“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” -Steve Jobs
When is the last time we really examined our ideas about quitting? I mean really dug into what we believe about commitment and purpose? When Tim and I first got married, I was in grad school for a degree that I knew I should have quit on the very first day. But I suffered through it, because I didn’t want to be a quitter. I didn’t want to spit in the eye of all the work I’d done to get into the program or how elite it was to gain a spot— all I could see was this goal that I had set years before that. The word QUIT was a four-letter curse that I’d been trained to never do.
Fast forward two years, and we had felt the pull to leave our jobs and kick off a new life phase. We were doing double duty, building our photo business between the hours of 9 pm and 2 am, hustling our buns all day at our real jobs, and repeating the process. From the first days of our relationship, we had promised ourselves that we’d take a six month honeymoon, planned to escape fully and travel to kick off our marriage. It took us three years, but we finally bought the one way tickets to Bangkok to take the belated trip (can you still call it a honeymoon after three years of being married? YOLO, we did).
But getting to my point here: holy shit, was it scary quitting our jobs. I remember palpably shaking as we broke the news to our boss, feeling like the world would cave in if we followed our hearts. And guess what homies? The sun rose the next morning. We all moved on. The earth kept spinning. And we were liberated to create the next phase of our lives with full hearts and a focused plan. We’ve freed our lives up in ways I couldn’t have imagined then: we’ve visited a couple dozen countries, created a booked up photo business our first year, launched a passion project at Moveable Feast Retreats, and haven’t had a boss to answer to on Monday morning since April of 2015. Glory be.
We value the hustle (it’s crucial), and quitting isn’t something we take lightly. But I also want to encourage you that if you feel that something bigger is waiting for you on the other side of fear, or you’re just sticking with something because you think it’s what you “should do” but it’s not bringing you joy or purpose, perhaps it’s time to start considering quitting. And ignoring our culture’s imperatives to “not be a quitter” when you know in your heart that you’ve fought the good fight.
Quit. Be free. The world will keep on spinning. And you’ll be liberated to pursue the next path with a wide open spirit that is all yours.