06 Dec When I Feel Like Quitting
When I find myself craving a change, I start to stress. I overthink and become paralyzed by the thought of making the wrong decision. There is a single question playing over and over in my mind: “What should I do?” Why can I never seem to find the stop button? As I desperately scroll through the contacts on my phone to find the perfect friend to call and ask for advice, my inner voice whispers, “Nobody else has the answer and they can’t tell you what to do.” Somehow, I know that voice is right.
What am I supposed to do? Why won’t the right answer magically appear and make the world right again? Since that never happens, my mind continues to race as questions dance around my brain:
Should I throw out my work and get a ‘real’ job?
Should I offer a new service?
Should I focus on finding love instead of business?
Should I just throw everything I own into my car and move away to start fresh?
I can get a little dramatic at times.
I often feel as though I am the lead in a romantic comedy where the main character is desperately searching for meaning and a plan for her life. Unfortunately, my journey doesn’t include the ridiculously handsome Chris Pratt, an awesome soundtrack, or a montage of my decision making process. It has definitely never ended with the man of my dreams grabbing for the same latte at the adorable bistro down the street.
How to Break The Habit
It used to take me days, sometimes weeks, to snap out of this kind of indecisive thinking. Fortunately, I discovered how to ditch those crazy thoughts and get back to my action-taking self. I forced myself to ask better questions. Instead of asking questions without an answer, I started to focus on my desired outcome. Begin with the end in mind. To do this, I started replacing “What ‘should’ I do?” with questions like:
What do I want my business to look like in 6 or 12 months?
How can I better serve my clients and others?
What do I want to contribute to the world that nobody else can?
Today, when I starting ‘should-ing’, I remind myself of these three things:
- Do Good Work That Inspires Others to Take Action
I have worked with small business owners and professionals for over 15 years. Working with clients one-on-one or in a group and watching them experience an “aha” moment because of something I said absolutely brightens my world. Those are the moments when I truly feel like my work matters.When do you feel like you’re creating meaningful work?
When I get advice, often unsolicited, from others telling me I should focus on building a huge following, writing a book, or changing my business model, those feelings of ‘should’ come rushing back. I begin to think, “Do they have the answer? Am I doing the right work? Should I be focusing on something else?”
Understanding my own habits and sometimes wacky entrepreneurial mind, makes it easier for me to stop before I end up starting a new project or work that feels forced. When I fall into the ‘should trap’, I now crawl out pretty quick.
- Focus on the Community I Serve
In our social media crazed world where marketers tell us to be everywhere, build huge email lists, and get as many followers as possible, it’s easy to start focusing on numbers instead of the human beings we can help. After reading Kevin Kelly’s 1,000 True Fans, I became more committed than ever to focus on finding and serving my community.The number of followers we have doesn’t determine our self-worth. Finding our community, no matter how big or small, and making an impact in their lives is doing fulfilling and meaningful work. When we lose sight of that, we are doing a disservice to ourselves and them.
- I Can Do Anything, but I Can’t Do Everything
During lunch with my good friend Jeremy, I shared some of my conflicting ideas, telling him I didn’t know what I ‘should’ do. You know those people who just get your crazy? He is that for me. After paying the bill he took the receipt, wrote something on the back and slid it to my side of the table. It said “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” This David Allen quote has become a staple in many of the presentations I give to small business owners.Why? If there’s one thing I’ve learned working with entrepreneurs for so many years, it’s that we are all trying to do too much at once.
Everyone is full of ideas, dreams, and aspirations. However, we cannot be great at all of them all at once. We have to choose which things are most important in our lives and focus on them. Does this mean our focus won’t shift? Of course not. In fact, based on my experience, priorities will often change, especially after feedback I receive from clients. The more actions I take, the more opportunities open up. It’s exciting. This is when things I could never dream up myself start happening: collaborations, unexpected business, or maybe even meeting the man of my dreams at the coffee shop.
Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Reminding myself of these three things helps put everything into perspective when I find myself ‘should-ing’. If you’re still reading, thank you. I truly hope you found this helpful! I would love to know how you stop yourself ‘should-ing’ when making decisions. Please comment below to let me know. Or better yet, connect with me on Twitter or Instagram and let’s keep this conversation going.