How to Know When It’s Okay to Quit

We were always raised to “try our best” and not to be a “quitter.” Well, society, thanks for setting us up for failure with your terrible advice.

It’s OKAY to quit.

Many of us spend our time trying to overcome quitting on a day to day basis. I’m not saying you should go out and quit your job, school, marriage, kids, etc. But there are some situations in which it’s best to quit and move on. I have outlined some of these circumstances when you should just raise up the white flag.

Skills (or lack thereof) and Talents:

“You can do anything you put your mind to.” —– Wrong.

I, for one, could never be an Olympic sprinter. For those of you who have seen me run, you know my legs don’t work that way. I could never be a flame thrower. Sure I could try and try and maybe, just maybe, I could get good at it one day. But am I going to keep trying knowing my lack of coordination? No. I don’t particularly think I would like being set on fire. Obviously these are very dramatic examples, but the same applies to sports, singing, acting, and even day to day activity. I can understand trying to stick with certain activities as a child, as you’re still developing mentally and physically. But I don’t think there are any 8-year-old little league players reading this blog. So for YOU, if you are miserable doing something that you are god awful at, and it is getting you no where, just quit. Move on to something that will be a more appropriate use of your time, and much more fulfilling.

Your Job:

Many people (myself included in this category) have been afraid to quit their job for a better one, or even look for new opportunities, because they are afraid of disappointing their current boss. You have become a valuable asset to them, and they spent time and money training you. You think, “What would they do without me?” I’ve learned after moving a couple different jobs for new opportunities that when it comes down to it, you boss does not care about you. At the end of the day, they need to run a business. They WILL replace you. If you can better yourself by leaving for a new opportunity… Do it. Don’t hesitate. No one ever got anywhere by standing still.

Your relationship:

When you have a commitment to someone, usually there is a lot invested in it. Sometimes people get married just because they have a joint loan payment, or they bought a puppy together. They get sucked into this world that they don’t want to be in. It’s no shock that divorce rates are sky rocketed. If some couples just quit on each other before they get married, the world would be a much happier place. Ya dig?  Relationships aren’t meant to be easy, and you shouldn’t give up on “the one” if things are a little rocky. But if you know deep down that they are not right for you… Welllllllp, see ya later.

Life isn’t made to be easy, and you shouldn’t quit every time something get’s tough. But be realistic, have a back up plan if you are determined to stay with your flame throwing or other far-fetched passion, and always be true to who you are (not who everyone else wants you to be).

“Quitting law school was the most difficult decision of my life. But I felt this great relief that this is my life and I can do what I want with it” – Carly Fiorina

A Whole New World

It’s been about a month since my last post. Since then, I’ve moved to California, went for a week long training session in Washington DC, and came back to try and get the ball rolling with my new job.

In the past month I’ve learned a lot. The main thing that has had an impact on me is the power of adapting to new and unknown situations. In order to grow, we must be able to change. We can stay doing the same old thing day after day, or we can adapt to make ourselves competitive in a growing market. There is a constant need to update our skills, revamp our attitudes, and never cut the ties with what keeps us motivated.

Southern California is a whole new world, to say the least (Literally, I think they’d become their own country if they wanted to). There is no small town feel like I’m used to. I don’t walk into a business and expect to see someone I know. People are friendly enough, but they are mostly just concerned with their own wellbeing (unless we are talking about a driving situation, in which case California drivers are concerned with destroying everyone else’s wellbeing. Seriously. It’s terrifying).

Moving is never easy. It involves leaving behind your loved ones, and stepping out of your comfort zone. I took a huge leap of faith, entering a newly created position in a tough market, for only a certain number of months. But that’s life right? Taking chances is the only way we can get to where we want to be.

They say “good things come to those who wait.” Well, I beg to differ. I think good things come to those who get after it! There is a difference between having patience and waiting. Why wait for something good to happen, when we can be proactive and make it happen. That seems like a much more efficient approach to me.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things,
because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”
~ Walt Disney.

