Sometimes quitting is the right thing to do

You feel paralyzed.

You know what you want. You know how to get it.  But you’re just not doing it.

  • You want to leave your nonprofit job and sell your art full-time, but you haven’t painted in over three months.
  • You want to teach yoga to kids in under-resourced schools but you’re up watching Empire instead of writing the grant application that’s due tomorrow.
  • You want to build a side hustle as a social media strategist but you’re flipping through your friends feeds instead of writing content for your own account.

What’s going on?

You’re probably mad at yourself and secretly think there’s something wrong with you, right?

Well! You’re not alone. You’re in what Seth Godin calls “The Dip”.

The Dip is when you feel like giving up on doing your dream work. Godin developed this idea to describe a phase of business development. I’ve found that it applies to the work of bring your dreams to life too.

When you’re in The Dip it can feel like your dream is impossible.  You’re lost and limping in the dark. You wonder: should I just get practical and focus on getting a 9-5 instead?

The Dip is actually a good thing.

(Whatchu talkin ‘bout Ije?)

The Dip forces you to make a choice: is it time to quit or time to hang on? Answering this question gets you to where want to go faster. You’ll either stop wasting time on a project that isn’t what you really want anymore. Or...realize how much you DO want it and stick through the rough patch of disappointment.

This choice renews your commitment and focus.

And that feels good.

This process made me a quitter.

Before I started working with women to make their dreams a reality, I worked as a parenting coach. I really enjoyed helping parents feel more connected to their kids. At first, clients flowed into my practice through referrals and social media.

After a few months, it became harder to fill my programs. Instead of working on new blog posts, I watched whole seasons of new shows on Netflix. I felt discouraged about my business and considered giving up on self-employment for good and getting a full-time job.

My parenting practice was in a Dip. When I ran through the five steps I’m going to share with you, I realized that it was time for me to quit my parent coaching work and do the work I was feeling called to do: helping women give birth to their Real Work.

5 steps to help you decide whether it’s time to quit your dream project or ride out the discomfort you’re feeling:

  1. Recognize you’re in The Dip. Acknowledge that it’s part of the process of doing the work you were brought here to do.
  2. Make your DON’T WANT list: write out all the things in your life that you don’t want to be happening and all the ways you’re feeling that you wish you weren’t.
  3. Then make your WANT list: write out what you wish were happening instead. And how you want to feel instead.
  4. Then look at your WANT list and ask yourself what will bring you closer to getting what you want: quitting your dream project or sticking it out?
  5. Then choose!

So what do you choose?