It’s OK to Quit Sometimes

I have a bright shiny object syndrome. I get a new idea and I’m off and running. I hear about something I haven’t tried before and I’m ready to give it a go. It’s made my life full of adventure and I’ve learned a lot long the way, but it means I struggle to complete things or see them all the way through. I can get into something and then lose interest within the first couple of weeks or months. Only about 1/4 of my new interests last.

I used to beat myself up, thinking I couldn’t finish anything or really make commitments. I saw myself as less than others for not having a single drive in my life, for not being focused. But I couldn’t help lighting up at the thought of learning something new or trying my hand at a new skill. Over time I learned to accept this bright shiny object syndrome and use it to my advantage. Now, I know that my broad interests have shaped me into who I am and made me capable of doing my job as an organizer and coach. I’ve had so many tastes of so many different things and am always curious about new things, it’s easy to work with a diverse set of clients because invariably we find something in common.

It was a journey!  Talk about a mean inner critic rearing it’s ugly head.  It told me “I was a failure.”  I couldn’t finish anything.”  and so on.  Eventually I starting focusing on the benefits of this way of being and this helped release the hold of that nasty inner critic voice.

I had to get to the point where I was ok with being what Barbara Sher calls a “scanner” in her book Refuse to Choose.  I had to learn how to let go.  I learned how to realize I was finished with something even if the project wasn’t ”finished.”  I learned to release not only interests that were waning but also responsibilities that weren’t in alignment with my values.

And through this journey I’ve developed the courage to try stuff and fail, to try stuff and decide it’s not for me.

I recently signed up for a writing class.  I was all excited because I love the teachers and have been writing more as a way of staying touch with you peeps, but the class dragged.  I tried for a few weeks to stay excited, I did the exercises, did the writing, but everytime, I felt yucky and weighed down.  Not the feeling I get when I sit down to write to you.  At first those little nasty voices came in, “you’re a failure, you can’t write, what were you thinking signing up for a writing class,” and so on but the more I became aware of those thoughts, the more they passed through me.  And with them not being my focus, I could discover what was underneath that brain chatter.  I realized it just wasn’t the class for me right now.  Maybe in months, or years to come, or maybe never.

So…I quit, right in the middle of it, and guess what, IT FELT GREAT.  I felt liberated and less stressed and happy. I could now put my energy those things that are important now, that do light me up.

I would love to know where you feel weighed down by obligations to finish something, or keep commitments that don’t fit your life anymore.  I want for you too, to find the thing that you can let go of and feel liberated.  If you know what it is, share it with me.  And if you don’t know yet, that’s ok.  Pay attention and soon enough it’ll be clear.