Know When To Quit

 Do You Quit or Let go?

iStock_000010511554Small-150x150   Recently, I let go of a group that I had been in for six years. I don’t usually quit so I don’t think of myself as quitting. After all to label oneself as a quitter is a loser label. I just make a decision and move on. I let go. There have been times in my life when I stayed in management positions because I didn’t want others to label me as a quitter so I plowed on in jobs and situations with the belief that “quitting was bad.” When obstacles occurred, I looked on them as signs that I needed to work faster or harder. Not quitting meant I had to be extra creative to overcome obstacles and use more initiative to come up with clever management solutions under pressure. Not quitting is good in most circumstances.

Until it isn’t. Sometimes quitting is exactly the thing you need to do. Sometimes the thing you absolutely need to do is quit. Walk away with your head held high. Move on. Let go. Sometimes the cost of not quitting is just too high a price. As a friend said,”Life is too short to stay in a pit of bad vibes”.  There is also a Zen proverb that I like.

“Let Go or Be Dragged”

 – Zen Proverb

Letting Go empowers more than Quitting. Consciously, it is releasing the hold something has on you  that no longer works and realizing that continuing on the same path is actually pulling you to an unwanted place.   Examples are: letting go of a job you hate that’s driving you to depression because it is a living nightmare , and letting go of a relationship with people who are sucking you dry with sniping and behind the back remarks. Also, it’s realizing that a work in progress isn’t going anywhere and needs shelving until another day when a spark of creativity returns.

How do you know when to Let Go? How do you know you’re just not Quitting.

Letting Go: walking away from a situation or job which no longer works for you or has a high cost physically, emotionally or spiritually.

Quitting: walking away from something that works for you but seems too hard or too much effort. Something may work physically, emotionally or spiritually but you may lack the necessary motivation to get through a difficult spot.

How do you decide? It’s about using the skill of judgement. You  must decide the difference between knowing when you have a crisis in motivation to overcome an obstacle or continuing to pour effort into something that causes you to question a path you’re on. When you stop and contemplate the situation, you will realize which it is.

Letting Go is not Quitting. It’s a mindful decision to let go of a situation that is no longer the right choice, in order that you can pour your energy and time into another project that is.iStock_000011733360Small-e1331227552531

Is there something you want to quit or let go? 


16 thoughts on “Know When To Quit

  1. I’ve never thought of things in just this manner. So I’ve let go of a job which was causing me sleepless nights, let go of smoking which was causing a cough, and quit a relationship when cheating on me entered the picture. Right?


  2. Agree, but if you divorce a person, that means you quit if there are too many obstacles to overcome and you’re full of feelings that affect you physically, mentally, spiritually as well as monetarily. You may “quit the marriage”, but not let go of the feelings for a very long time.So my example of both quit and let go.


    • You’re right, of course. I’ve never been divorced, but sometimes in a marriage there are obstacles to overcome and you either work through them or quit. Thanks for your illuminating comment.



  3. Ruby, it sounds like you made the right decision for yourself. I love your viewpoint on letting go! I stayed in one particular job for way to long a few years back. Letting go and quitting was the most freeing thing I’ve ever done!


    • Yes, letting go was the right thing for me. In the past, I stayed in jobs until I was burned out. Then it took weeks to begin feeling normal again. Didn’t want that feeling again. Thanks so much for your comment.


  4. Brilliant, Ruby. I let go of a job that was eating my life. There were good things about it, but I couldn’t give any more to it. It’s been years now, and there’s still some residual stress. Thanks for such a though-provoking post.


    • Marsha:
      I’ve had jobs that I knew within a week weren’t right for me. Unfriendly and jealous co-workers, demanding physicians, bosses who didn’t follow through with salary promises made in the interview were just a few on one job. I began looking for another position right away. I couldn’t believe I’d been sucked in and lied to by the Chief Anesthesiologist. Thanks for commenting.


  5. Ruby, it’s only healthy to walk away from harmful situations when we can. Same goes with friends who drags us down with negativity. It’s a tough call, but can be detrimental to health to stay. I didn’t realize how harmful my last day job was until I left and realized how much different I felt.


    • Caroline:
      You’re right about negativity. Have you ever worked in a place and really felt good when you went into work. Then after two or three people asked if you were feeling bad, you really began to feel sick. I’ve seen it happen a few times. Thanks for commenting.


  6. Wow, this is such a timely post for me. I just returned from a meeting of a business organization in which I am an officer (VP). It’s a valuable organization, but no longer serves my evolving needs. I find myself weighing whether to continue to be involved once my term is over. I would miss some of the people, but I feel my career has advanced past the need for this organization and I feel I have more than “paid it forward”. I would miss the social portion of membership, but I’m not sure that is enough anymore to justify the time and energy I invest. Of course I won’t step away now because I still have 6 months in office and I don’t quit mid-responsibility. But I am seriously considering letting go after my term in office is complete.

    Great topic.


    • Regina:
      So glad my post helped. It’s amazing the freedom you feel when you don’t come away from a meeting wondering what you’re still doing in the group. The group will survive and so will you with a renewal of energy for something else.


  7. Ruby, I know exactly what you mean. I have always had a hard time letting go of people, groups, situations that have become too much for me to handle. In fact, I belong to a charitable group now that I believe in and where I’ve made good friends, but the demands on my time — writing time — is getting to me. I’m afraid I may have to walk away. That would make me sad but it would also be a relief.


  8. You’d be suprised how much relief you feel in the long run. Time demands can be difficult. I’ve been in work situations where I couldn’t let go of the problems when I left for the day. When it started interfering with homelife, sleep etc., I made the decision to look for something a bit less stressful. I couldn’t believe how much better I felt. Thanks for sharing your experience.


  9. Ruby,
    I probably stayed in a job longer than I should. I still feel as if I failed and still let that bother me. As Ruby says, it’s time to let it go. I feel much better working at a job I know I can handle well. And besides, less hours give me time to write.
    Carolyn Rae Williamson


    • Carolyn: Never feel as if you failed. Maybe the job didn’t go the way you wanted it to, but you didn’t fail. You might have felt like you’d run the Cowtown Marathon when you let the job go. Now it’s time to let the residual feelings go and that’s the hard part when you invested so much of yourself into something. Thanks for commenting.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s