Excuses are like Armpits

Excuses are like armpits. Everybody has them… and they all stink!

One of my teachers told my class this back in grade school, and I’ve remembered it ever since. As a society, we have developed the uncanny ability to point fingers, make up white lies, or even shift blame, if it means that we can magically make something not our fault. In reality, people generally appreciate us taking responsibility for our actions instead of creating elaborate stories.

Excuses can be developed in the work life, social life, and even in our own personal lives. However, there is no difference in the consequence. By not holding ourselves accountable for our actions (or lack thereof), we are doing nothing more than crippling our abilities. Of course there are things that we all don’t want to do, and we all make mistakes, but whatever the excuse is, it’s not helping us learn. These are the most common types of excuses:

  • What we say: My dog ate my homework. Ahhh, the classic I-didn’t-do-what-I-was-supposed-to excuse. So maybe we didn’t finish our homework or that presentation for work, so the best option is to come up with a white lie in hopes of getting an extension or getting out of it all together. Right? Wrong!
  • What we SHOULD say: Be honest. Tell your boss or your teacher what was so pressing that you didn’t have time to complete the task. You might be out of luck if it was solely due to procrastination, but whoever you’re telling will appreciate your honesty. This isn’t their first rodeo, and they know your dog didn’t eat your homework (who came up with that excuse anyways?).
  • What we say: I don’t have any idea how that really expensive machine broke. I didn’t touch it! Often we make up lies if we know we did something wrong. We are afraid we will get in trouble or lose our responsibilities.
  • What we SHOULD say: Again, be honest. Say something like Hey boss man or boss lady, I was working with the machine today and hit the “I will break if you push me” button by accident. What can I do to help fix it? Taking accountability for your actions is a must, but we should also offer to fix our mistakes. Ask them what your options are for overcoming the slip-up, and go above and beyond in proving you can make the situation right again. In every customer service experience I’ve had, the consumer always walks away happier if a problem has been solved than if there was never an issue at all. So solve the problem, even if it is solely for personal satisfaction.
  • What we say: Thanks for the invite, but I actually have this huge project to do… my dog ate my homework last night. Okay, we all have situations we want to avoid or people we don’t want to see. My biggest problem is making commitments when I have too much on my plate, and when it comes down to it I have to make some excuse as to why I can’t make it. For the most part, we all want to be nice. We don’t want to hurts someone’s feelings, so we lie in order to soften the blow. In reality, that just makes the situation worse.
  • What we SHOULD say: Is this honesty thing ringing a bell? If we made plans, but then can’t make it because we double-booked ourselves, then that’s what we should say. Lies only turn into more lies which ultimately turn into leading a double life (and that’s only cool if you’re in the FBI… or if you’re Spiderman). Similarly, if someone asks you to do something and you don’t want to, or you are too busy, it is much easier to say that upfront. Don’t say yes out of politeness and have to cancel later. This was my forte there for a while, but I’ve since gotten much better!
  • What we say (to ourselves): I can’t go to the gym today because it’s already 4:00 and by the time I get there I won’t be able to use any of the machines because it will be so busy, and plus I went last week, and I’m sure I’ll go tomorrow, and I’ll do at least three sit-ups tonight to make up for it. Sometimes we lose our motivation and start making up excuses as to why we can’t do things. We all do it.
  • What we SHOULD say: I’m not going to the gym because I feel like being lazy. Maybe I should just go since making up excuses doesn’t burn calories. We can lie to ourselves all we want, but if anyone knows we’re lying, it’s us! If something is important to us, we will make time for it.

I’m sure there are many more derivatives of the excuses we can make in our lives. The common theme to avoiding them is the honesty route. Be truthful to yourself, your coworkers, your boss, your friends, and even the people you just meet. You don’t want your first impression from others to be stamped with “big liar face.”

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.” – Benjamin Franklin

Woulda Coulda Shoulda

The “what-if” game should never be played by anyone, yet we all do it. What-if questions generally just make you feel sorry for yourself. I’m not talking about the questions like what if I had a million dollars? or What if I was stranded on a desert island and could only bring one item? These questions are often fun and thought provoking.

