I recently found myself in the Quit Zone again, that patch of a project, a friendship, maybe a job – and for some people, even life itself – where the desire to quit is very strong. Or maybe very VERY strong.
I’ve been in the Quit Zone many times, and the decision I made each time changed my life. Every Quit Zone decision does. As I look back on decades of decisions, most of them were just fine, the normal decisions we make in choosing our way forward. I work on the theory that in general, given time, one choice tends to emerge as the favourite ‘obvious’ one, so I go for it. Or not, as the case may be! When it is not so clear, either choice will be fine – I just need to make one.
But more serious Quit Zone decisions are different. The stakes are higher. They usually involve your career, your health, your financial security, and those you really love, and draw out the need to address high value character traits – courage, resilience, boldness, emotional strength.
I want to quit when:
- I’m facing abuse, rejection or deliberately being ignored.
- It seems the only way out of a perceived trap.
- I want to revert to being a little boy, not a man.
- I have run out of energy and am very tired.
- The next ‘step’ is actually a massive leap with seemingly huge consequences.
- Self pity kicks in.
- I stop caring.
Although quitting is undoubtedly the wisest decision sometimes, quitting brings its own set of new problems that have to be faced and overcome.
Revelation – you can be better without being bitter
In the apocalyptic end-of-the-world vision called the Book of Revelation – the writer, banished to work in the mines of a small Greek island as punishment for sticking with his religious beliefs, writes to a little community in Laodicea on the mainland. He describes his vision of God saying to these people in effect:
“You don’t have what it takes right now.
I’m knocking on your door. Open the door to my help.
I will strengthen you, toughen you up so that you can overcome the challenges you face.
It will be a bit of a furnace, but you’ll come through it richer, more refined, without the shame you currently feel, and victorious.”
Note that the reward is for those who overcome, not to those who have no battle, nor those who have backed away from the fire, nor those who have never experienced the Quit Zone. Tough times can make the man and woman however young or old they are.
Tough people press through the challenge and reemerge on the other side ‘better, not bitter’.
If you’re in the Quit Zone today, decide what you want, act towards it, see what happens, and adjust. It may turn out differently from what you fear.
It has for me.