Is it Ever the Right Time?

“Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

~ Seth Godin

Here’s a $64,000 question: How do you know it is time to quit? Have you ever reached a point where something isn’t working, frustration is mounting, and you’re wondering if it is time to quit? Typically, this point is reached after repeated moments of indecision and internal conversations.

The times you have thought about quitting is probably greater than the total number of your fingers and toes combined. And what most often causes us to pause when making a good decision about quitting – is feeling guilty and thinking we will let ourselves or others down. This comes from believing that if something isn’t working, it is because you have not put in the effort, time, or energy for it to work. While this may have contributed to reaching this decision, there are other aspects of the situation more important to making a decision now. These aspects can be brought into focus by answering four questions:

  1. What would have to change in the situation for me to continue and succeed?
  2. What information, skills, experience, and resources would I need to continue my efforts and be successful?
  3. Is there another direction, task or situation that would better match my current goals, skills, and interests? What is it?
  4. What are the benefits of continuing on and what will be the costs? Possible costs include time, energy, money, emotions, relationships, and future opportunities.

Answer these four questions truthfully and you will know if it is time to quit or refocus your efforts. Consider writing out the questions and your answers to allow your mind more clarity. Then, read your answers and consider your possible actions.

Often people quit when they are emotional, especially angry and frustrated. Instead, using these questions creates a more logical and reasonable decision-making process about quitting that can get good results for you and everyone involved.

Try it. You might like it!

37 thoughts on “Is it Ever the Right Time?

  1. Thank you for this, Eric. I quit my job back in March, and keep worrying about whether I should’ve. Your posting has (I think) convinced me that I made the right decision. I have, nonetheless, felt guilty about it, as I’m no longer the bread winner! Although have alternative sources of income. Know of any spare jobs?!

    • You did, Bruce. It is what it is, now. Worrying serves no constructive purpose and guilt will linger with a death grip unless we choose to move forward. As for jobs, you’re an extraordinary writer. Screenplays? Ghost writing? Teach writing in an academic setting? What do you *want* to do?

  2. I am a habitual clinger. I definitely feel that giving up on people or jobs is a direct reflection of myself, even when I know I have gone beyond the call of duty. I suppose I have gotten better in recent years, but there is that tendency to find every possible reason not to quit.

  3. I’m big on “letting go” of things that are no longer working for me, after appropriate evaluation and introspection.

    I’ve been accused of “running away” from “my responsibilities.” I don’t see it that way ~ I see it as freeing up resources to “move toward” something that’s a better fit for who and where I am in life at the time.

  4. I have spent many years waiting for the right time to quit something that did not let me heart sing. It is the self-judgment before, during, and after the decision to leave that I still wrestle with. I wondered if I have commitment issues, but lately i see that I am very committed to what keeps me healthy, whole, and fulfilled.

    BTW, I like the new header, really striking!

    • Bravo on seeing matters more clearly now, Linda. After all, what good did the previous self-judgement do? Wrestling with matters for protracted periods can be both stressful and draining. I sense you are moving forward, with new found strength. If this is the case, walk tall. 🙂

    • anmol, thanks for stopping by and commenting. If you reframed your comment to state: “I will think more rationally from now on” (eliminating the word “try”), would that change your perspective and commitment?

  5. Pingback: O nouă zi… | 9

  6. I’ve actually had an experience with this one! Yay me! LOL.
    For me the time to really quit happened when Life (and my Body) decided to send the brick wall crashing down…it came to a point of doing something that I could not, not do.
    Then there is this time when I wondered if I put myself into trouble with doing this month’s blogging a post a day…but I stuck it out, of course I learned to creatively ease the pressure and stuff, but I didn’t quit. I’m glad I didn’t!

  7. Part of the message was/is, it’s okay to quit. So often we feel (our own and others’) pressures to persevere or stay the course. When it feel likes it’s getting to be heavy or an outright burden, it’s okay (and likely wise) to call it quits. This doesn’t seem to be the case with your current, short-term goal. 🙂

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