At the age of 25, my career accelerated when I was promoted from an engineer to a manager within a growing I.T. company. At the time, I was the youngest manager in the firm steering a diverse team of engineers. It was my dream job to lead a team of professionals using my passion and knowledge for coding in order to add value and achieve big things. It took four years of hard work to end up getting promoted to the top where I continued to produce bigger and better projects in new and exciting directions. I was living my dream.
Yet two years later I quit my job.
Everyone around me couldn’t understand why after all my hard work and dedication. I was going places on a fast track to bigger and bigger success. But I decided to quit despite all this and a while later, I found Lifehack.
The True Courage Behind Quitting
Quitting isn’t all about giving up when it feels like you’re failing. Quitting in the face of potential success is one of the most courageous things you can do.
We grow up being taught that what isn’t broken needn’t be fixed. This shapes our belief that you should never quit while you’re ahead and it comes out of fear of the unknown. Quitting your job, for example, could negatively impact your career and spill into your personal life and finances. And because of this, we choose to stay safe, living in our comfort zones despite it not making us truly happy or fulfilled.
However, while the idea of staying in our comfort zones feels generally warm and safe, we’re really just staying for the sake of not changing. While we do this, we’re not fully considering opportunities to grow and improve ourselves which is a big factor in creating our personal happiness.
Leonard Schlesinger, president of Babson College and coauthor of the book Just Start: Take Action, Embrace Uncertainty, Create the Future sums this up by saying,
I find a lot of people paralysed by their unhappiness with their current reality.
It’s this paralysis that stops us from taking that leap of faith into the unknown and keeps us stuck in the same job despite it feeling mundane or easy. Daniel Gulati, tech entrepreneur and coauthor of Passion & Purpose: Stories from the Best and Brightest Young Business Leader, believes
most people stay too long in bad jobs because the corporate world is geared towards keeping us in roles, not matching individuals up with their ideal roles.
In other words, we’re simply not growing and not creating situations where we will thrive and move forward.
The Real Reason You Feel Stuck
If you feel like you’re stuck in life, the chances are it’s because you’re choosing to resist quitting what isn’t working for you and ultimately not preparing for the change quitting would bring.
You may believe your main reason for not leaving a job or any unhappy life situation is because you haven’t figured out what it is you really want. However, this kind of thinking is flawed. You won’t learn or discover your ideal career, for example, by sitting around thinking about it. If your current situation is making you unhappy, it’s important to find that inner courage to look for something else.
It’s only in this kind of action and headspace that the true breakthroughs will happen. People who do the same job day in, day out but not ever finding real meaning in what they do, will never be the people who flourish and succeed no matter how hard and persistent they work.
The Magic of Quitting and the Growth it Brings
The idea of quitting is instilled in our minds as a negative thing. Quitting is negative when used as a way to flee away from challenges and responsibilities. But in some cases quitting is a necessary path to success. It’s all down to embracement rather than fear. Successful people quit to win and embrace new challenges – not because they fear change.
Sometimes, quitting is exactly what you need to do in order to find what’s best for you – something you may never find doing the same things every day: “If you don’t know what to be gritty at yet, you need to try lots of things – knowing you’ll quit most of them – to find the answer” (Barking up the Wrong Tree by Erick Barker). In other words, don’t fear quitting as a failure, just see it as another step closer to finding your purpose.
And the true magic of quitting without fully seeing the next step is urgency. We all know that feeling of urgency that brings about uncomfortable fear but it’s this sense of urgency that creates the space to find the next thing that really matters to you. That path that’s really worth your investment, passion and time. That path that you’d never find staying in your comfort zone.
Change Your Mindset on Quitting
The main idea to take away here is quitting for growth not quitting to flee from challenges. Make quitting meaningful by asking yourself these questions in order to fully know your reasons for quitting:
- What makes you happy?
- What can’t you stop talking about?
- What makes you think that it’s worth suffering for?
- What are you really good at doing?
- If you knew you could not fail, what would you do?
- What would you do for free because you love it so much?
- If you had 12 months to live, would you still be doing what you’re doing now?
We all know deep down, what makes us happy and what doesn’t. We don’t always have the courage to change because fear and worry takes over. But to truly live a happy life, quitting something that’s no longer serving you or allowing you to grow should be viewed as a necessity rather than choice. Don’t view quitting as a negative, see it as a chance to win at life and boost your value to the world.