It was a surprise this morning to get to the bottom of the computer screen and discover that I had read not only Chris Guillebeau’s entire blog “Ever Feel Like Giving Up? but also most of the ninety-four (that’s right 94!) responses that people followed up with. Apparently, the theme of giving up – or hanging in – is a provoking one for many of us.
For me, “not giving up” sometimes get confused with that chiding voice of coaches past and other well-intentioned adults in my childhood who would warn, “Now, don’t be a quitter.” Their message was certainly meant as a positive, but they never mentioned the alternative route.
Quitting doesn’t necessarily equate with giving up, in fact, sometimes letting go – or walking away is the best course of action a person can choose. Done with awareness and intention, the act of quitting an unhealthy situation is a positive. Such a decision requires faith, focus, strength and, and because fear tends to be present when one “walks away,” courage is essential.
Yesterday, after months of attempting to slowly take off the metaphorical band-aid I’ve been wearing on a dysfunctional job, I went ahead and quickly yanked. (Where do we get the misguided notion that doing “hard stuff” slowly will somehow make it less difficult or less painful?) The relief was instant and measurable.
I had been feeling like “giving up” for a long, long while — in truth, for years. I understand now, that if I ever again have those feelings in such a recurring and ongoing manner about a job, a relationship, or a situation that I’ve given time, energy and care to — I’ll examine the alternative of walking away sooner. I’m certain that in most instances, this process will be a delicate business. It’s natural for us to want to “hang in” there with things we’ve invested ourselves in, and I’m like many other inherently hopeful people: willing to go the distance with anything – or one – that I care for or believe in. Willing even when it’s no longer beneficial, or at negative cost, or simply beyond repair.
Chris and his ninety-four responders were incredibly inspirational. Many of them revealed deeply personal aspects of their struggles around the all too human urge to “give up” when things get hardest – most boring – least rewarding – loneliest – most painful. They also offered some fantastic tools that they have discovered to help them get through the urge and onto the light of morning.
Am I a quitter? No, and rarely will I “give up.” Do I hang in? Yup. (Maybe sometimes longer than necessary) Can I find a balance? Yes, as I learn the art of letting go and walking away toward the positive.