All my life, people have praised me for being “determined” like it’s a good thing. And it can be. Being determined has helped me achieve a lot. But sometimes, it holds me back.
Sometimes it’s good to quit. To give up. To move on.
And I’m really bad at that.
The Side Project
Earlier this year someone asked me to help them with a project. It wasn’t totally in line with my goals, but it sounded interesting and I had just finished another project so I had some time to fill.
It took a couple months for the work to get going. By that point, I was traveling a lot. Exciting things were happening with Music Studio Startup. And this little side project just kept getting pushed to the back burner.
I could always find other tasks to spend my time on. By the time I finished the things I needed to do, my creative energy was spent and I had no more juice to spend on this side project.
My initial reaction was to cut back on my main work so I could spend more time on the side project. If I spent the first half-hour of every day working on the project, I could get it done. But then I stepped back and started wondering why the project felt like such a burden in the first place.
I started asking myself these questions:
- Does the project use my skills?
- Does it challenge me in an exciting way?
- Does it get me closer to where I want to be in three years?
This side project wasn’t exactly aligned with my skills. I was asked to help because I was good at the work, but it wasn’t work I loved. The project challenged me, but not in a way that made me excited to tackle it. The project definitely didn’t align with any of my long-term goals.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that my priorities had not been out of line. My main work really was the more important work for me to be doing. Cutting back on teaching or Music Studio Startup to work on a distracting side project would not have been the right move.
Once I realized this, the decision was obvious. I needed to quit this project.
Here’s to Quitting!
So this week I set aside any guilt or feelings of “giving up” and let my partner on the project know that I needed to step down. There’s a better person for the project and I don’t have the passion to do it justice. I don’t want to stand in the way of it getting done.
And you know what?
I feel great. I feel free. I feel such a sense of purpose and focus in the work I am putting my energy toward because I know it’s the right work.
Sometimes the side projects are the important things and I need to adjust my schedule to make them more of a priority in my day-to-day life. This was not one of those times. No, this was a time where determination and an aversion to quitting was keeping me from seeing the big picture.
So here’s to quitting! Quitting the things that hold us back and keeping tabs on even our “good” qualities so they don’t lead us astray.