I’ve been there, multiple times. We all have. You feel overwhelmed, burned out, defeated. You feel like you have given it your all and things just aren’t working out. You feel you’ve made a mess of things, desperate, like everything is out of your control and there seems to be no way out but one — give up.
I believe I know why the feeling of wanting to give up emerges. At our lowest point it wells up from deep down inside, a desire for whatever it is to just end, for it to be over. So, you won’t have to think about it or deal with it any further.
It is a very uncomfortable, low energy place to be. No one would want to stay there willingly. Although, the easiest option may be to give up, it is rarely the best option.
I believe when we feel forced to consider quitting, life is trying to teach us some things we need to know. As long as we are in control of our own thoughts and behavior, there will always be other and better options.
Here are 9 things you should know or do when you feel most like giving up.
1.) Get back to why. If you know the ‘big why’ for what it is you are doing and those reasons haven’t changed, then is there any reason to quit? Look hard at the big picture.
Did you get side tracked or distracted? Are you focused? Is every decision being made one which will get you closer to your goal(s)? Answering these questions can reenergize your drive and strengthen your resolve.
2.) Don’t accept where you are now as permanent. Nothing, no situation, ever stays the same. Circumstances will change. What seems impossible today will look differently tomorrow. Let time be your ally here.
You can not control every outcome or other people, but you are in control of you. Nothing is permanent and neither are you. You can change, adjust, adapt, reframe, correct, modulate, reconstruct and remodel. When you do, circumstances and the people you interact with will change too.
3.) If you can’t roar, whisper. If you don’t have the energy or courage to roar like a lion then whisper instead. Whisper thoughts like, “Tomorrow is another day. I know I’m not alone. I will try again.”
When you achieve your goals and obtain success, those whispers will be no less important than the roars.
4.) Reach out to friends or experts. We will all need help on our journey. Do not struggle in silence. Whether you reach out to friends for moral support or seek the advice of paid experts. Ask for help if you find yourself stuck or in a quandary.
I can’t tell you how many times I have discovered solutions to problems just by describing them out loud to another person. Sometimes the other person will offer needed insight.
Whatever the problem may be, someone somewhere has already faced it and discovered a solution. Hire the expertise if you need it. It can make all the difference.
5.) Take a break. Sometimes we labor away so hard for so long we get much to close to our problems to see the solutions. Entrepreneurs are especially guilty of “all work and no play” scenarios.
It is important to keep perspective. Remind yourself periodically why you are working so hard by taking time to play, have fun and enjoy the richness life has to offer. This is battery recharging and attitude readjustment time.
6.) Look only to the next necessary step. Multiple problems or distant goals can seem insurmountable when viewed all at once. Break these down into manageable steps.
There is just one step to quitting. It is a step of finality. All journeys end with quit.
Instead of quitting ask yourself, is there one small step I can take or do right now? Do that step and move on to another and then another.
7.) A course correction isn’t quitting. Big wins are constructed of huge mistakes and a series of small successes. You will fail, multiple times, on your way to achieving greatness. It is all part of the process.
Sure, a string of failures may signal a course correction is needed. It also means you are ever closer to your next win or series of wins. Reshuffle or stand pat, just stay in the game.
8.) It has been this way before. When I face a new struggle, encounter adversity or even run a half marathon, I forget how downright painfully difficult such times were before. It is a kind of “process amnesia” which prevents us from placing barriers onto our own pathways based on past experience.
This is a good thing. Just know your present pain will be forgotten or tempered with time. It has been this way before and it will be this way again. Hold out for the in-betweens which are awesome! This is what being resilient is all about.
9.) Know it will be better on the other side. Most of the time, people emerge better off on the other side of challenge, tragedy or adversity. As long as they don’t choose to get stuck there.
Throughout our lives, each of us are given problems and challenges to overcome. Their shadows will linger until they have taught us what we need to know. If we continue to hold on to past events it is because there were lessons we needed to learn but haven’t.
Just knowing whatever you are going through right now has the potential to make you better off in the end should give you comfort. Stay vigilant and look for life’s lessons. Learn as much as you can from them.
Working these steps will help keep you going when all you want to do is quit. I don’t think you were designed to quit. I don’t think you are destined to quit. Forward will always be your best direction.
Do you feel like giving up? Quitting? Have you felt this way before. What did you do about it?
Previously published on clarkgaither.com
Photo: Getty Images