Four Ways to Keep Going When You Feel Like Quitting
“I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” Vincent Van Gogh
4 ways to keep going when you feel like quitting:
#1. Remember people who love you.
People have stood with you through thick and thin. Will you let them down?
People who accomplish great things often do it for others. Olympic athletes talk about people who invested in their journey when they explain grit.
You might feel alone, but you didn’t get where you are on your own.
I’ve invested time, energy, and personal collateral in many people. My heart soars when they work through adversity and discouragement.
#2. Remember people who count on you.
Someone is looking up to you. If you quit, they will be let down.
Who’s counting on you?
#3. Remember people who didn’t quit.
My dad was the toughest man I ever knew.
While I recovered from an accident, I remember looking in the mirror and seeing a bit of him looking back. Frankly, I was surprised at my own grit.
The grit in me lived in my dad first and in his father before him.
Who do you know that kept going when quitting would have been easy?
#4. Forget about perfection.
Perfectionism defeats everyone who isn’t perfect.
Embrace the mess. People are messy. Teams are messy and organizations are messy. Most important, YOU are messy.
Vulnerability is a channel for encouragement. Wearing a mask drains.
Make room for the mess. If you don’t, you’ll end up alone. The real question is, “How can you step into the mess and make things just a bit better?”
Every discouraged leader has drilled down on some problem like a birddog on a duck. How might you lift up your head?
How might leaders keep going when they feel like quitting?
Hope for Discouraged Leaders (Executive Secretary)
22 Powerful Ways to Overcome Discouragement (Leadership Freak)
How to Overcome Discouragement and Live the Life You Were Meant to Live (Andy Andrews)
Thanks, Dan. As a self-identified practicing perfectionist, I appreciate the encouragement to embrace the messy. I want things (projects, people, life) orderly, nicely packaged, neat and tidy. And then I spend a lot of physical, mental and emotional energy trying to get things to that place. As a result, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed and drained. I need to learn to let things be messy sometimes.
Thanks Justin. Your story is important. I’m a selective perfectionist. There are some things I don’t care about. But, perfectionism holds me back. I won’t begin until I think I can do it perfectly. I’ve read, and believe it’s true, that perfectionism can cause procrastination.
I wonder if we might deal with perfectionism by saying we’ll circle back to make improvements at another time. We could get to a point, stop, and then come back another day to make improvements. Perhaps we won’t feel a need to make unnecessary improvements if we put off doing them??
Thank you for this post! May I humbly add a 5th idea; Remember those who did quit, and those who didn’t persevere. I know people who said “someday, I’ll work on that dream”, and that day never came. Imagine yourself at a point where it is too late to pursue whatever it is that you wish to accomplish. If that thought is painful, maybe that will give you the motivation to do something about it today.
Powerful! Thanks for your addition, John. I’ve been motivated by fear. It might not be the noblest motivation but it can be useful.
Dan – Happy New Year. I know what makes me feel the urge to quit is when I am feeling defeated. In that moment, pressing on may not be the right answer. I suggest a tactical “retreat” that allows you to regroup, refocus and renew energy to continue your journey. This temporary retreat can allow you to see a path not yet discerned.
Thanks Andrew. Tactical retreat make sense. Sometimes we need to ease off so we can jump back in later.
Dan, I really appreciated your insightful comment, “Embrace the mess,” which applies to parenting too. 🙂
Thanks Sam. Leadership principles apply to mom and dad. 😁
#4 Resonates. Reading your post today has added clarity I had not seen before. I quit after 1.5 years of “their” mess; I see now how this has become one of my greatest lessons – because of your post Dan. Thank you.
Yes, regroup or retreat would have been the better choice; after 1.5 years of feeling the messy fight alone is not easy, but we are never truly alone, just on different frequencies, maybe.
This has helped me, move on, because until today I have been asking the question of this one particular time… why did I walk away? I Missed opportunity for sure, hindsight.
Happy New Year Dan!
Thanks for your candor and transparency. Sometimes we hurt ourselves when we don’t intend to. Best wishes for the New Year!
