Trying to achieve any kind of dream is hard work, and seeing progress is the fun part. But there are times along the way when you may feel like chucking it in: the project stalls, you can’t see any forward momentum, or you’ve faced a massive disappointment. It’s completely natural to feel all the feels and want to give up. And yes, I’ve been there! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to give up. I’m still here to tell the tale, though, and right now I’m moving further towards my next goal more than ever before.
One of the reasons I was compelled to write this post was because, admittedly, I did have a recent period where I was ready to give up, and thankfully I didn’t. I wished, however, that someone had been able to give me the sort of pep talk I’m about to give you…and thus this blog post was born. So here’s some of the things I’ve learned about wanting to give up, and how to reset it and move forward:
Acknowledge that you want to give up…but do something about it: I think we’re conditioned to want to eliminate all the bad stuff and just be happy. But putting on a brave face can sometimes be worse than if we faced the issue head-on. So you want to give up? Acknowledge how you’re feeling. Say it if you have to. And then ask yourself why you want to give up.
Here’s an idea: Set a timer, grab a piece of paper and a pen (or open a document on your tablet/computer) and write for 5 minutes. Don’t judge it, just let whatever comes through come through for you. After 5 minutes, look at what you wrote down. Is there anything on the list that you can do something about so you don’t quit?
Let me give you an example: let’s say you want to give up on your dream of working for yourself, and one of the things you wrote down was that you can’t get enough time to do online courses that could help you. How can you change that? Look at the way your day is scheduled and see where you can make changes. Can you exchange a few episodes of Orange is the New Black for time dedicated to an online course? Being proactive when it comes to the things that make you want to give up can give you renewed momentum and help you to turn things around.
Take a break: true story- a year before Film Sprites PR came into being, I was studying, working, and networking. Not uncommon when you’re changing career, but I was so driven and determined that I took it to the extreme. I would be up until midnight, writing, networking, chasing leads, then I’d be working 8 hours in a day job the next day. Then I’d come home, pull out my textbooks, do my assignments, and subsequently continue networking again from about 9:00pm until midnight. And on and on it went. Weekends? Fugheddaboutit.
As a result, I caught a cold that turned to the worst case of bronchitis I have ever experienced. And I crashed. In fact, when my niece and her dad came down to stay with us on holiday, I couldn’t get out of bed for most of the time. She would show me souvenirs from her day trips and say: “I hope you can come next time”….and it broke my heart. There will be times when you do have to amp up your efforts, but don’t sacrifice your physical and mental wellbeing for it. Sometimes, when we want to give up it can be a subtle sign that what we really need is rest. Put things aside for a day, a week, a year. Have social media-free days. When you give yourself a break, regardless of the time period, chances are you are going to come back to your goal with renewed energy, vigor and inspired ideas.
Remember WHY you started: if I had to give just one piece of advice, this would be it. So often we get caught up in the minutiae of goals. Sometimes, we can seem completely adrift from what it was we wanted to do in the first place. When you’re wanting to give up, that’s the absolute best time to remember why you started. Write it down, blog about it, revisit whatever it was that inspired you to achieve your dreams and goals. Does that WHY still resonate with you? If it does, go forward bravely. If it doesn’t, that’s okay too- you might want to try the techniques above and re-evaluate or tweak your goal. Our goals change with us, because our lives change. Some dreams stay relevant, some transform and grow as we do.
It’s OK to ask for what you want: one of my favourite people in the entire world is singer/songwriter/performer Amanda Palmer. In fact, just prior to establishing Film Sprites PR I watched her TED talk The Art of Asking…which prompted me to hop on Twitter and ask filmmakers I knew if they needed publicity and digital marketing for their films (and thus Sprites was born!). Subsequent to the TED talk, Amanda wrote a brilliant book of the same name. I thoroughly recommend seeking out both, because whether you’re an artist, an entrepreneur, a filmmaker or a dreamer they are indispensable on your journey. Which brings us to our next point, in an albeit rambly way: ASK. Whether it’s reaching out to a potential mentor to help you so you don’t want to quit, or asking for volunteers to help lighten your load, don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need.
And remember: if you want to give up on a dream or goal- that’s fine too! Ultimately, you are the best judge of what is right for you. No matter what your decision, just know that you’ve got one big supporter here.