Why it’s ok to quit and how to do it
Have you ever hit a wall, felt like your life was going in the wrong direction or simply not working? The past few months I spent time focusing on myself, my needs and the direction of my life. After overcoming all I have in the past few years, combined with my achievements (I went from homeless single mum to CEO which you can read more about here, here and here), I love my life, but something was missing. I no longer felt I was living the life I wanted, instead, I was living the life expected of me and a lot smaller because of issues in my personal life.
How to know when to quit
Pushing through, looking for the opportunities in obstacles and creating a life you love are what I am all about. Is what you are pushing through for still serving you? Is it still your purpose?
When everything you are doing is draining you and feels like it’s too much, it’s time to reevaluate your choices. Look at your reason why. Why did you start this journey, this goal, business or whatever you are doing? What motivates you? What do you want to see?
If your reason why still resonates with you, look at the other elements of your life to see what the cause of exhaustion or frustration is. Check you are getting enough sleep, the food you eat is fuel instead of junk and if you have proper systems in place to support your goals (more on that below).
The reason why you are doing something generally won’t change, how you do it or if it still aligns with your life might. Once something no longer fits, or doesn’t align and it’s not just the systems you have in place, it is probably time to move on.
My ‘aha moment’ for my reason why
When I was going through my own wanting to quit moment recently, I realised my reason why hadn’t changed. I am still as passionate as ever about ending homelessness plus helping Australians make and save money. My idea of how wasn’t working though and as a result, it drained me.
Doing a strategy session for my site, The Thrifty Issue, we uncovered my core motivation is empowering women through financial independence. It’s why I write about ways to make and save money, why I speak publicly about homelessness and share my story. Under this comes my goal to help Australians get off Centrelink. Knowing this helped me redirect my energy and reach more people in a short period than I had in a long time. This was one piece of the puzzle for me – solidifying my true thy.
How Do You Quit?
How you quit will depend greatly on what you are quitting. Quitting a job is extremely different to quitting a hobby. Work out what it is in your life you want to remove then decide on the best course of action. Some things such as a business can have an exit strategy such as hiring someone to do your job in the business or sell it. Other options such as changing jobs can be done with practical steps including updating your resume and applying for other jobs. Learning to quit or remove toxic people from your life, quit putting everyone else before you and options like that are harder and take more time.
Quitting your job
Who doesn’t dream of quitting their job at some point? Why do you want to – is it the workplace, the culture or the actual work? Defining why you want to quit will help your mindset. Try to go to work with a positive attitude, list out 3 things you love about the place and each time you have to engage with a colleague you don’t like, quickly think of 3 good things about them. This small mental shift can help keep you positive, grateful and improve your work life.
Update your resume, get on LinkedIn to create a great profile (or update yours and let recruiters know you are looking), actively seek out other work and let your networks know you want to switch jobs. Complaining and hating on everything won’t change your life, taking action will.
Next, work towards FIRE – Financial Independence, Retire Early. Decide on the age you want to retire, how much you need, how you can invest, reduce your living expenses and make a plan to make it happen.
Quitting toxic people
At some point in your life, you will cross paths with toxic people. Jim Rohn said “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” which is a belief held by and reiterated by all successful people. Everyone in your life counts and impacts you as a person. If you hang around people who complain all the time, it will bring you down. I’m not saying you can’t volunteer and help those who need it or you should only spend time with super successful people. Be aware who you spend time with will influence who you are as a person.
Just because you live in a certain area or are related to someone, doesn’t mean you need to spend time with them. Toxic people are those who will bring you down, suck you of all your resources, leave you feeling depleted and usually are narcissistic. Read The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck to help with some of this.
Quit living a life you don’t love
Do you constantly say yes to everyone and everything, leaving no time for yourself? Learn to say no. Take time for yourself. Decide what you want in your life then learn the strategies you need to stop doing all the stuff which drains your energy. For some tips on this and getting more time, check out this post.
