Kent Sanders | Unlock Your Creative Potential

Unlock Your Creative Potential

Need to Quit? These 7 Truths Will Give You the Courage

Do you feel stressed out because of too many commitments? Conventional wisdom says you just need to manage your time better or work harder. But the answer is not in working smarter or harder. It’s in quitting.

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I recently stepped down from a part-time position at my church. It was a tough decision because I hate to disappoint people and I love my church. However, I knew I couldn’t continue doing it long-term because of my other commitments.

We should honor God, honor others, and honor our calling. Sometimes the best way to do that is to quit. If you need to step out of a job or position, these seven truths will help give you the courage to follow through.

Truth #1: Quitting will help you break free from approval addiction.

You can’t go through life always worrying about what others think. If you are constantly worried about offending someone, look deep into your heart and ask why it’s so important to have that person’s approval. Don’t let others hold you emotionally hostage.

For my further thoughts on why you shouldn’t be worried about everyone’s approval, click the link below:

4 Things You Should Stop Doing This Year

Truth #2: Quitting will give you courage and momentum.

When you make a tough decision and risk someone’s disapproval, it will give you courage to live from passion rather than fear. It will also give you momentum to keep going in the right direction.

Truth #3: Quitting will show others you are serious about your dreams.

For 18 years I told my wife I was going to write and book and get it published. There came a point at which she didn’t believe me because I wasn’t backing up my words with action. When you take decisive action it will show others you are truly serious about pursuing your passion.

Truth #4: Quitting can open up an opportunity for someone else.

We usually think of quitting in terms of how it benefits us, but it can also benefit others. When we leave a position, it will open up an opportunity for someone else. Staying in a position too long can actually rob someone else of a chance to learn and grow.

Case in point: when I stepped out of my church position it gave a younger leader an opportunity to develop his skills. That was a win for everybody.

Truth #5: Quitting will free up mental energy for your passions.

I love the Chinese proverb: “The man who chases two rabbits catches neither.” If you’re overextended, reduce your commitments so you can focus on a few key things.

But how do you figure out what those key things should be? I have struggled with this myself. Click the links below to check out a couple of posts where I dig into this issue:

4 Keys to Choosing the Right Creative Projects. I Completely Blew #4

10 Questions to Help You Discover Your Life Purpose

Truth #6: Quitting will reduce your stress.

Stress can cause serious health problems, including high blood pressure, chest pain, and sleeping problems. When we feel stressed, we tend to seek relief in unhealthy ways, including overeating and binging on entertainment (among other things). Quitting is not just a time management issue; it can also be a matter of life and death.

Truth #7: Quitting will make you happier.

Sometimes we talk about pursuing happiness as if it’s a selfish thing. Of course, your goal in life shouldn’t just be to seek your own happiness or comfort. But when you are operating in your strength zone and you have healthy margin in your life, that’s when you’re the happiest. It’s also when you’re the most productive and fruitful.

Don’t Misunderstand Me

I’m not saying you should immediately quit everything that’s difficult or unfulfilling in your life. I’m also not suggesting that you quit your marriage or doing anything irresponsible or irrational.

You shouldn’t make a major decision without first talking it through with your spouse and a few other wise people. Then when you’ve made a decision to move out of a role (whether paid or volunteer), you should do everything in your power to help make it a smooth transition for everyone.

For instance, my decision to quit my church job was carefully measured and the transition was planned out in detail. I didn’t just decide to quit one day and then announce, “I’m done!” the next Sunday.

One More Thing

Just to be clear, this isn’t a post directed in any way toward church positions. In my case, I needed to step out of my part-time church job. However, it could very well be that some reading this need to quit something so they can give more time to their ministry. It all depends on your specific situation and season of life.

Bottom line: You may not be able to quit right now. But if you need to make a change, start developing a plan and a timeline. The world needs men and women who are doing their best creative work because they’re operating within their strengths and passions.

Have you had a recent experience in quitting? What did you learn?

About Kent Sanders

I help people unlock their God-given creative potential. I live with my wife and son in St. Peters, MO. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube.

  • Great post, Kent. When I do spiritual gifts seminars, I talk about the 65-35 Stewardship Principle (courtesy of Paul Ford). This is not a mathematical formula, it’s just a statement that the majority of our time should be focused on what God has called us to do. Unfortunately, in the church we have a culture that fosters guilt for “quitting” the things we know are not conducive to staying focused on the things we know should be priority. Thanks for helping to take the guilt out of the equation.

    • Lisa, thanks for commenting. I appreciate it. I’ve never heard of the 65/35 principle, but that makes a lot of sense. Without having read anything more than what you mentioned, I believe there are seasons in life when a much higher percentage could be focused on your priorities. Depends on the persona, situation, etc. Right now I’m in a period where I’m basically saying “no” to pretty much everything except my teaching job, and writing/blogging/networking, etc.

      • Oh, yeah, 65% is just a starting point. Although, the 35% does include “chores” with the philosophy “we all have to do chores” and pitch in to get things done.

        • Right – I think that’s important to keep in mind. We all have to do things that aren’t our “focus” but that are necessary just as a part of serving the church, our families, etc. The trouble is sometimes distinguishing between those parts. 🙂