Recently, I was at a conference and got into a conversation with a woman who was inquiring about the work that I do. I told her I help creative entrepreneurs finish what they start, in other words follow through with their passion projects.
“Oh, that’s interesting!” she exclaimed, “I bet they need help with starting too, huh?”
I shook my head, “They start too much. That’s the issue!”
Except that as I sit here to write for the next 45 minutes, that’s not entirely truthful.
Chronic ‘starters’ do have trouble starting when they are aware of their history of quitting either too soon or too late and not being able to follow through with their passion projects.
They feel shame with the Instagram posts, “NEVER QUIT!” when they get that feeling in their stomach that they want to stop.
They want to feel fearless in their pursuit and continual commitment to their passion project, and if it doesn’t work out, they want to be able to stop without guilt.*
When the resistance to continuing your passion project gets thick--and it will--you have to decide whether or not to follow through . This is when you will ask yourself these two questions:
Does My ‘Why’ Still Work?
Your ‘WHY’ in this instance is why you started your passion project in the first place.
Example: I’m starting a live course for writers to finish their passion project because writing consistently is my EVEREST. I have half finished poems and blog posts hanging around like strings that I won’t cut and I think it will be the MOST USEFUL course that I can offer that will help the MOST AMOUNT of people in my readership, including me!
The values it most honors by continuing is growth, financial abundance, and creativity.
Also, if your purpose shifts and you’re no longer aligned with your Why. Lose the guilt around it! It’s a phantom feeling, maybe because you are used to feeling guilty when you quit. But guilt comes from being out of integrity with your values and obligations. If your why isn’t true for you. Then leave it on the steps of your Project Exit and don’t look back.
2. Am I Quitting in Fear or Love?
Create unconsciously until quitting time. Then quit consciously with no guilty conscience.
Make every choice a conscious one. The decision to quit should be no different. Recently I heard in Conversations with God - An Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch that there are only two emotions: fear and love. If you apply these emotions to choice as it pertains to quitting, it becomes quitting based on fear or quitting based on love.
Do not, I repeat, do not quit based on fear.
Ninety percent of people do. You will know because the fear will resemble resistance and your internal ‘gremlin’ takes over your mind with thoughts like this:
I don’t know enough to write about this.
I quit every, single time. Why would this time be any different?
This is garbage and I know it.
Who do I think I am putting garbage into the world? My target market aren’t trash collectors!
These questions are not coming from your higher self. And they don’t appear when you’re in your Zone of Genius--aka, that space where you are creating the passion project you love to do that also brings you joy and/or paychecks. They come from it getting really harrrrrrd (whiny resistance voice) and from when you were a kid and you got picked last in gym class and so it’s your mind’s way of protecting you from being embarrassed ever again. It was learned and ingrained. It happens to the best of us. Excuse me, it happens to ALL OF US.
Promise yourself that you will only quit in love.
This means quitting if it will help you better serve yourself and the people on whom you want to create the biggest impact.
Is continuing this passion project harming my health or wellbeing?
Does continuing this passion project limit or infringe upon my growth in an area that is TOP priority for me? Spiritual, financial, etc.
Is there something else that feels more aligned with my core values that I am being called on to pursue?
If you answer “yes” to any of the above questions, then by all means, quit.
*A note about guilt*
Merriam-Webster defines guilt as feelings of deserving blame especially for imagined offenses. [Insert thoughtful, chin-tapping emoji here.] Imagined offenses include “letting yourself down” by not seeing your passion project through to the end. If you must quit, at least commit to quitting without guilt. It didn’t serve your mother and it’s not serving you. When guilt does show up, acknowledge its presence, but don’t let it set up shop. Show yourself some kindness and then show guilt to the door.