I QUIT. Have you ever said these two words? I imagine you have, and I would also venture to say that when you did you felt mixed emotions... On one hand you may have felt relief and on the other, you may have felt guilt. Quitting – whether we quit a project, a job, a relationship – can often trigger shame inside of us and cause us to feel like we are not enough. We are not doing enough, not being enough, not committed enough. Ironically though, we generally don’t quit things that are good for us or are working. We quit things because they’re not good for us and not working, which is why we feel the relief.
Last Thursday, I quit my job – my first “big girl” job, my first attempt to pursue a “real” career, my first salaried income. Okay, I didn’t just up and leave... I put in my two weeks notice. Over the last two and half years on the job, I have met extraordinary people, made life-long friends and gained invaluable skills. At the end of every work day I could always say that what I did helped someone somewhere somehow.
At the same time, an element of the work always felt dishonest - not that the organization’s work was dishonest; it wasn’t - but dishonest in that my specific job did not align with my passion. As I carried on working through the years, I continually searched for ways to incorporate my passion into my work with no avail. Eventually, I became exhausted… Exhausted by the day to day, exhausted by pretending to care, exhausted by convincing myself that the dishonest feeling would go away if I just kept at it.
In her audio series The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown talks about exhaustion and how it has become a status symbol in our society... She explains that because society places so much value on what people do for a living, we tend to brag about how exhausted we feel as if it relays the message that we work hard enough. We are busy, and when we are busy people think we’re important. Exhausted, but important.
So when does the need for rest take priority over the need to feel important? When can we say that we want to stop working so hard for other people and do something for ourselves? When can we quit what we’re doing and follow our hearts, our passions? The answer… Whenever we want.
Maybe you do feel passionately about what you do every day, or maybe you have found a way to incorporate your passion into what you do every day. Maybe though, just maybe, you’re exhausted… If so, it’s okay to stop what you’re doing and not have your life consumed by dispassionate hard work. It’s okay to say that something doesn’t work for you anymore, that you don’t want what you used to want. It’s okay to quit. It’s okay to rest.
You will find the next thing. The work you let go of will either never get finished or get finished by someone else. The people you leave behind will be okay. You are doing enough and being enough. You are committed enough. You are enough. You have just changed. So take the lessons you learn through your changes and allow them to shape you, grow you, and throw you into your next chapter. May you find rest in the process.
Let it bake,