Thoughtfully Quitting with Courage
Two weeks ago, we asked our community to share their stories about quitting with intention.
We were instantly moved and inspired by your personal stories of quitting the very thing that is preventing you from creating a space for more positive ways to contribute to the world.
Here is one of your stories…
By: M. E. Beattie
Every story about someone who thoughtfully quits something that is no longer serving them, whether it’s a job, a relationship, a friendship, a hobby, or a lifestyle, is acting with intense courage. Quitting with intention is focusing on what’s next instead of what’s holding you back. In other words, seeing beyond the fear. It’s about the future. It’s about starting something new or different.
I know this because I did it. I quit so I could start moving toward the life I wanted. I was a founding member of a young and promising startup that I was head over heels for. It embodied my personal ambitions and hopes for the world and I naively tied a big part of my identity to it. It was my future.
Over time, the business changed. Over time I changed. Eventually my attachment to this company felt like quicksand, and I was stuck in an unhealthy and unfulfilling situation. I had to detach myself. I had to let it go.
Quitting the job was like pulling the screaming kettle off of the flame. But mustering the courage to finally quit and walk away was really about finding the courage to start anew. Impeding this discovery, were my paralyzing fears of change and the unknown. If I had let the fears run wild they could have forced me into maintaining the status quo. I created a tolerable, more balanced relationship with my fears by developing a carefully considered plan for how to quit and move on. This plan was my life preserver. Whenever my fears were getting out of control I would quiet their voices by reviewing the plan.
Ultimately, staying would have meant holding on for dear life, but quitting, well, quitting was terrifyingly freeing. No one really prepares you to embrace freedom in life. In a world of structure and boundaries, where the day to day is teeming with social, cultural, and economic expectations, freedom feels eery and uncomfortable. Once free, the pressure is on you. There are no excuses or expectations for you to hide behind.
In my fantasies of quitting, this idea of freedom practically glowed neon. But life in the freedom lane has its challenges. For me, this freedom has felt lonely and unnerving at times, so post-quitting life has been a journey. My days are not always exploding with rainbows and sunshine; it has been a struggle. But it has been a fantastic and rewarding struggle!
Quitting allowed me to hold up the proverbial mirror and take a good look at the person, the energy, and the dreams in the reflection. Quitting wasn’t about what I was letting go; it was about the future.
I didn’t really quit. I simply started.