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Today’s topic is a deserving one. However, some may wonder what it has to do with career success. After all, winners never quit and quitters never win, right?
I despise that old cliché because it’s flat out wrong in the working world. It creates a stubborn, hardheaded sense of commitment—the kind that inspires people to stay in bad jobs for decades.
Sure, at its heart, this old saying is meant to encourage persistence and discipline, but it often reaches a point of diminishing returns.
Everyone has experienced a time when, regardless of the desire for tenacity, you simply have to stop the bleeding. You have to escape the terrible relationship. You have to quit the job that’s making you miserable, or cut the budget of the project that’s going nowhere, or close the doors on the business that’s proven unprofitable.
Quitting isn’t always a bad thing; often it’s a useful and necessary part of growth.
To quote myself:
We often have to give up on one thing in order to move forward with another. By refusing to give up when things clearly aren’t working or ignoring signals that a natural phase of completion has been reached, one only wastes precious time and energy.
Recommended Reading: Bad Career Advice: Never Give Up
I believe many people are so fearful of uncertainty and change, they’re willing to accept the miserable existence they already know rather than take a risk with something new.
In most cases, the pain of what you know has to become so great that it overrides the fear. Only then are some people willing to make the leap.
Certainly, I don’t want to encourage recklessly quitting your job or making rash decisions. But don’t hold yourself hostage to a situation that just isn’t working for you.
When you release what’s not working, you make room for new opportunities to enter. Your resources are redirected and, as a result, new paths become available.
When Is It Time to Quit?
So how do you know when that “stop the bleeding” point has arrived? Sadly, there’s no easy answer.
When you’re reasonably certain that you won’t have regrets…when you know you’ve given it your best and current circumstances are no longer acceptable… when you know exactly what you have and you know it’s not going to change…quitting is a viable consideration.
Of course, there are other considerations as well. You need a goal and a plan and a strategy.
But freedom comes from the permission you give yourself to release whatever it is that’s not working. Sometimes, that mental shift alone is enough to open your eyes to alternatives and possibilities you couldn’t see when blinded by the narrowing road of commitment.
If you’re currently considering quitting, here are a few additional resources that may help:
And if you’re desperate to quit but it’s just not the right time, read this:
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