opportunities. During that time, you may be introduced to opportunities you couldn’t have predicted.
Just DON’T Do It
I’m borrowing – and purposely altering – the famous Nike slogan here. But seriously, just as Nike encourages you to step out and “just do it,” I encourage you, with the same enthusiasm, to just don’t quit. Keep at it. Get through it. Grow. Mature. Learn. You may find that after passing that fleeting moment of throwing your hands up, you will experience an overwhelming high of determination and drive that’s so invigorating you just can’t help but keep going – and keep succeeding!