#3. Remember people who didn’t quit. This resonates with me. I’ve always looked at the paths of my ancestors who all came to this country and faced more hardship than I have ever had. They all had to work much harder than I. From England in the 1740s to Scotland/Ireland in the 1810s to Sweden in the 1870s to Italy in the 1910s they came, they worked hard, they Loved they lived, my journey is as a result of them all so I can and have faced anything put to me. Couple all that with the immigrant journey of my wife (China), our adopted now adult Children (China), our adopted Son In Law (Xinjiang in China at age 10) my journeys and challenges are nothing. Playing with our first Grandchild (Ethan) this last weekend while in East Texas and his laugh proves to me I have faith, I have commitments, I have those in the past and those in the future to help me through it all.
Thanks for sharing your story. It seems that a sense of history strengthens us.
I think your link to 22 powerful ways also links to Hope for Discouraged Leaders at the end.
Thanks. I fixed it.
I did love this post this morning too 😊
Dan, you very accurately pointed out “Perfectionism defeats everyone who isn’t perfect”.
So, riddle me: why are so, so many organisations wedded to models/doctrines/ethos that run along the lines of “Perfect, first time, every time”? How can so many people set out to fail, and have so many follow them?
Thanks Dan, this is very insightful. Sometimes we need to be clear about the boarder thin line at which we have to decide the path:
– There is a light at the end of the tunnel, so go for it no matter what it will cost.
– Hold, relook your options and adjust your strategy or tactics.
– Stop, it will not work. Seek other targets.
Thank you for this post. It comes at the right time!
Quite encouraging!We can so remember the last move or step we took in the past that made us to succeed when we were about giving up.
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Life is all about making mistakes and learning from it to be better. The mistakes made are life lessons in order to become stronger in life and dealing with personal experience, one can know from right and wrong and what works best for them. Although, everyone’s personal experience and mistakes are different from one another, it is important for those who feel like quitting to understand that everyone is dealing with imperfectionist and there are coping mechanisms for it to reduce stress. I believe for leaders to utilize their emotions and use it as fuel to want to do more and be better. The emotions that are built up can play a huge rule in succeeding in life if you allow it to better impact your leadership skills. The setbacks in your life will allow you to become more motivated and push through to find success. I find it beneficial to write down my goals every day and what I want to accomplish short, medium, and long-term outcomes. It is also important to allow yourself to have a break and come back with a fresh and open mind. To relax, one can read encouraging messages from family and friends for support and to re-iterate that you are able to have an impact on the lives of others. In order to be a sufficient leader, you have to believe in yourself and start practicing on yourself. This starts with making right decisions, practicing personal growth, and being honest with yourself. Leaders, often times have too much on their plate and this is because they are wanting to be a leader of an organization or community because they see someone else doing it or people forcing them. It’s crucial to become a leader of an organization or whatever it is you want to serve, but it has to be something you are passionate about and want to seek change. This way the motivation and drive will impact your work efficiency in wanting to be successful.
Leadership is an ability to lead not only the community but also to yourself the way you lead yourself makes you understand the basic necessities, demands, and the issues within it. The leaders do not need to make their decision by themselves, seeking help from others, and finding a solution without abandoning is normal. When you failed once, it’s not a failure of your abilities to do the right things. Some challenges are not always favorable to deal with it. Doing something that’s both mentally challenging and interesting takes time and effort. Finding a creative way with the passion to handle the situation can come in many forms. Letting yourself into the guilt of the failure will not help, rather try to get rid of the guilt completely, or dwelling on it uselessly, think about whether there’s a cause behind it. With discipline and patient survival through the days, some days are calm, some are hard but if you take action then work gets done as you decided. Staying positive and looking at the problems with all aspects may help to lessen the effect of the failure in leadership. Simplify your thoughts further until getting to the root of the problem, then try to construct a realistic solution. If the problem isn’t immediately solvable, then gather more information until it is. Target the causing factors one by one, rather than tackling it all at once.