The questions that are not quite as fun, and more mind numbing than thought provoking, are the ones triggered by regret or guilt. What if I had worked harder on that project, would I have gotten the promotion? or What if I had been nicer to that one person in high school who is now a famous bajillionaire? My absolute favorite is when I’m sitting at a café with my grandma and she’s playing keno. Every time, without fail, she will say “oh I knew I should’ve played (enter whatever number she didn’t play, but came on the board here)!”

Well, you didn’t get the promotion and you aren’t rolling in the dough with your high school frenemy, and grandma we STILL haven’t won keno (yet). Why look back in regret and play the what-if game? It doesn’t do any good since we can’t change the past, at least not with the current technology. I think there is some “parallel universe” theory that states there are different worlds in which we live for each decision we make. I don’t buy it… but if it helps you sleep at night knowing that a parallel version of yourself is out there living the dream, then more power to you (keep on taking those happy pills).

There are things we all should have done. There are times when we could have done something better or worked harder. Instead of wasting time dwelling on what might have been, think about how you are going to make something happen in the future. Even if you think an opportunity has passed you by, there are always bigger and better opportunities out there. Don’t dilly-dally in the past; instead of what-if just think what will be. The possibilities are endless!

“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” -Alexander Graham Bell

Retweet this blog! @NelsonKati

Procrastination Station

We all do it. If you’re reading this blog you are probably putting off doing something, in which case it’s fine… I like where your priorities are at.

Procrastination is just one of those things that haunts us no matter what we are doing (heck, I’m procrastinating right now just by writing this… You’re welcome). Personally, I often feel that I work better under pressure, but that is no excuse for waiting until last minute to get things done.

In an attempt to make life a lot less stressful, I have come up with a list of ways to help procrastinitus (that’s the medical term). Although it’s in my genetics and therefore not really my fault, I have found these steps all very helpful. Try them out, and let me know what works for you and what doesn’t.

1. Prioritize

Find out what the most important tasks are. Priority #1: Read my blog. Everything after that is up to you. For example: You should probably choose to write your huge research paper before getting on Facebook to creep on all of your exes.

2. Make a To-Do List

If you’re like me and love to-do lists, you probably have about 50 of them floating around in your car, purse, binder, under your pillow (sleeping on it won’t make it go away, I’ve tried), etc. The trick, I’ve found, is to only have one list. Go figure. Don’t overwhelm yourself by adding a million things to the list just for the satisfaction of having things to cross off. I know it feels great to cross something off of your list, but when that something is “brush my teeth,” for instance, that doesn’t count. Let’s hope you do that anyways.

I have found success in only allowing myself to add to my to-do list after I complete something that was already on it. It’s like the First In First Out principle of accounting. This ensures that ALL tasks get accomplished, and your “clean the bathroom” task doesn’t sit on your list for a year, that’s gross.

3. Set Time Aside

Make time every day, or at least every week, to tackle your to-do list. I hate to break it to you, but there are only a certain amount of hours in the day. I know, I know… it shocked me too. If you’re a work-a-holic like me, you have to set this time aside, or you will never complete what needs to get done. Set down the work-a-holic drank for a second, get some coffee, then to-do your little heart out.

4. Encourage yourself

Remind yourself that there are some things that need to get done, even if you are dreading it. I carry post-it notes around with me to give myself little nuggets of motivation. For example, I’ll stick one right on an assignment I’m dreading that says “this paper is NOT going to write itself.” As much as I’ve tried to feed my pencil new led and erasers, it still hasn’t sprouted legs and started writing without my help. When that happens, I’ll be sure to let you know.

There are many other ways to help in curing procrastination, but everyone needs to make their own remedy. Find out what works for you, and please leave a comment sharing your success or best procrastination stories!

“Know the true value of time; snatch, seize, and enjoy every moment of it. No idleness; no laziness; no procrastination; never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” -Lord Chesterfield