“Pain is temporary, but quitting lasts forever.”
“Winners never quit, and quitters never win.”
“We can do hard things.”
Do these quotes sometimes make you want to scream?
There are so many messages out there about how quitting is for the weak. And on the flip side, how the strong and the powerful always manage to tough it out, no matter what the circumstances. After all, this is what created our “suck it up and tough it out” culture.
Listen, I know there is a time and place to tough it out, but the idea of never, ever (ever) quitting is a bit outdated, isn’t it? Whether it’s a job, a relationship, or a new activity, sometimes things just plain don’t work out.
What I know for sure, after working with hundreds of women in my coaching programs, is that we are taking this “tough it out” culture way, WAY too literally. And it’s not always serving us well.
Instead of this binary “quitter” or “winner” mentality, we need to put some guardrails up. We need to ask ourselves good questions so we can determine if we need to stay or if we need to pick up and go. Back to the drawing board. Back to square one.
And lucky for you, I have these questions. There are three main ones we can ask when we find ourselves in a situation where we’re not sure if we need to quit or tough it out.
The first question is, am I able to improve my current situation?
Or more simply stated, “what am I doing about it?” It’s a powerful thought in a stay-or-go situation. Even if you do decide to stay exactly where you are, can you make it better and claim more control over it by asking for what you need?
The second question is, am I actively looking for, or at least staying open to alternative paths?
This is sort of the opposite of the first question. Instead of asking “if I’m going to stay in the situation, am I doing everything I can to make it better?” now you’re asking “have I explored alternatives?”
It’s also asking, are you paying attention to how you feel? Are you asking questions about alternatives, or looking up information? Are you meditating on or praying about possible changes you could make that could be coming your way? All of these things are important as part of the analysis.
The third question is, am I willing to disregard what people will think or say if I make a change?
This may actually be the toughest one. If you decide not to stick it out and that you actually need to make a change, you may face judgment from your friends, your family, and your colleagues. Choosing to quit or to change direction is not culturally celebrated most of the time. The thing to remember here is these other people don’t have to deal with the outcome of the choices in the same way that you do. So if you realize the only reason you’re toughing it out so that someone else can have what they want, you have to see if you can learn to tolerate judgment or backlash from some of those people in the name of liking your life again.
Sometimes people who quit or pivot or change are the ones who win. And sometimes winners have to know when to call it right when it’s just time to end the suffering and move on.
Either way, I’m in your corner. Now go be brilliant. And reach out to let me know if the answers to these questions helped along the way!