There is this idea of success looking one way, and that quitting anything, no matter how ‘wrong’ it may seem, is just not an option.
One of the common things fear and Imposter Worries bring to our table, is the idea that we need to take more classes, learn more things or do something-else before we can make progress on our right path.
That if only we could do X, only then will we be able to take the leap towards Y.
However, when we are taking a course of action out of fear rather than excitement, we often know about it because we lose interest or feel this incredible pressure to complete it even when it’s not adding to our lives.
When did the idea of making a change become so negative?
I’m not suggesting we can make changes without consideration, and sometimes, its our fear which takes us off-track. When we quit something that lights us up inside, and we’re not doing it to make room for something else invigorating… that’s usually when doubts, fear and overwhelm have kicked in.
Prof Steve Peters describes this as “the Chimp” taking over: responding to a threat without the facts.
This is very different though, to many of us, who sign up for a course or programme, or maybe buy a specific book to learn a skill, and then find we don’t want to learn. The ‘push’ for us was not a sense of growth and expansion of knowledge, but a fear of not being enough, just as we are.
We all have destinations with less-than-perfect paths. But if you’re not sure the destination is worth the brambles and mud, it’s okay to pause and look for a new path.
The Destination Question
I consider myself an “avid reader” although these days, I don’t read anywhere near as much as I think I’d like to. I have a particular fondness for Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and have seen most of the movie adaptations (including the 2003 version in a modern American setting and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies from 2016). However, I began reading the original novel on my phone’s kindle app around 3 years ago, and every few weeks find myself with a spare 5-minutes out and about.
I used to want to read all the classics, but the only book I feel will be worth the effort of reading is this one. Thus, I released all my destinations but to finish reading this classic. I’ve also read a couple of Oscar Wilde’s works, but again, don’t plan to read any more.
There is never a bad time to ask “is this destination somewhere I want to actually reach?”
If you made a choice in the past which felt right at the time, but now doesn’t, it’s okay to consider changing course. If you never felt right about it, I’d seriously recommend re-considering your current options.
Quitting for the Right Reasons
If you notice these three key obstacles in your path, it may be time to pause, and consider the options available for changing course.
1. Procrastination to the point where you’re doing other things you hate instead (for me, washing up the grill pan)
2. Struggling to carve out time to complete the steps (course modules or read chapters or knit that next row…)
3. Knowing that you just don’t have any interest in the process; and especially if you’re not that interested in the end result.
For practical dreamers, the “practicality” feels like “realism.” The dream feels all fluffy, or woo, or wishy-washy, or [insert your term here] while doing a course or buying that book you feel you should read… they feel practical and sensible. They feel acceptable.
For wild creatives, we feel the pull forward, yet these fears stifle us from taking action and often the fear of how others see us is a big factor in not walking our path. Yet, sometimes seeing a door in the forest and deciding to take a detour is the right one for us to take.
Yes, it may take us ‘backwards’ a step or two, but now we have all this extra experience and sometimes, even two steps back is useful if it allows us to see a fork we almost missed.