As the end of the year approaches, I find my feed and inbox flooding with wonderful optimism for the new year. There’s an abundance of great tips and articles on planning and how to be successful in the upcoming year. But with everyone so ready for change in the new year, there’s a dark side that emerges: the pressure to quit.
It is crushing to see colleagues of mine quit right before things take off. But it happens. They did everything right. The work was difficult, but they put their best efforts into doing a great job. Then they quit. If only they had hung in a little bit longer. All of their hard work would have paid off. Instead, someone else reaped the rewards after they chose to leave.
“When things are hard, quit quitting and show up fully.” -- Unknown
How many people miss living up to their true potential by quitting?
How many were close to a breakthrough when they decided to give up?
Whether it’s a challenging relationship, a difficult business season, or boredom at work, the answer isn’t always giving up. Walking away from a problem is rarely a solution and, in my experience, you might find yourself in a new place with the same problems. A change of environment or circumstances doesn’t always fix things. We all reach a crossroads at some point — a moment where you can choose to move forward and keep pushing or throw in the towel and move on.
Here are some ways to find motivation when you need to push forward:
Find your why.
What’s your motivation? What’s your goal? Identify what motivates you and keep it in the forefront of your mind. A vision board is a great way to visualize your goals or consider keeping a journal and listing reasons why you should keep going. Be clear about what you want to do, then give it the necessary time and effort.
Re-energize and find inspiration.
I love reading motivational books and articles. I also love good quotes like these:
"Creating a life I don't need a vacation from, that's the goal." - Unknown "Success is the sum of small efforts - repeated day in and day out." -- Robert Collier “If you aim at nothing, you will hit nothing.” -- Unknown
Not only do they resonate with me personally, but they’re specific to my work and interests: goals, planning, work-life balance. Try finding some quotes that speak to your specific situation, copying them down, and putting them where you’ll see them. We all need reminders.
Don’t take it personally.
Many times we want to give up when we get our feelings hurt. Leave your ego at the door. Sometimes it’s not about you at all. Maybe you have the habit of taking things personally when it’s just business. Don’t harbor resentment. Let it go and leave the things that don’t serve you behind so you can move forward.
Stop waiting for perfection.
One way to set yourself up for disappointment is to set an unattainable goal. It’s not going to be easy. Work will never be perfect. The people you work with will never be perfect. Save yourself some trouble and time: let go of the idea of perfection. It’s never going to be perfect, but if you keep going, at least you’re getting somewhere — you’re making progress toward achieving something.
Drop the bad habits.
I know I am guilty of falling into some bad habits that don’t serve me or push me towards success. Procrastination, negativity, or even something as simple as skipping lunch — identify the habits and patterns that aren’t working for you. What’s working? What isn’t? Don’t keep repeating and engaging in activities that don’t move you towards success. Build reflection into your regular routine to catch bad habits before they completely derail you from your path to success.
It’s easy to get sucked into problems and point fingers.
“My manager isn’t listening to me.”
“The support team isn’t doing their job correctly.”
“Our technology is too outdated.”
Work complaints are nothing new. We all do it. I do, however, see a problem when I look around and find that some people succeed and some don’t despite working for the same organization under the same circumstances. Go back to, stop waiting for perfection. If things were perfect, everyone would experience easy success.
In the short term, blaming others helps us through our frustration. It’s just not helpful in the long term or in our pursuit of success. If anything, it gets in our way and magnifies the pressure to quit.
Try to accept the problem and take responsibility. Be brave and take control of the situation. You’ve identified the obstacle, now how will you overcome it? Will you complain through it? Or will you work around it? You’re creative and resourceful. You can take control and find a way forward.
Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with quitting, especially if it’s part of a bigger plan you’ve created for yourself. But before you completely give up, make sure it’s the right decision. Is there a way forward? Give it your all, and don’t give up too soon. You have the power to push forward. You’ll never know how close you were until you’re finally there.