You go round in circles and second guess your decisions. You look in fear at what might happen if you quit. You decide that “sticking it out” a while longer is the best thing to do, or you hold back from making a decision at all (which, as you well know, is also a decision).
In other words, it’s easy to lose confidence in your decisions and your judgement, and the ensuing confusion is enough to befuddle even the smartest of bears.
So here are a handful of thoughts on how you can keep your head, think confidently and quit like a pro.
1. Go Before The Damage is Done
Waiting until you’re hurting is waiting too late, the damage has already been done. There’s a simple equation here – if you can’t afford (on a personal, emotional level) the cost of staying, get out. Where a job or relationship is at the point where it’s costing you your self-esteem, self-confidence and self-worth there’s only one way things will go if you stay put.
Of course, this kind of damage tends to happen gently and almost imperceptibly over a period of time, and this erosion of self is the worst kind of death. Slow, uninterrupted, heart-breakingly sad and totally unnecessary.
You might not notice the change in how you feel and how you think, but you sure as hell notice that you’re not having a good time. The longer you put up with it the more damage it does to your confidence, so the trick is to remember that the circumstance you find yourself in doesn’t determine your choices and your behaviour – you can always make a choice.
Don’t wait for a crisis point, you’re worth so much more than that.
2. Don’t Deceive Yourself
Pretending that everything’s peachy when it’s oh so wrong is freakishly commonplace. You hear you telling yourself what you need to do, but you keep your head down and tell yourself to just hang on a bit longer, things might change.
Sure, things might change. Oprah might become Queen of Denmark and butter might become the new penicillin.
Don’t kid yourself; listen to what you’re really saying instead. The things that matter to you matter for a reason – they’re the things will bring you a great life. Ignore what matters or turn away from the stuff that means something and you’re kidding nobody else but you.
So if quitting gives you the opportunity to go towards what matters, you gotta listen. Deal?
3. Calculate Collateral Damage
It’s not all about you (sorry to break it to you). Throw a pebble into a still pond and what do you get? Ripples. And potentially wet feet.
Leave a job under a cloud or leave in the wrong way and it might damage your reputation. Leave on bad terms and it may damage a current relationship or a future one. Leave too rashly and it may damage your finances.
So it’s worthwhile to consider the effect of the ripples that spread from your decision to quit (and the manner in which you quit), and any potential damage that might be either a. irreversible or b. in conflict with your values.
If the collateral damage will be irreversible, is that a price you’re willing to pay or is it just too important to you? If it’s reversible, what damage limitation measures can you implement and what are you willing to do to reverse it?
More importantly, if the ripples of quitting directly causes something to happen that flies in the face of your personal values (the things that mean the most to you) then you’re gonna find it very, very hard to live with yourself.
Consider the cost of collateral damage, but – and this might be somewhat controversial – this should always be secondary to points 1 and 2.
Quitting Isn’t Wrong
Sometimes quitting is the best thing you can do, for you and for everyone else. There’s a dangerous idea out there that quitting is what losers do, but I think that’s deeply, deeply flawed. Quitting is often the boldest, most courageous, most lip-smackingly brilliant move you can make.
So how about you? Have you struggled with quitting? What have you just quit, or what would you love to quit?