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Think Quitting is Not An Option? Embrace the Power of Giving Up!

Learn why and when giving up is more powerful than holding on to the idea that quitting is not an option and how hearing your body wisdom is the key.“It’s just as important to know when to drop something and shift direction as it is to know when to stick with something. When we quit the things that aren’t working for us, we free up our willpower and perseverance for the things that really do matter.” ~ Rich Karlgaard, Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement

Don’t give up! Quitters are losers! Quitting is not an option! We hear messages like these all the time. They make us believe that we’re supposed to hang on and plow through, no matter the cost. I strongly disagree! And here are my reasons for doing so…

Thinking that quitting is not an option leads us to dismiss signals that it’s time to stop, rest, take a break, pull back, quit a job, take a step back from a relationship or even a commitment. When we quit listening to our bodies, we won’t make the best decisions.

More than that, as we continue to plow through, we eventually shut off body signals, so we’re no longer aware of them. We disconnect from the very thing that’s trying to keep us true to ourselves.

Believing that quitting is not an option requires you to make the right decision 100% of the time. This makes the decision-making process so hard. You’re burdening yourself with unrealistic expectations that lock you into every choice you make.

When you label yourself as a quitter you’re passing a harsh, undeserved judgment that starts to reshape your identity in a negative way.

You change. Circumstances change. Change means quitting one thing to start another. Quitting or giving up is just a choice. If you mindfully examine your choices and determine that there’s a better course to take, wouldn’t you be smart to take it? We quit things all the time. We quit sucking our thumbs. We quit smoking or abusing alcohol. And we don’t feel bad about quitting those things, because we’re convinced that it’s the best choice for us!

We have to say NO or give up on something so that we have room to say YES to others. 

Don’t misunderstand me …being disloyal, fickle or half-hearted aren’t attractive qualities. To endure and persevere are qualities you absolutely want to embrace. But the ultimate questions we must mindfully assess for determining whether quitting is not an option are: 

  • What exactly am I really quitting?
  • Why am I letting it go?

Take for example these scenarios:

Julie was starting to grow her coaching business and she committed to writing every single word on her website by herself. She wanted it to be her authentic message! She had passion and “quit” wasn’t in her vocabulary. But then life got in the way…

Do you think she’s a quitter, if she hires a marketing specialist? Yes and no. She quit doing it herself, but the job still got done, so her original purpose to grow her coaching business moved forward.


Jim and Meredith both longed for a lasting, loving relationship. They’d been dating each other for a number of years, yet lately it seems like neither one could say anything without the other getting defensive and angry.

Do you think they’re quitters, if they break off the relationship?  Or maybe they quit acting that way and learn to relate again in a loving way. Again it’s yes and no. They’re quitting something in order to find a lasting, loving relationship.

Osayi Osar-Emokpae, author of Impossible Is Stupid“ wisely wrote, 

“Quitting is not giving up, it’s choosing to focus your attention on something more important. Quitting is not losing confidence, it’s realizing that there are more valuable ways you can spend your time. Quitting is not making excuses, it’s learning to be more productive, efficient and effective instead. Quitting is letting go of things (or people) that are sucking the life out of you so you can do more things that will bring you strength.”

In every decision, there are elements of quitting and of holding on. When you’ve examined the situation in the light of what your body is telling you, you can become convinced that your decision is the only one you can make. 

Body wisdom reveals when it’s time to give up…

Don’t be surprised that the very thought of giving up something or someone may elicit guilt or shame. This isn’t an indication that you shouldn’t. Many of us spend our lives surrounding ourselves with and holding on to chaos in the form of old habits, limiting beliefs, toxic people, unchecked fears and confining patterns of behaviors. When we begin to declutter our lives, guilt shows up as a reminder that we are changing course, making sure we know how to handle the consequences.

Never give up your hope, values, or sense of self. If your decision is life-altering, you may have to peel back many layers to arrive at your truth. Your conflicting emotions won’t always be easy to discern and resolve. 

We get used to where we are, whether it’s a healthy place or not. Try to mindfully assess where your emotions are coming from. 

•When you think about the project/job/relationship, what sensations do you feel in your body? 

•What does your body say when you think about walking away? 

•After you strip away all of the anxiety that comes from making a major change, what are you left with? That’s where you’ll find your answer.

Only you can make sense of your decisions, so don’t let anyone else sway you. It’s you who has to live with the consequences. Remember that your decision must be in harmony with the real you and your purpose.

Mindfully paying attention to your body sensations is a powerful tool we often under-utilize. This skill is part of my road map for Stepping Forward into creating a life of meaning and fulfillment. You can now download an Introduction to The Stepping Forward Program. I invite you to get your sneak peek today!

Thank you for the use of your photo  Raul Varzar on Unsplash

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