I’ve always thought of mental toughness as a trait that kept people going through the ups and downs of life, and grit as that thing whispering in your ear to follow your goals through to the very end.
Never give up. Don’t be a quitter. That’s what my parents taught me. And I’m extremely thankful for that lesson. I have received so many blessings in my life and reached unbelievable goals because I learned not to give up.
But sometimes I wonder if that never give up mentality can also be a curse. Aren’t there times when you should throw in the towel? When it’s time to take a look at a goal and say, “hey, this just isn’t right anymore.”
I had to do that recently, and it felt so—weird. And wrong. I felt like a failure. But then I sat with it for a couple of days and a funny thing happened. I began to feel lighter. New ideas began to flow, and I felt free.
It was hard to process at first, but I realized that there is a time for giving up. For crawling out from under that which is no longer feeding your soul and moving in a new direction.
How do you know when to give up?
- When you realize you are doing something for the wrong reasons. One of the biggest reasons we keep doing things that don’t serve us or move us forward is because it’s the way we have always done it. We forget our ability to be creative and flexible and to look for new ways to reach our goals. Instead, we go on autopilot and keep plugging away, or banging our head against the wall to do something that might not be the right thing after all.
- When you are doing it simply to please someone else. As we grow up, we become accustomed to listening to our parents and sometimes that means working toward goals that they have chosen or think are good for us. That might mean doing an activity or picking a major that may not speak to our personal goals and passions, instead it may be an opportunity for a parent to live vicariously through us or their desire to set us down a path that seems like it will produce the greatest amount of success. But as adults, we need to break away from those things we think we need to do and go where intuition leads us. It might not be the path of greatest wealth or a high profile career, but it might simply be the thing that brings us happiness. After all, aren’t we all looking for the things that bring us the greatest happiness in our lives?
- When we are simply playing it safe. This was a big eye opener to me recently. I was holding on to something because letting go of it felt like I was losing my safety net. I realized that to move on would be a risk. And it felt scary. But I know in my life that the biggest risks have often led to the biggest rewards, and I made the conscious decision that it was time to take a leap. I’m going to have to leave the nest to truly fly, but once I made that decision, it didn’t seem as scary as before. Of course it will require planning and building an extended support system of advisors and help, but I can see how putting aside and quitting my old ways will take me to the next level.
As we wind up the year, it’s time to start thinking about quitting. Quitting the things that aren’t helping us anymore and discovering the things that will take us to the next level, whether in your professional or personal lives. What needs to be cleared out to make room for the new? What can you change that will help you to grow in new ways? Only you can decide, but for this moment, don’t look at quitting as a failure. See it as an opportunity to go down a fresh path.
Take a minute to think about the things that are not serving you or that are keeping you stuck. Then think about how you can create new strategies to reach old goals or create new goals altogether. Give yourself a chance to ditch the weight and soar into the New Year.