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Give Yourself Permission to Quit

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“You got to know when to hold’em, know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, know when to run.” The Gambler (song) by Kenny Rogers 

You’ve got the degree or degrees. You followed a career path and took the right jobs or started a business. You had goals and expectations to fulfill whether yours or someone else’s and you were damn sure going to fulfill them.

Everything was going along fine until you realized you aren’t happy and you aren’t on your right path. Something has shifted for you even if you’re not quite sure what. All you know is what you’ve been doing isn’t working for you anymore.

You’ve made huge investments in your education, craft, profession or business. Others have invested in you as well. You’re thinking about all the time, energy, money, and other resources that have gone into your growth and development so that you could step out into the world armed with a particular set of skills, a cultivated talent, or an expertise in a particular field.

But maybe what you’re doing or were doing before you took a break to have kids isn’t fulfilling or fun and isn’t something you want to do anymore or go back to.

So now what?

You can’t just throw it all out the window and walk away. Or can you?

I can speak from experience and proudly say that I am a quitter (sometimes).

I often don’t finish things that I start.

But I do stick with and finish the important things. Like plugging away at a course book I’ve been working on for nearly two years determined to finish it and see it through because I believe it’s important and it’s the work I’m called to do.

The things I stick with I do so because it feels right. I recognize them as my work, my responsibility, my path or part of the lessons I’m here to learn. They are things that are important to my growth and development. They add meaning, serve a purpose or allow me to contribute in a meaningful and powerful way.

Even though it’s hard sometimes I stick with things that are important and necessary because I see the value in doing so. And so I show up, do the work, knowing I’ll see my work and contributions bear fruit one day.

Most importantly, I stick with things that are fun and make me feel good.

But then there are those things I just can’t bring myself to stick with.

I can’t really explain why or make sense of it. It’s often not rational. I just know that it’s time to walk away from and quit those things it seems I ought to stick with.

I’ve started projects, businesses and down promising career paths in the past that I probably could have done well in had I stuck it out long enough but something always told me I hadn’t found my thing yet or that I was off course and needed to change directions.

It’s unfortunate I didn’t get that message before I made all the investments I did in certain endeavors. In fact, it’s taken me years and years of quitting shit and investing in the wrong thing before I found my authentic path and true purpose. And even still I am going to have to walk away from ideas and shift gears on projects within my rightly chosen path.

But it’s all a gamble and there’s always a risk that ideas, projects, careers and businesses won’t work out for countless reasons including choosing to walk away just because it doesn’t feel right to stick with it.

It’s okay to quit and go back to the drawing board or to go back to school for something completely different that your current profession or to shut down a business and start a new one.

It’s okay to course correct and head down a new path. It’s okay to make a slight shift in direction if that is all that is needed. It’s okay to nix the whole damn thing and start over.

It’s also okay to quit when things have simply run their course for you and you feel it’s time to do something new and different.

What is not okay is sticking it out when your heart and soul is telling you to move on and do a new thing, when you know that you are off course and need to forge a new path, or when it stops being fun and fulfilling.

And it’s better to figure this out sooner than later before you’re way down the wrong path.

But even then know that it’s never too late to begin again.

The universe supports authenticity and if you are not living your most authentic life, then you will never find the joy and fulfillment you seek.

Also know that whatever you’ve invested resources in and now feel compelled to walk away from is never a total lost. You have learned, you have grown, you have gained valuable experience, tools and skills you can take to the next big thing you’re ready to create.

And just so we’re clear know that quitting to do a new thing that is more aligned with your authentic self is not the same as giving up because something is hard. Everything we commit to and invest in is going to be hard and challenging at times.

So you might as well make sure what you’re committing to and investing in is something you really want to do. And if it’s not then it’s time to fold them, walk away and to start down not just a new path but a more authentic one.

Next Steps:

  1. Reflect on whether what you’ve invested in is really the right thing for you and if not how can you course correct to find your more authentic path?
  2. Reflect on what you have learned and gained from your experiences and what you can take into the next thing.
  3. Start mapping a new course if it’s time to quit and move on.

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Take care of you,

Nicole

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