Ever feel like quitting?
Ep. 93: Pressing pause (+ a time-sensitive thing)
“If you don’t like it, just stop 🤷🏻♀️”
This is the advice a friend’s mum gave to me when I was grumbling about my management job several years ago.
“Easy for you to say,” I thought. “I can’t just quit. It’s my job!”
Professionals don’t quit. Reliable people don’t quit. We “just need to make it through the next 2 weeks” on repeat until we retire.
Ironically, I was probably complaining about inefficient management processes that couldn’t be changed because that’s how it had always been done. “Why can’t we just stop?” Ha.
Obviously, I did leave in the end. And since I set up shop on my own, I can honestly say I’ve never felt like quitting. Probably because I know I can “just stop” (or change) anything that isn’t working, at any time.
Bells-and-whistles service not profitable? Just stop offering the full shebang. Pare it down to something that generates a better ROI for you and your client.
Regular client keeps paying late? Just stop working with them. Or add a late payment fee to your contract. (Or accept their “quirk” and quit taking it personally – that’s a choice too.)
Always rushing to meet unreasonable deadlines? Just stop underestimating your turnaround times or saying “yes” when every bone in your body is telling you to add an extra week to your timeline.
Easy for me to say, right? I know it’s not always that simple. We need to plan our pivots and psych ourselves up to put boundaries in place. But the point is, no matter how icky it feels, we still get to decide. We don’t have to follow someone else’s playbook.
Freelancing = freedom to run things the way you want. If something isn’t working, you can just stop and figure out a different way. You’re in control, so there’s really nothing to complain about 😉
Quitting things you enjoy
Saying no to something or stopping a process or task that isn’t a great fit can be hard enough. But what if you feel like you need to stop something that you actually really enjoy?
In this TEDx talk, he talks about the dangers of having too many goals. It’s a common pitfall for creative types – we’re excited by novelty. We’re curious birds. We want to find out what happens if…
But when the opportunities are endless, you end up with too many interests and goals.
The wordsmiths among you will know that the word priority comes from the Latin prioritas, meaning “first in rank”. Well, unless you’re doing a Canadian barn dance, only one thing can be at the front of the line. If you have more than one priority, you have no priority. (And maybe that’s fine?!)
Baker says that if you have too many goals, it’s time to prune the list or you won’t achieve any of them.
(One of those obviousisms that somehow hits harder when someone else says it)
Pruning the stuff you like can be a tough process though. How do you balance competing priorities (oh there’s that word again) between the things you want to do and the things you realistically can do?
A couple of weeks ago I posted episode 93 of the 15 Minute Freelancer podcast. (Thanks for all the lovely comments!) After 2 years and nearly 27k downloads later, I shared that I was taking a break. It’s only a podcast, no biggie. But when you pour your energy into something you’ve enjoyed week in, week out, hitting the brakes feels like a big decision.
As much as I enjoyed the process, I was slowly realising that there are other goals I want to focus on for the next wee while, so I’m pressing pause on this one for now.
If you're pondering a similar conundrum about how to move forwards (or not) with a particular project, you might find this episode helpful. I shared some questions that might help you decide when to quit/take a break/power on, along the following themes:
Enjoyment vs. value to others
Scaling back vs. quitting altogether
Sunk costs vs. maintaining momentum
Filling up your creativity cup
Keeping the goal the goal!
If you're feeling like you have too many goals, if you're feeling pulled towards something new and exciting, if you feel like something you're doing isn't quite the right fit anymore – you can just stop.
It's okay to press pause and not be sure if or when you’ll hit play again.
Listen here »
All the episodes will stay up so you can listen whenever you like. And I’ll keep you in the loop here from time to time, so feel free to hang around.
Otherwise, I’ll see you on LinkedIn, and I'm always here to answer your questions/offer a sounding board if you need it 😊
(Speaking of LinkedIn, have you heard that Sophie Cross’ excellent LinkedIn For Humans course is back on sale? I took it a while back and it’s paid for itself multiple times over. And now it’s had a glow up, so definitely worth checking out if you want to make LinkedIn fun and find new/easy ways to connect with potential clients. I’ve got a referral link here if ya wanna support two birds with one, err, worthwhile course purchase. It’s only on sale until Fri 3 March so move now if you want to join the coolest group on LI – see you there?)
(And if you’re on the LinkedIn train, you might enjoy this episode where I talked to Dave Harland about being a LinkedIn celeb.)
Thanks to everyone who has supported the podcast so far. Until next time (whenever or wherever that is), happy freelancing!