How do you know what you want?
On holiday in Geelong. Photo by www.travislongmore.com
Sometimes when we think we want to quit everything it is more we lost our way or lost ourselves. So how do you get back on track, know yourself and know what you want?
Know your personality
Do the Myer-Briggs test or 16 Personalities (my preferred one) and learn more about yourself. I paid for the premium option and have read it over, printed it out, highlighted relevant parts and learnt a lot. Anyone who is close to me has not been surprised to learn I am an ENFP or “Campaigner”.
Your personality and these profiles give great insight into why you think the way you do and do the things you do as well as offer advice for relationships, career and your life.
Define your core values
This is something I have done before and each time it is pretty much the same. Family comes first to me, always. Health, integrity, independence and financial stability are all important to me. Read this to work out more about your own core values.
Create a morning routine
The Miracle Morning is a great book about Hal who was officially dead for 6 minutes, changed his life and created an amazing routine.Ok, it is way more than that, but essentially, having the right morning sets up your whole day. I know when I do my proper morning routine I am more productive. My morning routine looks like this:
Get up, brush teeth, drink water, make my bed then exercise and meditate (currently this is yoga and I use YouTube for the sessions).
Read, write in my journal, do my affirmations, have breakfast then get my kids up and ready, walk them to school, listen to a podcast on the way home then once home get stuck into work.
Fix the areas that need fixing
Which areas of your life need help? Do you need to take up exercise and focus on your health? Could you do with a financial overhaul? When is the last time you read a book?
Do a proper evaluation of your life, what is working, what isn’t then look at how you can fix anything you feel needs fixing to maximise your life. For me, I have found health and finances go hand in hand. When I am in control of both, the rest of my life works well. When either one of them slips out of control, the rest of my life struggles.
Set some goals
Are you working on any goals at the moment? If not, why not? I have my 10 steps to success with goals here. One of the things I realised was missing for me in the past few months was lack of direction with my goals. Since getting clear on them again, writing them in permanent marker and redoing my vision board I am achieving more each day and feel fulfilled.
Take it one day at a time
Do not try to tackle everything at once! You will overwhelm yourself and fall in a heap. Pick one thing and focus on strengthening that habit for a good 21 to 30 days first. Add more as you feel you can. Say you want to get healthy and lose weight but the idea of joining the gym and going hard out is too much. Start with 10 squats and 10 pushups or simply walking each day instead of taking the care. Then the following week walk further or add in squats etc. Take baby steps.
While you are doing the actions, read books, blogs and listen to podcasts relevant to what you are trying to achieve to help you stay motivated. Some of my favourite books are here.
What life do you want?
Despite all the quotes out there about not quitting, in my experience, if something is detracting from your life or is no longer the right goal for you, it is ok to quit. Generally, a change of direction is more likely.
Don’t quit things just because they get a little hard. Pushing through, developing resilience and striving for something builds character, but you need to be doing it for the right reasons.
What am I quitting?
I reached a breaking point, listed my sites for sale and was going to be done. After going through the above steps I realised what I need to quit is taking a backseat and being scared. Since I moved to Melbourne I had scaled my life back, I had reduced the volunteer and activism I was involved in heavily in Canberra and I lost myself.
Being in court with my ex-husband over custody (which is still going), I shrunk myself. I was scared about what I was doing online because I didn’t want him to use anything I wrote or did against me in court, even though none of it is bad and it impacted every area of my life. It’s been going on for a while and it isn’t going to end anytime soon.
So right now, I am quitting fear. Being scared has stopped me living the life I want. This year will be a year of new. Trying new things such as a dance class I always wanted to, attending Moomba, doing tourist things here in Melbourne, trying dishes from different countries and saying yes more.
Volunteering, speaking at events, doing consulting and mentoring work I love. Focusing on the things which bring me joy and are missing from my life. I won’t let fear hold me back anymore.
With my site, The Thrifty Issue