Persistence is admirable. But you can only pursue so many goals for so long. So when is it wise to quit, and why? From jobs and relationships to projects and attachments, here we talk about both the pain and the relief of releasing commitments we once held dear. We share our own stories of giving up and letting go. And we unpack the doubt and stigma that so often accompany that decision.

This week we’re talking about Quitting — the importance of knowing when to do it, and the stigma that so often accompanies that decision.

From jobs and relationships, to projects and attachments, we talk about both the pain and the relief of letting go of the things we once decided to pursue. And we point out that quitting needn’t represent a failure or a referendum on your value as a person.

Dallas makes his case for becoming an “expert quitter,” and Pilar shares some of the biggest, baddest, most formative quitting experiences of her life.

We also offer you some empowering experiments to help you explore the potential of quitting more skillfully and selectively in your own life.

“Quitting” Episode Highlights

  • What Dallas means by being an “expert quitter”
  • Pilar and Dallas share their stories of big life quits
  • The detrimental effects of trying to hold on to everything
  • The iterative process of trying new things, and being willing to let go
  • Overcoming the fear of quitting by tapping into your deepest feelings, noticing how your body reacts, and then having faith in the response
  • Change in any form as the first step in getting out of a bad situation
  • Quitting certain aspects of a job or relationship, for example, rather than leaving altogether
  • Keeping your values in mind when making decisions about what to do
  • Reframing quitting as reinvention in the hero’s journey

If you’re considering quitting something, try following these steps:

1. Slow down. Find a moment when you’re not trying to get somewhere or do something, and physically stop. Take some deep breaths and calm yourself down. Then, allow yourself to feel what it feels like when you say “I quit.” What comes up? Do you feel fear? Dread? Anticipation? A lightening?

2. Imagine you’re doing something else, even if you don’t know what that thing is. Again, what do you feel?

If you feel a sense of relief, excitement, or anticipation in either or both of those steps, start looking in the direction of making a change. You don’t have to quit right away, but give yourself permission to start planning without feeling ashamed about giving up.

Quit doing something small that doesn’t feel good to you, especially if it’s something that you feel obligated rather than excited to do. Examples: Stop being self-critical (it might take many tries). Stop going to the early morning yoga class you don’t like. Put down the book group assignment that isn’t interesting to you. Notice how quitting the small thing makes you feel, and see if it empowers and energizes you to make other changes.

Big Thanks to Our Friends at Optimize!

Thanks to our sponsor, Optimize by Heroic, for supporting The Living Experiment. Now you can get Optimize membership (formerly $250) for FREE just by signing up here. And check out the Heroic social training platform, with a goal of creating a world in which 51% of the world’s population is flourishing by 2051 — starting with YOU!

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