One of my very first clients was a nutritionist. I did a ton of copy-writing for her and managed her newsletter. She had a whole team of people, and one of her favorite ways to motivate us was to spout this quote:
“How you do one thing is how you do everything.”
I don’t know who said it originally – but I do know that it never worked on me. Mostly because I believe it’s total bunk.
At one point she decided that the entire group would do the Lime-Aid Cleanse. It consists of clearing your bowels out with a quart of salt water and then consuming nothing but lime juice squeezed into water and spiked with cayenne pepper for ten days.
The problem with this was that I had three children under four years old. And no food = no energy. The lime water would sustain me, but it wouldn’t give me anything to keep up with my kids.
Her response? Take a nap.
At no point in my children’s time as toddlers did any of them ever nap at the same time. Believe me, I tried. Taking a nap whenever I felt like it was simply not an option. And it wasn’t like she wanted to me to stop working on her stuff for ten days.
So, I quit (the cleanse that is). Halfway through the first day. The smell of mac and cheese was too alluring, and I succumbed.
Should I be ashamed? Maybe. But I’m not. Her stupid cleanse wasn’t something I wanted to do for myself, and I felt like I was bullied into it in the first place.
Not being one to follow the crowd or to like being told what to do, there wasn’t much chance of me doing it for ten whole days anyway.
I bristle at the suggestion that because I couldn’t physically handle a 10 day hiatus from food (that I didn’t even want to do in the first place) that I am somehow lacking moral fiber.
To all the people out there who truly believe that quote, I ask you to rethink your judgement of not only yourself, but everyone else who doesn’t live up to your nonsensical standards.
The fact of the matter is, I’m a cut-and-run kind of gal. If a person or a situation, or even a book isn’t working for me, I will walk away.
I have no problem with quitting.
Does that mean I can’t finish anything?
It means I know when to say when. It means I can tell that even if I thought something was a good idea in the beginning, I have the nerve to say I was wrong and put a stop to it.
BUT, there are things that I will never walk away from, under any circumstances. Even if I’m going crazy. And even if it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life.
My kids, for instance. Being a mom is about 10 million times harder than I ever thought it would be. Every day is something new. And some of those days just plain suck. My kids are amazing, super smart, and stubborn as hell.
Even so, there is absolutely nothing in the history of ever that would make me walk away from them. NOTHING.
The difference here is that some things are worth it to me, while others aren’t.
My husband was a teacher for ten years. He resigned (which is of course a nice way to say he quit) not because he was bad at it, but because he hated it. It was not his calling, and it did not make him happy.
Does this make me worry that if our marriage got difficult that he might walk away? Nope. He’s not that kind of guy.
Back to the being worth it thing.
Thomas Edison (not a fan, but that’s a different blog) is famous for never giving up on his light bulb. But I’m betting that there were 1000 other projects that he realized halfway through were not worth his time or energy, and he walked away from them for the one that was.
Being able to assess the situation and make a choice on whether or not the thing you are doing is something that truly is worth it is a skill. And to me, that is much, much, much more important than being able to stick to something until you die.
People who can’t make that call may be super successful. Or they may die trying to do something that was not a true calling by God on their life.
Might you give up on something you shouldn’t have? Perhaps.
But I truly believe that if you are supposed to complete something, it will come back. It will be something you can’t forget. Something you can’t let go. Maybe the first time around it just wasn’t time for it yet.
I urge you to be willing to reassess whatever it is right now that isn’t working for you.
Be willing to stop reading after two chapters if the book just sucks.
Walk away from a friendship that is requiring more of your energy than you’ve got to give.
Just put an end to the project that is taking up more time than you’ve got to give it.
Don’t worry about other people thinking you are a serial quitter. Screw them. Maybe they need to look at what they are doing and decide if their stuff is really worth their time and energy after all.