We're Going on a Quitting Quest.
Quit while you’re ahead.
Quitters never prosper.
A quitter never wins and a winner never quits.
Can you guess what the topic of the post is today? That’s right: Quitting!
When you think of quitting, what words spring to mind?
Perhaps failure, or defeat, or weakness?
The idea that quitting is intrinsically linked to failure is ingrained within us, through no fault of our own. Are quitters looked down upon in society? Absolutely they are! (Of course, I can’t speak for everyone, but that does seem to be the general consensus)
Quitting is not an easy thing. Whether it’s handing in your notice at a job you hate, or leaving a relationship because you know this person is not 'the one', you will require strength and support in your quitting quest.
If you are familiar with the TV show Friends, you may remember an iconic in which Chandler wants to quit the gym. He never goes to the gym and knows he never will go, but paying a ridiculous amount of money each month for his membership is easier than actually quitting. That strength we spoke about earlier comes in the form of best friend Ross, who says he’ll go to the gym with Chandler and be the moral support he so desperately needs in order to quit.
Does this plan work out? Absolutely not; they both end up with exclusive gym memberships. Now, there was a girl wearing spandex at the gym that definitely impacted their ability to quit, but the notion remains: quitting is not easy.
I honestly have a lot of respect for people who can admit they are unhappy, or who can admit that they deserve better and choose to quit. Quitting can be scary and uncertain. You can be embarrassed to tell others that you have decided to quit, worried they will look down upon you and see you as a weaker person.
I couldn’t disagree more with the traditional outlook on so-called ‘quitters.’ In my opinion, they are not weak, but rather the strongest of people, as they can analyse a situation and say to themselves, ‘You know what, I deserve better. This is not the life I want to live. I want to make a change.’
So, let’s change the words we associate with quitting. Rather than failure, defeat, or weakness, how about courage, strength, or decisiveness.
Quitters are rebels. They rock the boat when it isn’t necessary. They don’t accept discomfort or boredom. They practise self-love by ensuring they don’t stay in situations that are less than they deserve. They have a vision of what their life should look like and they will take the necessary action to make that happen. They don’t stay on the path that is safe and clear, they change course, take the path less wandered. They actively choose to disrupt their own lives because they know that the outcome will be well worth the disruption of the initial impact. How brave of them! Despite potential judgment from others, despite potential uncertainty in their lives, they still decide to quit. Absolute rebels.
Okay, it’s time for a confession: I am a quitter.
I quit my teaching job in July and quit my au pair job just three weeks ago.
Quitting my teaching job was a bold move, as I was in a stable job, putting money away into my pension each month and working my way up that career ladder. But you know what? I was totally miserable. My health was also massively suffering as a result of the stress I was experiencing. So I quit, something that many teachers are choosing to do nowadays. I said no thanks to stability and said yes please to uncertainty.
I felt good about this decision. Friends and family knew I had been struggling for a long time, so my decision to quit was hugely supported by those closest to me and it was a very positive experience.
However, when I quit teaching I had a plan: move to Paris and work as an au pair for a year and live my Parisian dream – great thinking! However, I could never have foreseen the difficulties that led to the demise of my French fantasy (let’s just say that the parent of the family I worked for was QUITE the character…). I survived six months and again found myself on another quitting quest.
When I left teaching, I felt proud that I was putting myself first after five years of hard work. When I left France and came home to Ireland, I felt significantly more embarrassed and ashamed when telling people that the au pair job just didn’t pan out the way I had hoped. Would they see me as a failure? Was my life in France really so terrible? Or had I complained and quit when other, stronger people would have stuck it out? They supported me when I quit teaching, but would they show the same support only six months later?
Thinking such thoughts made me realise that the thing I was worried about the most after quitting was other people’s opinions of me; my own opinion of myself was just as high, if not higher – we’ve already established how highly I think of society’s so-called ‘quitters,' a club which I have the potential of becoming president of if I continue on this quitting trajectory. The negative feelings I was experiencing were as a result of what others would think, as I assumed they wouldn’t be positive thoughts. It was at this realisation that I told myself to wise up, because:
1. You should never concern yourself about what others think of you. The most important opinion you should consider is the one you have of yourself. If you think well of yourself, then congratulations! You are a member of the self-love club.
2. I am simply assuming what people think of my decision to leave France. No one has actually told me anything negative. Rather, I have received positive remarks and a lot of support. So what am I basing my assumptions on? The crazy monster I have living in my brain who wants me to overthink and suffer (we all have one of those monsters, and mines can be particularly loud and irritating at times).
The choice to quit should always be dependant on how you feel and your happiness; never stay in a situation just to appease others or avoid potential judgment. Be brave enough to take control of your own life. Sometimes things don't work out and circumstances can be totally out of your control, so you need to be confident enough and have enough respect for yourself to act in such moments. Never be afraid to put yourself first.
And remember: the only opinion that truly matters is your own. If people don't agree with your choices or support you on your quitting quest, then that's up to them. You do you and know that quitting does not make you weak, but rather it makes you strong.
Quitters never prosper? I think you'll find that actually, we do. Prove them wrong.