Quitting Stuff

large_4303497359I have been sticking with a monthly meeting for a long time.  I got involved with the organization because I liked the purpose.  I believed in the mission as it was presented. When the opportunity has presented itself, I have worked to spread the message.  When there has been a call to have bodies at an event to forward the cause, I have shown up.

Last week, it became clear to me that this was not a place I wanted to invest my time.  I sincerely hope for some realization of the very good initial reasons for the meetings.   But, I have a life here, and I am intentionally living it.  An hour-and-a-half, every four weeks is not something I am willing to waste.

I realized that I had come to view that meeting as a waste of my time.  It was time to quit.

Dave has been sticking with a project for about the same amount of time (not quite 2 years).  It is a great project in theory.  Others have participated in it, others are positive about it.  But, the reality is that Dave and I have invested significantly in determining the validity of the idea and it has become clear that it is not, practically, a viable project.

After much soul-searching and account-balancing and experience-rehashing, it was clear to Dave.  It was time to quit.

Dave and I are not people who commit to projects or organizations randomly.  We are pretty intentional, purposeful people.  In fact, we are committed to being more intentional and purposeful as we are aware of the passing of time in our third-third.  When we commit, we are committed.  It is a strength that we share and that we encourage in one another.

I often tell my coaching clients that “our strengths in excess are what get us in trouble.”  In this strength, one of loyalty, I suppose, the excess can make us tend to stick too long.  To not consider quitting an option.  To think that staying is the value.  We certainly have stayed too long several times in our lives.

Since December, 2007, when we read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip, we have been learning to be more discerning about what we stick with.  Trying things, investing time and energy and money, taking risks, is how we live.  But, being smart about days and hours and minutes is causing us to be willing to quit.

We both were a little bit amazed at how good we felt about our decisions to quit last week.  We each communicated honorably in our exits.  We took a bit of time to reflect together on how we had benefited, what we had learned.  Then, we were free.  At least of those two commitments.

Quitting can be really, really good.




photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jilliancorinne/4303497359/ 

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  1. “Loyalty in excess can make us tend to stick too long.” Very well said, Debbie! Too much “sticking” can create “stagnation” for the organization (in my unqualified opinion). But thank goodness for those loyal and dedicated people (in most scenarios)!

  2. I find that it’s the relationships with people that make quitting difficult sometimes.

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