It’s easier than you think to quit before you start and even easier to make that sound like a logical choice. Today we’re going to talk about what it means to quit ahead of time, how that’s closely related to perfectionism and fear, and how to figure out if we’re really quitting or just don’t have the space in our life right now.
Ready? Let’s get started.
In this episode:
- What it means to “quit ahead of time”
- How to tell if you’re avoiding something out of fear or for legitimate reasons
- Why our instinct to avoid scary things is a physiological protection that has been misplaced
Listen to the episode here:
Quitting Ahead Of Time
Even though we’re all constantly learning, doesn’t it feel like some lessons just hit different when you learn them? Does that happen to anyone else? You’re going along, doing what you do, and suddenly, a lesson that, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably seen a dozen times already, suddenly smacks you in the face and makes you sit up and say “What the hell. Why have I never realized that before?!”
If you’re woo, like I am, you’d probably call these your soul lessons. Those big, fat scary things you’re here to learn about in this life. Or maybe they tie back to childhood trauma or a limiting belief. Whatever you call them, I can’t be the only one who experiences these, right?
These lightning strike moments have happened to me many times in my life. I just had one a few weeks ago after finishing one of the most amazing books I have ever read. If you’re into romance novels that are a little bit dark but still turn out alright in the end, then I highly recommend The Silent Waters by Brittainy Cherry.
But I would definitely say that two of the biggest aha moments I’ve had that really shifted how I show up and talk to myself and think and act are things I’ve talked about on this very podcast. Perfectionism is Fear and Failure is Data.
These are revelations I’ve had about myself that make me go daaaaammmnnnn…so THAT’S why I’ve been holding myself back in this way or oh, well no WONDER I keep doing xyz. It was all right there the whole time!These are revelations I’ve had about myself that make me go daaaaammmnnnn...so THAT’S why I’ve been holding myself back in this way. Click To Tweet
And the funniest thing is that these really big wake up moments are almost always related in some way. There’s overlap between them but an individual lesson, too.
And since I’m nothing if not consistent in the manifestation of my limiting beliefs and childhood trauma, today’s topic is the third in the trilogy of my big three revelations. It makes the perfect companion to Perfectionism and Fear. And that’s Quitting Ahead of Time.
I did actually touch on this briefly in my Perfectionism is Fear episode. It was a thing that I kind of knew that I did. Intellectually acknowledged that it existed and it wasn’t great but it got shoved to the wayside by Perfectionism. Perfectionism demands a lot of attention. It’s really loud.
It’s easy to get lost in perfectionism while it’s screaming at you to get all the details right or do the thing over again or hurry and scramble to meet that deadline.
Then I read something that reminded me that Perfectionism and Fear aren’t twins, they’re triplets and the third triplet is Quitting Ahead of Time. And holy shit, do I do this.Because quitting before you even start is really good at hiding behind a very rational explanation of why now is not a good time. Click To Tweet
It’s so easy to miss this one, too. Because quitting before you even start is really good at hiding behind a very rational explanation of why now is not a good time. How many of us have rationalized not investing in coaching, not taking that course, not dropping that new service, not whatever it is because now wasn’t the right time.
I’m betting a lot. Definitely me. My first novel will be published in early 2022 and that makes a solid 17 years that I talked myself out of publishing a novel. I’ve written several and then once they’re done they sit in a folder on my Google Drive and I never look at them again.
I didn’t have time to learn how to get a cover designed or find a good editor or format everything or post it on the internet for people to buy. It was never the right time to publish. Which resulted in SEVENTEEN YEARS of quitting ahead of time because I wrote my first rough draft manuscript in 2005.
And that’s just one example. There are most certainly others. And yeah, sometimes you have totally valid reasons for not doing something. Saying no to something or not right now doesn’t always mean you’re quitting ahead of time. It can absolutely be the right choice for you at that time in your life.
But sometimes, maybe most of the time, you’re quitting before you start. You’re quitting because you’re scared of how it will change your life, you’re scared that it won’t work out, you’re scared that you’ll fail. You’re scared that everyone will read your book and hate it and then you’ll have to change your name and go live under a rock. Or whatever.The key to figuring this out, figuring out whether you are quitting or have a valid reason for saying no to something is to ask yourself...why am I saying no to this? Click To Tweet
The key to figuring this out, figuring out whether you are quitting or have a valid reason for saying no to something is to ask yourself…why am I saying no to this?
Am I saying no because I don’t have the time, resources, or support to really invest in it? Or am I saying no because I am afraid of the potential outcome.
If it’s the first, table it and come back to it later. If it’s the second, it’s probably you quitting ahead of time and trying to come up with a valid excuse not to do it.
This method is not easy. Let me tell you what. Your human brain is powered by fear. Your brain doesn’t want to be afraid and it definitely doesn’t want to forge into the unknown because that’s scary and you might die. Your brain doesn’t want you to die. Helpful when death is actually a possibility.
But signing up to work with that coach, making big moves in your business, or putting yourself out there in a way that feels really exposed and vulnerable…none of that will kill you.
Learning how to spot whether you are quitting ahead of time or have a valid reason is work and it’s uncomfortable. But it’s worth every single minute of discomfort. And who knows, by the end, you might even be ready to publish a book.
Alright, that’s it for me today.