3 steps to quitting

I recently read an article by Erika Bruhn.  She says, “The truth is, quitting isn’t really giving up. Maybe, when you look further, the words “I quit” could really reflect a person’s self-awareness, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence. What if we, as friends, family, and colleagues, looked at the act of quitting as empowered, one that creates space for self-reflection, dreaming, and appreciation for what no longer serves someone? Could the prospect of saying those two words inspire a healthier path?  To quit might just be a lean into what is possible and hello to your next healthy step.”

This topic has been on my heart for the past few weeks.

I mean, intellectually, I “get it”.  To me, it’s sort of like a spring cleaning of my soul.

And when I read something like that, my question usually is some version of, HOW?

It usually comes out in an anxious and high-strung tone I’d probably say something like, “It sounds great Michelle, but what are the exact steps????????????  If you can tell me, I can and will make it happen.  What’s the ‘right’ way to quit?”  

Here’s how my high-functioning, super-detailed, overachiever, highly intellectual, perfectionistic brain works:

I want to know…

  • EXACTLY HOW do I do this?
  • What are the EXACT steps I NEED to follow?
  • EXACTLY HOW do I quit?
  • HOW do I figure out EXACTLY what to quit?
  • HOW EXACTLY do I deal with the reactions/responses from those things and people I do quit?
  • Please just tell me EXACTLY HOW to do alllllllllll of it!?!?
  • In fact, why don’t you just tell me what to quit and I’ll do that…

On the off chance that you are anything like the me I used to be and the me I sometimes still be, I invite you to read on.

But first, take a breath.  {Inhale and exhale through your nose}

And another.  {Inhale and exhale through your nose}

And one more.

But this time make it bigger.


Really breathe.

Okay, here’s the honest truth… I don’t have all the answers.

But, I am committed to working through it.

I’m committed to asking questions.  Better questions.

I’m committed to sharing what’s working for me and what’s not.

I’m committed to guiding while I travel and sharing along the way.

With that being said….

#1 – Get clear on what it actually means to quit

Quitting has multiple definitions.  Here are a few:

To stop, cease, or discontinue

To give up or resign; let go; relinquish

To free or rid oneself

Choose the definition that feels the best to you and add on one {or more} of the following:

… spending time with or on any person, situation, environment, or thing that I actually don’t care about.

… from any person, situation, environment, or thing that depletes my joy.

… any person, situation, environment, or thing that I don’t enjoy or even like.

From this new space, quitting actually becomes imperative to your success, happiness, and overall fulfillment.

#2 – Get detailed, specific awareness on what you love and what you don’t

It may sound elementary, but make a list.

2 lists actually.

Inspired by both Mark Manson and Sarah Knight and their work in this conversation, I started writing down what I love and what I don’t love.

Things I give a f*ck about and things I simply don’t.

It sounds easy, but from my research, very few of us actually take the time to gain this detailed clarity.

And it’s imperative that you do this before moving to the next step….

#3 – Stop giving your time + energy to the things you don’t love

Say what?!


We tend to waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy overcomplicate things.

You want the simple solution?

Stop doing shit you hate.

Why are we spending any of our time, energy, and effort on things, circumstances, and people that don’t even have the capacity to bring you the joy you’re craving?

If you don’t care about it, if it doesn’t bring you joy, if you’re drained energetically by it, if you hate it..

Why are you spending your time there?


Who says?

Who says you HAVE to do a thing?

Can you find another way to make money?

Can you get help doing tasks you don’t enjoy?

Can you trade or barter services?

If you need to remain in a situation or circumstance for a bit longer, can you change your attitude about it?

Let me give you an example…

I realized that I don’t give a shit about the restaurant where I work.

WAIT.  Don’t judge. Or you know what? Go ahead and judge.

You see, the truth is, I care about the guests I serve. I care about the money I make from that service. I care about many of the people I work with.

But I don’t care about the company.  It may sound harsh and at first I didn’t want to allow that to be true, but I don’t. I don’t care.

And when I began to recognize the amount of time, energy, and emotional output I was pouring into a thing that I don’t love or care about I was stunned into silence. I was mortified. I was embarrassed at how frivolously I was spending my precious time + energy.

And you know what was happening to me energetically?  I was irritated.  Annoyed.  In a bad mood.  Frustrated.  Unhappy.  No fun to work with and no fun to be around.

Why?  Because I was freely throwing my time + energy out and into an environment where I didn’t care.


And as soon as I stopped?  Wow.  Immediately, I was happier and more fun to work with.

I had an ease and joy about my energy that was palpable.

I took better care of the guests.

I made more money.

I didn’t spend my whole shift fighting.

So. Much. Better.

So, it starts with understanding that winners DO quit.  They just quit the right things.

Next comes the clarity.

What do you enjoy?  What drains you?  What do you love?  What do you hate?  What do you REALLY give a shit about?

Finally, comes the choice.

Do MORE of what you LOVE and less of what drains you.

Do MORE of what you ENJOY and less of what you hate.

Stop spending your precious time, your mental, spiritual, physical energy, emotional energy, and limited time + energy on the things you don’t actually care about.

I get that it might not be an immediate switch, but if the things that you’re doing, the conversations you’re having, and the work you’re committed to don’t even have the CAPACITY to fulfill you, it might be time to start packing….

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