Nobody likes to hear the “q” word. It’s like self-made leadership anathema! Nobody wants to be a quitter; it is treated like a shameful or weak thing. But quitting is actually one of the most important tools for realizing your dreams.
The simple fact is that there is more available to us in this life than we could ever do in one lifetime. It is very easy to get wrapped up in more things than it is actually possible to do effectively, but this limits our ability to do what really matters. In addition, we grow. What matters to us changes, our values and perspectives shift, and our character and tastes develop. This is part of growing as leaders, but often our habits and behaviors don’t change at the same rate. We end up with a lot of clutter in our lives that isn’t actually all that important.
Quit a hobby that no longer ignites passion. Quit your social life that no longer reflects who you are or who you aspire to be. Quit the ways you spend your time that no longer fit your personal mission and goals. Quit trying to be someone you no longer are.
It’s hard to do, especially with habits we have settled into over time or with relationships that have existed for years. But your time and energy deserve to be focused on making the greatest impact you can and becoming fully yourself. You don’t have to be mean or harsh, but sometimes you do have to move on.
For example, there are people in my life I’ve fallen out of touch with, and that’s ok. There aren’t any hard feelings, and if they call I’ll pick up and we have a nice chat. But the relationship isn’t a major factor in my life and my energies are better spent elsewhere than trying to keep those relationships the same as they always were. I used to spend my free time differently. I loved playing fantasy football, but now there are more important pursuits. There’s nothing wrong with fantasy football; it just isn’t important at this time. When I quit I felt a little guilty, like I was abandoning the rest of the people I played with, but ultimately quitting allowed me to get an MBA, volunteer at my church, and grow closer to my family. Those are the important things now.
It is important to take time to reflect periodically so that you can keep in touch with yourself, your growth, and the way you have changed. If you are unaware you cannot make the necessary changes to your habits to support that growth. Life is not about doing so much, it about doing what matters so much. So take some time to figure out what that is. When it comes to the rest, if it doesn’t align with who you are and what you value, you should probably quit.