Why I Learned to Quit (and you should, too)

Why I Learned to Quit

Gobbles aren't quitters.

First: Yes, my maiden name was "Gobble." (Have at it with the jokes.)

This mantra is something that's floated through my mind my whole life.

Even as I'm writing this post, I honestly can say this mindset has served me quite well.

  • It helped me realize, even though I had to practice and train more than many of the girls on my team in volleyball—I could do that. I had that choice.

  • It helped me give everything more than a “good college try.” I pursued a music major + career, working at Starbucks (with full intent of rising to the corporate level), CrossFit (and then I tried it again, four years later), being a personal chef (ha), writing fiction (again, ha), all to realize that what I DON’T WANT to do is just as important as what I DO.

  • It gave me the courage to go after a program coordinator position in a fancy school district, having NEVER set foot into a classroom. 22 years old, and determined to get a job, I tracked down the principal I’d never met at his lunch spot and told him why I was the unconventional choice, but the BEST person for the job. He VERY SWEETLY let me know that the position required at least 10 years experience and a masters degree, but if a regular teaching position popped up, he would let me know first thing. The next day, I had my first time full-salaried job offer.

Okay, so this mentality has served me well in pursuing some big, albeit CRAZY things. But I’ve landed so many opportunities in my life and career because of two things:

  1. I asked.

  2. I kept going longer than most people were willing to.

Somewhere along the way, it became less about doing things well, and more about doing things best. It became less about RIGHT, and more about... well... MORE.

They might be more talented, but I can do MORE. I'll show up. I'll learn. I'll adapt. THEN you'll notice me.

The pursuit of endless opportunities resulted in my addiction to being the GO-TO GIRL, often at the expense of… well… everything else.

It cost me my sanity.

It cost me time invested in my marriage, friendships, creative pursuits.

It cost me real growth in the areas I most wanted to invest in, because I was busy invest and REACTING to EVERYTHING that was asked of me.

Riddled with anxiety, and a DESPERATE need to be validated by everyone who crossed my path, God had to do some crazy work in me to peel back the layers.

Over Christmas Break of 2017, feeling in the midst of a painful breaking point, I heard my very soul begin to question, “Who said you have to do all of this? Who said you have to pursue that? Who said you can’t change paths?”

The layers started shredding to pieces with one simple email I sent on our drive back home from Christmas. I had a speaking engagement later that month, and I simply sent an email that said, “I’m so sorry, but I won’t be able to do it this time around. Thanks for understanding.”

My gut reaction was to explain, but my soul work reminded me that I don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why I’m choosing to live differently.

I knew, deep down:

I want margin, FOR THE SAKE OF SPACE, not in the interest of a capacity for more.

I want to pursue what matters and what fills me up. Both are possible, but not on every road you walk.

After that email—and the gracious response I received—I started peeling more things back.

I peeled back responsibility, extraneous stuff, faulty views I had of myself that were keeping me from moving forward.

I think I’m hooked, and I really think you should try it, too.

I'm calling this The Year of Quitting.

10 months ago, it was a value of mine to NEVER EVER QUIT ANYTHING.

I'm intentionally shifting my values so I can truly say, I quit things that don't matter so I’ll never have to quit the things that do.

Two small things I’ve quit this year:

  1. Responding immediately. I am the QUEEN of communication, but not because I always enjoy it. (I weirdly do love email, but that’s a story for another day.)

    As soon as a message comes my way, I feel eternally obligated to respond, for fear of letting the other person down.

    I had to ask myself: Do I expect people I contact to respond IMMEDIATELY? No.

    Do I hate them if they don’t respond immediately? No. (Mostly 😂)

    So why am I holding myself to a higher standard than everyone else? What would happen if I didn’t respond to things that didn’t need a response, and waited until I was finished with my tasks to respond to everything else? So, now I batch communication, and send FAR FEWER text messages, emails, etc. It feels lighter, and nobody’s yelled at me, or cursed me behind my back. (Actually, I don’t know that. BUT, that’s yet another thing I’m quitting.)

  2. Climbing higher just to be noticed. I have this habit of taking the next step just because staying in one place feels unacceptable. Like it says in The Power of Habit, habits have three components: Cue, Routine, and Reward.

    For me, The Cue was seeing another step, one more thing to add on. The Routine was to ADD that thing on, learn it, master it. The Reward was being noticed, acknowledged, seen as worthy of praise.

    It was why I started grad school, why I took speaking engagements, why my natural tendency is to add and stack and keep pressing on when maybe I just need to step back and focus on doing one thing really well, and taking a coffee break or two in between.

    I want to find joy from within, relishing in the abundant life that I have time to enjoy instead of continuing to bury myself in tasks and achievements until I hear someone say, “Wow! I can’t believe you’re managing all of that! That’s amazing!”

One thing I want to quit NOW (not as a New Year’s Resolution):

I want to quit pursuing perfection in others’ eyes so that I can spend time connecting with them instead.

My desire for perfection gets in the way of relationships on every front for me. It also gets in the way of making changes in my business in a way that JUST SERVES PEOPLE, because I’m focused on what is going to make it look and feel absolutely perfect.

I want to have people over to our house for dinner, even in the midst of renovation mode.

I want to chat with industry friends with no agenda but to get to know them better.

I want to be willing to become more of a listener than an expert, and be confident in the fact that it will serve people well.

Action Step:

What are you choosing to quit? Pick just one thing to say “goodbye” to today, and rejoice in your freedom to make that decision and create space for more of not just the good stuff, but the RIGHT stuff.

If you’re having trouble, ask yourself these questions:

What feels like a burden right now?

Who said I have to do that?

Who said I have to do it in the same way I’m doing it right now?

What can I let go to make more room?

PLEASE share your next step with me in the comments or tag me over on Instagram (@jessjordana) so I can cheer you on and share with the masses!

Also, feel free to DM me. I’m a fan of other people who stalk Insta stories, so don’t be shy!

Jess, XO


I'm Jess,

iced-coffee-obsessed, saved-by-grace, allergic-to-small talk, and one of the biggest dreamers you’ll ever meet.