It was 2006 and I was working at RELEVANT Media Group as the sales and marketing director. I loved my job. Having started at the company in January 2002, I had the privilege of being able to help get it off the ground. In the Fall of 2001, Relevant Books launched, followed by relevantmagazine.com in March of 2002, then RELEVANT magazine (print edition) in March 2003.
The mission for everything we did was to “Impact culture for Christ.” Because this mission was so specific and our objections were so large, as a company, we were all in because that’s what it took. It was some of the hardest work I’ve ever done, but we did it!
Fast forward a few years and I was sensing that change was coming. Having served the owner of the company in a right-hand-man capacity for about 4.5 years, I was struggling with what to do next. I didn’t want to disappoint the owner, but I also didn’t want to miss the new season and opportunities that were ahead.
Four years later, I was in a meeting with a businessman I had come to know and respect deeply. After we ended our business agenda, I asked him for some advice. At this point, the angst of indecision has grown to a distracting level. I was overanalyzing everything in search for the right answer. Yet, I couldn’t have anticipated how close I was to the answer until he asked me one simple question:
When you look at the next five years in this job, are you looking forward to the challenges ahead and are you ready to jump in and get to work, or are you digging your heels in and telling yourself that it’s time to get out?
The answer was immediately clear, but I struggled to believe what I was telling myself. Could it really be that easy?
Indeed, it was.
Less than two months later, I resigned.
Maybe you’re staring at a significant decision, and you’re wondering if quitting is the right thing to do?
We live in a culture that doesn’t embrace quitting very well. Most of us grew up hearing phrases like “Quitters never win, winners never quit.” It’s been labeled it as weakness or failure, and nobody wants to be either. Truth is, there’s a time and a season for everything and sometimes quitting is the best thing you can do.
Peter Gray shares in a recent Psychology Today article:
“If we move our minds out of the quagmire of competition (indeed, we can’t win tennis matches by quitting) and think of life’s broader goals—the goals of surviving, avoiding injury, finding happiness, and living in accordance with our personal values among people whom we respect and who respect us—then we see that freedom to quit is essential to all of these goals.”
Giving yourself permission to ignore the stereotypes that are placed on quitting, and embrace the freedom that comes from entertaining it, may be one of the most exciting exercises you’ve done in a long time.
The question is: “What does the next five years look like for you?”