When Bay suggested quitting as the theme for this month, I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea. Everyone contemplates quitting from time to time, and it's certainly a theme that we can all relate to. Except, I realized I have a really hard time relating to it, because I don't usually quit. As I sat in a coffee shop this weekend, wondering what to write about, I realized something about my relationship to quitting. I quit in spirit, but never in body.
If I tell you that something will get done, you can be certain that it will. That's a great quality to have in an employee, a leader, or a team member. The problem is that I frequently quit spiritually long before I've completed the task.
The result is that I end up being like a hyper-efficient zombie, marching through the strides and taking on what needs to be done. Completely joyless, completely uninterested. It's not that the work doesn't get done, it's that I get resigned to the result, and then there can be nothing new.
From this place, I'm operating under the model that it doesn't really matter if I don't want to do the work, or if I'm no longer enjoying it - I've said I would do it, and so I must do it.
Resign eliminates the possibility of joy
Resign is a bit of a killer. You can see that once I've become resigned, there's no longer any room for change. Change no longer matters, because things have to get done, and I've agreed to do them.
If I was still taking things on from the place of creating a win/win, then I would refuse to simply act from a place of "screw it, let's just finish this". I would seek support, brainstorm alternatives, and come up with other ways and places to come from.
So, while I haven't quit the task at hand, I've quit any commitment I had to making it fun, or to having it be a win for everyone involved.
I haven't quit physically — I've quit spiritually and emotionally.
My people, the high-performers? They've mastered this. In fact, if you're a high-performer, you're probably actively doing this kind of thing somewhere in your life, more likely than not in multiple places.
[Tweet "If you're a high-performer, you're likely operating over top of resign. #leadership"]
High-performers create stories that performance equals love, or success, or something else important. And then they get resigned to that result. It stops being about creating something that is a win for both them and the rest of the people in their lives.
And what do you do when you have are committed to something that you have spiritually and emotionally given up on? You keep doing it, and you look for new toys and distractions to create what is missing.
We turn to things like fast cars, liquor, gadgets, and expensive houses and vacations. There's nothing wrong with any of these intrinsically, but when they are being used as a substitute for something that is fundamentally missing, they become opiates. They stop being joyful in and of themselves, and simply become a distraction — a way to avoid the present.
You always get to choose
So here's the thing: you've always got a choice. You don't have to be resigned. You don't have to finish a task joylessly just because you said that you would get the job done. You can get the job done and enjoy the process of doing it. It just might require that you get re-enrolled in what you're doing, commit to actually creating something outside of the efficient zombie, and quit quitting.
So, what are you currently resigned to in your life? What's the cost of that resign, and how else could it be if you were committed to only creating win/wins in your life? What would you have to give up to make good on a commitment like that?