WOrk + life
and you shouldn't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise
by Brittany Taylor
published May 17, 2018
updated May 24, 2018
¶ Racism. Bigoty. Misogyny. Homophobia. Transphobia. Abuse. Cheating. Stealing.
There are plenty of reasons to shame someone. Quitting isn’t one of them.
As a baby boss new to online business, the Being Boss Facebook Group (now defunct, but based around their excellent podcast, which is available here) was the first community I joined that made me feel like I wasn’t in this alone. One of many positive messages I heard there was that if your business isn’t working for you, it’s OK to step away from it.
Psst! Get the scoop on the best online boss communities
¶ It was reassuring to know that I could slam on the brakes if I needed to. It made me feel more secure in the risks I was taking and more willing to step out of my comfort zone. The reassurance that, if this wasn’t right, I could choose to stop—and that was OK, that was the right choice to make—that little nugget might be the most valuable lesson I’ve learned from Kathleen Shannon and Emily Thompson so far.
Today, several years and many questionable choices later, that lesson, “It’s OK to quit,” continues to comfort me and empower me to make brave business choices.
But that assurance I gained from my friends and teachers at Being Boss is now at odds with one that is floating around the Instagram hivemind. Over the last few months, my feed has been flooded with graphics shaming bosses for quitting, encouraging them to push on, to hustle harder until it works, to keep struggling, to stick with it no matter what.
Quit-shaming graphics infuriate me.
It’s not just that they’re full of shit. It’s more than that. The big reason these images sent me into a hate-scrolling spiral of Insta-rage is that they undermine the support system the online boss community provides. When I was starting out, that support system kept me going. I refuse to let it fail a new crop of online business owners.
¶ Nobody knows your life and your work like you do. No one can put themselves in your shoes. No one can imagine what you’re going through. No one can look at your situation and say, no, you’re weak for making that decision.
Not a friend. Not a mentor. Not a customer. Not a client. Not someone you follow on Instagram. Not a podcaster. Not an author. Not a webinar host.
Nobody has the where-with-all to know whether you should stay or go.
You are the captain of your ship, my friend. You started on this path by yourself, and you’re the only one who gets to decide if and when it’s time for you to change course.
Because that’s what quitting is. It’s not giving up. It’s not sitting your butt down on the couch and refusing to move. It’s not locking yourself away from your dreams. It’s choosing a different path.
Some people will try to tell you never to give up. Some will insist that only the strongest, the most talented, the ones who want it the most will stick with it long enough to succeed.
That’s not true.
The ones who succeed are the ones who have made difficult, risky choices. And sometimes, those choices include quitting.
Quitting a business doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes. It’s not giving up on your dreams.
Quitting is just another hard choice in a series of hard choices that you have to make in order to do the work you want to do and to live the life you want to live.
Often, quitting is what happens when you see a better road to achieving your goals. That’s not shameful or cowardly. That’s smart. That’s good. That’s the way you should be running your life.
¶ Before you read the list, I want to tell you one important thing: You don’t need to. You don’t need 12 good reasons to quit your business. You don’t need a reason at all.
It’s your business. You can choose to stop running it whenever you want to. You don’t need to justify it, and you shouldn’t be judged for it—not now, not ever.
Still, I get that sometimes, you need a little validation to help you make a difficult decision. Sometimes, you’re a little too close to the problem, and you need someone else’s help to pull back and figure out what it is you should choose to do next.
That’s the purpose of this list.
These 12 reasons are just the beginning. There are infinitely more reasons bosses have decided to quit their businesses.
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¶ Use this list as a tool to help you figure out what your best path forward is. Use it to figure out what your business isn’t doing for you. Then, carefully consider the difference choices you could make to fulfill that need. Quitting is one of those choices, of course. Whether it’s the best one for your situation is up to you.
What has work and life taught me?