Thinking back, my first meaningful memory regarding “quitting” was in Chapel HIll North Carolina talking with my 4 year old daughter’s preschool teacher. At the time we were likely discussing my latest novice parenting crisis of how to handle the typical resistance to school, ballet, soccer, napping, probably even sitting through an entire meal! Of course I had to stand my ground- “you started this, you will finish it ”. Isn’t that the party line? Assuming she would give me the encouragement, validation and positive reinforcement I needed, she said something very unexpected and I’ve never forgotten. She shared with me her passion as a girl’s basketball coach, setting the stage for the lesson she was about to impart. “I always teach my teenage girls they can quit”, elaborating -thankfully- with the context that girls should know just because they start something, it doesn’t always mean they have to see it through to the END. This was no longer a coaching/playing philosophy, this was her philosophy period. This developed over years witnessing girl’s struggle in the dating game and all the issues that comes with it. In her game of life she was changing the rules.
In today’s society, in our own game of life what does quitting mean? How is it viewed and where and from whom was it learned? Are we pushed and being pushed to the brink of potential mental and emotional breakdown living according to the myth that quitting is weak, bad or even unacceptable? Does starting have to equal finishing and who determines what finishing even means?
Let’s flip this around, what if the entire game of life was played with the empowering, thoughtful and healthy skill of “I quit!” (purposeful use of exclamation point). What if we developed and executed with confidence the ability to jump in and out of the game without labels and judgement. I invite you to exercise setting and asserting limits: redirect ourselves with intention
Can we change the rules with which we play?
Self awareness: The key lies in the why. Healthy travel outside your comfort zone is an important part of growth- positive mental health. Appropriately push and challenge yourself, but continuously and consistently monitor your feelings and emotions- do they align with growth, value and self care. Know when and where to push on, but equally, when and where to pull back.
Accountability: In my house this is referred to as “tell me your thought process “, the equivalent to math’s famous “show your work”. If you can explain how you got from point A to point B-your decision- then you know and understand the terms. If you know the terms and make self determined choices than you’ve accepted them, accountability.
Practice: Practice, practice and more practice. As with anything, we build strength and we grow with repetition. Start small and repeat. “Little wins” is my daily mantra. Self determination
within our day to day routines evolves into healthy life practices. Confidence is the consequence of success.