Monday, October 20, 2014


Quitting is a highly underrated undertaking. If you came of age within the last 30-40 years, you most likely were raised with some version of the principle embraced by Napoleon Hill - A quitter never wins and a winner never quits. Embodying Hill’s philosophy in personal/professional arenas directly leads to experiencing quitting as a sign of failure - an action reserved for the weak, unskilled and unmotivated. You’ve probably even heard many popular media stories regarding the person who persevered and succeeded, the underdog organization that created the next "must have" product and the athlete who endured incredible odds and triumphed. These types of stories take on an almost mystical quality, coupled with a dire warning regarding the cost of quitting; what they fail to consider are the potential gains.

I propose there are times in your life where the decision to quit is ultimately a highly strategic and empowering choice – one that can lead you to a myriad of potential gains. These times, although often quite challenging, directly result from self-awareness, inner strength and a commitment to creating the life you want to live. Not quitting, when you know that a situation, job and/or relationship is not working out, is often generated out of fear of change and the unknown and/or a lack of faith and trust in the world and in yourself. Many of my career/organizational development clients struggle with the dilemma of quitting vs. perpetuating the status quo based on the investment construct of “sunk cost.” In their current mindset, they focus on the potential losses inherent in quitting, rather than the potential gains. Over time, they experience the inherent gains in leaving and moving beyond a situation that no longer fit the person they are becoming. Quitting ultimately provides the essential space for new opportunities and challenges more aligned with their passion, skills and values to enter their lives.
Please be assured that I am not advocating quitting each time the going gets rough and you feel extremely challenged, depleted and/or tempted to withdraw from a professional or personal situation. What I am advising is that you utilize these times to step back and evaluate your options from an alternative perspective. Specifically, when you are feeling seduced into quitting, would doing so be in service of your highest values and overall goals? If the answer is yes, then the next step is to work out a viable strategic plan to do so – a plan that both honors you and the relevant situation. If the answer is no, then generating a strategy to move through immediate challenges is key.

Quitting a toxic situation or one that you have outgrown is ultimately an act of courage, strength, wisdom and faith in yourself. Where in your life might the choice to quit serve to move you forward into a life more aligned with your passion and the gifts that you bring into this world?


For related post, check out the following links:

Optimal Performance Fundamentals

Courage Revisited

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