What I Know Now That I Wish I Knew Then

Quitter: a person who gives up easily or does not have the courage or determination to finish a task.

Ouch, online dictionary! How ‘bout this instead:

Quitter: a person who is brave enough to know that a situation is unhealthy and has the courage to move on to something better.

Now that’s more like it, with some explanation of course…

Transition can sure feel like failure, because you’re making a conscious decision to leave something behind in favor of something else. And when you leave IMG_1982something behind, it can look and feel a lot like giving up.

My first big transition-by-choice was my decision to transfer colleges after my freshman year. It was a huge move for me; leaving my friends behind, starting over on a new campus when everyone there had already made their freshman friends. I was apprehensive. But I also knew I had three years of college left, and I was not in the right place for me.

I had chosen a university where most other students had a post-graduation ten-year plan, while I didn’t even have a ten-minute plan. They were born with a declared major and there to hone their skills. I admired their certainty, but I needed to respect my own uncertainty. I craved a liberal arts environment with activism, experimentation and people with crazy big ideas who had no clue what they’d do when they graduated.

At the time, I had some well-meaning friends and advisors encouraging me to “stick it out” to “try to make it work.” So in addition to my anxiety about the logistics of starting over, I struggled with the notion of quitting, and all that implies. Was I a failure? Did I not have what it takes to make a tough situation work?

But I knew in my heart and in my gut that a change was best for me. I applied for transfer, I made the move, and I flourished at my new university. Any negative feelings quickly dissolved into conviction that I had made the right decision.

But those same feelings crept in again when I left my first so-completely-wrong-for-me job after graduation. That gnawing doubt – am I a quitter? Of course there are times when you need to stick with something and not abandon ship. So how could I be sure that this wasn’t giving up too easily?

The answer to that question is what I know now that I wish I knew then.

Transition comes from a place of power. It’s about moving forward with what works and leaving behind what doesn’t.

It comes down to understanding what’s at the core of your decision:

If what you’re doing now feeds your spirit, but presents some challenges…
If it’s exciting and invigorating, but sometimes frustrating…

That sounds to me like a time to dig in and stick it out.

But when your current situation is sapping all your energy and joy…
Or feels dead-end or soul-crushing…

Then, accepting the status quo becomes giving up. And “quitting” becomes the bravest decision you can make.
headshotJackie Davidson is a jewelry designer and owner of JackieDesigns.com. She creates her jewelry with the spirit and intent of inspiring women (including herself) to get their shine on — and live life in color. You can connect with Jackie at Facebook.com/JackieDesigns and Twitter.com/JackieDesigns7.

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