If you clicked this headline, you’re likely looking for a change and quitting has crossed your mind.

There’s something about the phrase “I quit” that provokes a degree of anxiety. The culture of achievement most of us grew up with, systematically discourages walking away from ANYTHING. Career, relationships, money, health; it’s the same story over and over. Quitters never win. To reap the benefits of any investment you’ve got to commit and stay the course, even when things don’t feel right.

But should you stick to “the plan” and stay the course when your gut is telling you something is off?

Rocking the boat is scary, but committing to a sinking ship, just for the sake of it, is far worse.

You gotta know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em. Oh yes, this Texan is not too proud to quote Kenny Rogers and “The Gambler.” However wise the lyrics might be, the song fails to illustrate just how exactly we’re supposed to know when it’s time to fold. (Ahh the ambiguity of country music metaphors.)

Luckily, we have One Idea Away and this month’s Livecast to point us in the right direction.

This month on the OIA Livecast, Luke lorio dives head first into a candid conversation with certified positive psychology coach Alison Deutsch, executive and career coach Nina Cashman, and the founder of “The Alcoholic Next Door,” Andrew Michinard as they share their experiences with quitting and what it takes to dig deep, get gritty, and reframe the way you look at “quitting.”

Below is a simple, three-step process we distilled from the LIVECAST panel. Perhaps this can help you to uncover if it’s time to walk away so you can make a new play. Read on to get a taste of the conversation or watch the full replay and let us know what you think in the OIA Facebook community.

Stop Tolerating and Rationalizing

Unless you’re a glutton for pain, you probably have a good reason for being where you are. When we commit to a job, a relationship, or a habit, we almost always have a “good” reason for it.

“I had no idea until I entered the iPEC coaching program and started taking some of the assessments, how much of a world-class rationalizer I was.”

Alison Deutsch, who is now a certified coach in positive psychology, says each of the choices she used to make, those that required her to sacrifice what she truly wanted for the status quo, was usually followed by a rationalization of why it was ok.

“I was putting everybody’s needs before my own, and I would tell myself, this is the ‘right’ thing to do for my family. It’s OK. I can handle it . . . it’ll get better. I kept hearing myself tell this story over and over again.”

Often we create these stories to cope with the unhappiness we experience. This feeling of discontent and disconnect from ourselves and what we truly want is typically the result of a choice we’ve made to tolerate something about ourselves, others, or the life we’re living that we really don’t like.

“Yes, it helped me to cope with some of the challenges I was going through in my life but in essence, it kept me stuck. It was a story I kept replaying in my mind. It narrowed the vision of what I could see and didn’t open me to all the other options and choices I had because I kept repeating this story over and over again.”

What stories do you tell yourself to keep in line? How do these limiting beliefs help you to cope? How do they also hold you back?

Take a few minutes to write out (in brief bullets) the aspects of your life that you’re unhappy with. Is it your job, a relationship, your commitment to your health? What story have you created to cope with the discontent you feel?

Now ask yourself how true is it really that this is the way it “has to be.” If you dropped the story of how it “has to or should be” what would you do differently? How would it feel to change things up? What opportunities might open up to you if you shifted this mindset or at the very least became more conscious of the stories and how they might prevent you from seeing other options?

Align Yourself with Your Values and Passions

At one point or another, we’ve all experienced being stuck in a rut. Our routines and habits can unintentionally sabotage our efforts to live in alignment with our values and passions. Who you are, what you genuinely care about, what you’re passionate about, and how you make decisions—each is intrinsically tied to your personal values.

When you feel like you’re stuck in a rut or disconnected from what you’re doing, it’s likely that you’re no longer living in alignment with your values.

“Pain is the great motivator. Eventually, you get to a point where enough is enough and you have to make a change,” Andrew says.

Take the time to self-reflect and learn what is truly important to you. What motivates you? What inspires you to take action? List out 3-5 values. Now ask yourself how you’re incorporating these value into your daily life. Go ahead and rate yourself on a scale of 1-to-10, with “1” being not at all and “10” being completely aligned.

If you’re not at all incorporating your values with what you do, how can you start? If you are, but it’s not at a nine or 10, how can you create a space where you can connect even more with your values and amplify their expression. If there is no way to connect with your values, you may want to ask yourself if it’s time to change courses and shift priorities.

Take a Leap and Trust Yourself

Don’t wait for the world to be ready. There is no such thing as the “right time” or perfect conditions. Life is always inevitably going to happen.

The trick to making a change in your life is getting real with your limiting beliefs (and how they hold you back), aligning with your values authentically, and then going for it. There is no such thing as failure. There are only results. Get comfortable with experimenting; only then will you uncover the exact combination that will get you the results that you’re after. When you’re willing to be curious and learn from experimentation, the circumstances of how you do it become less critical.

“You’ve got to be patient, and you’ve got to be willing to be a small fish in a big pond . . . over and over again,” Nina says. “That’s how we learn when we make leaps. Allow yourself to flop, this is not a straight shot. Try a lot of things. You’re going to learn from all of it.”

Let your purpose, passion, and curiosity light you up. Is it scary? Hell yeah! No one said this was easy. The unknown scares us all. Don’t let your fear deter you. Trust yourself enough to experiment. Only then will you have a shot at achieving the results you desire. Ultimately, humans are creative and resilient beings. We all innovate and make things work, regardless of our circumstances or what happens.

“If we know in our hearts that what we want is on the other side of that ledge, then it’s time for us to jump off of it,” Nina explains.

“When we do, we look back and wonder why the heck it took us so long.”

Written by Shaunlee Robben
Photo Credit: rawpixel, Unsplash.com

Also published on Medium.