No matter how motivated you are to do anything, there will always be a point when that motivation begins to falter. The drive to do this new habit, venture, behavior change, relationship or project isn’t as strong anymore. You want to give up. What do you do when you want to give up? How do you know if it’s time to give something up for real or if you should stick with it? We’ll answer all those questions in today’s podcast.
When people compare themselves to others and see that someone has something they desire, they often make the mistake of assuming that the other person has a better life than them. Have you ever felt like someone else had it easier than you? The people who already have the relationships, business or financial status you desire just have something that you don’t have, which inherently makes you feel either less worthy or in lack.
We think that if we just stop comparing ourselves to others that will solve the problem, so we start living with blinders and we keep to ourselves until one day, we see these other people again. We start to feel unworthy again and doubt ourselves, our progress or our ability.
I want you to think about a situation either right now or in the past where you are feeling like you want to give up. Got it? Now, instead of losing yourself in the emotions of failure or incompetency or resentment, just see it as if it wasn’t you – but as someone else. What do you now think about that situation looking in as a third party? You would likely hold more compassion towards that person, you would see their situation much more clearly. You would be more curious about the thoughts, habits and behaviors that have them feeling like they want to give up and be able to see what they have to learn about themselves in this experience.
The problem isn’t comparing ourselves to others who have more or better. The problem isn’t even that the situation is all bad. It’s that we aren’t seeing things clearly because our mind is fraught with emotions. We have a tendency with our very human brain to see things with fear to help keep us safe. The illusion is that the fear is more real than any other possibility that exists. When we are in fear, it is hard for us to decide if we should give up or not. We are fighting against our desire to stay comfortable.
In those situations, when you aren’t sure what to do – you will default to what you normally do and what you’ve done in the past.
You will default to your identity. Who you think you are as a person. If you think you’re typically a person that doesn’t keep going and make progress in your health, wealth or relationships – you likely won’t. If you think that you’re a person who defies the odds, then you likely will keep going.
This is why we work on identity a lot during my coaching work. It matters that you realize your patterns of behavior and how closely they are associated with your identity and self-image. These identities and self-image are also closely linked to what we think others think of us – so just when you think it’s all about you – you look around and realize that we’re also linked who we think we are to what we think we should be based on what we think others will accept and value.
It takes practice to start to undo these tangled webs and begin to simplify and clean up your thinking, but it is well worth the effort when you start to operate your life from a place of ownership. It is quite freeing to say the least, to have agency – which is what I hope for all of you who are listening or reading this as well.
Let’s begin with how we can unwind the giving up pattern that you might have in place so that we can learn to discern when it’s truly a good time to let something go, or if you are letting discomfort cost you the growth of staying with something.
The first thing to realize is that this feeling is temporary. We often think that there is a pain associated with doing something different or new that will last forever. Fortunately and unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. If you keep getting up in the morning at a certain time, you may not love it but it won’t be as painful and uncomfortable as it was the first 30 times you did it.
This is why if you only make decisions based upon how you feel, you’ll likely lose some of the gains of the thing you’re trying to do because you only do it when you feel like doing it. You won’t always feel like doing things. Why? Feelings are temporary. They are not permanent. One of the reasons we get stuck in a negative spiral of thought or behavior is because we start thinking things are permanent and have thoughts like “The terribleness is going to last forever. This pain will last forever. This discomfort is always going to be there and I will never feel good doing this.” None of this is true. Ground yourself in the fact that this feeling is temporary. You can keep going.
The difference between discomfort for short term gains and discomfort for long term gains is that you will be uncomfortable right now doing this, but you’d rather have that kind of discomfort then the one that comes from regret or feeling like you’re not the person you want to be in your life.
Once you realize you’re willing to feel discomfort – that this is normal and it passes, you can move onto the next step. Looking at losses versus gains.
Loss vs Gains
Now that we’re back to reality and removed ourselves from this notion that whatever we’re feeling will last forever, good or bad – let’s start to think about the situation you’re in with a bit more clarity.
You’ve likely started down this path for a reason. You thought you would gain something in the process. What was that? I want you to actually think about what you would gain.
There’s likely several things you wanted to gain. They are one of the reasons why you did this in the first place. Are those reasons still compelling you now?
If your situation has changed and those reasons no longer exist, then you won’t have anything moving you forward. Why do you need something to move you forward?
We won’t want to move towards something if there’s no momentum – which you likely may not be feeling right now – and if we feel like the loss outweighs the gain in this moment.
Loss feels like discomfort. It feels like vulnerability of trying something new or going for a goal or stepping into a different identity. It takes energy to do this and without the creation of energy that comes from seeing the gain and the benefit of this shift, you won’t want to keep going.
Ask yourself if the gain is still compelling. If it is, then realize that gains also come with the other part of life – a feeling of loss. You will lose an old identity, comfort or an old way of behaving – and it’s time to fill it with something new – which is exactly what you’re doing. This is why it feel strange or weird or different – because it’s new. Yet if you have gains that are worth it, you are not going to give up.
Now that you’re starting to see if you still have gains that are worthwhile, it’s time to come back to your purpose. If you don’t have a purpose, I want you to think about the reason why this matters. Why did you want to do this thing in the first place? Is that reason still valid and as strong as it was the first time you did it? If it’s not, then you may not have it in you to keep going.
Or, you have to come up with a stronger purpose. For me, when I get tired or doubtful, I think of serving a person. A single person who I know will be impacted by what I do. I go outside of myself to my connection to the world through the people around me. Through my family, or the thought of someone who needs help. For some of us, it’s the thought of breaking generational patterns or being the first person in your family to do something like this in this way.
You can’t underestimate the impact of how deep emotions like this can move you to action. When you realize that your actions have a ripple effect in the world, even though it seems small now – it can help you during those times when you’re in doubt and you don’t think it’s ever going to happen. I remember reading once that one person’s action affects at least 1000 other people’s lives. Your emotional state, sense of drive, optimism and joy pursuit affects others.
In summary, we will all have these moments when it doesn’t seem possible or you want to give up and no matter what you’ve achieved, you’re not going to automatically feel like everything is easy. You see the next challenge and obstacle once you pass this one. The success you desire isn’t what gives you certainty to keep going, because we’ve all had those moments where we’ve made certain amounts of money, or achieved certain physical health or relationship goals and we still feel challenged. We still feel like there’s something out there that’s hard or that maybe that was a fluke.
Your happiness and sense of drive isn’t going to come from achieving these things, it’s going to come from enjoying the pursuit and journey of who you are becoming along the way. It’s like you can see how you are on a hero’s journey and this is part of the journey. These tough moments are the things that you will overcome, not by beating yourself up – but by letting go of the idea that discomfort is bad and that it means something. You’re a human being. Let yourself feel human emotions and instead of pushing them away, just allow them to be there. Let fear hang out and be kind to yourself as if you were your own child. Comfort yourself, give yourself some support and encouragement and then try again.
It’s never too late to live the life you want to live and do the things you want to do – and often it’s these tiny actions taken when you want to give up that make all the difference.
This is what I teach my clients – how to have an unstoppable mindset – and we work on it through the leadership program as well so that it’s inevitable that we achieve what we want in our lives.
If this topic resonates with you and you want to see transformational results in your life, you’ll love coaching. Getting coached consistently is the spark that will light the fire of inspiration to make the change you’re looking to make. It is the first step in creating clarity, making a massive shift and moving obstacles out of your way so you can move forward. You can go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.