We Need to Quit More

There’s a difference between quitting something that’s too hard and something that’s simply not aligned with your priorities or values. So what should you quit?

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Marketing is a game of ideating and testing and seeing what works for the audience or the person you're trying to help. 📈 And if something doesn’t work, you should either tweak it, increase it, or drop it.

We need to get better at dropping things. We can create more space for excellence when we drop the mediocre.

This week’s set up:

🆘 Problem: Everyone’s got a to-do list, but we fail to focus on the on the to-don’ts

💡 Solution: Quitting things we aren’t aligned with is one of the best ways to create more room for the things we’re over the moon about

🗺 Next play: Learn a framework to drop distractions and make room for the highest priorities.

Why Quitting is Okay

We need to normalize quitting things. *Not jobs, but habits, projects and distractions that don’t light us up.

This past year we’ve learned a lot as a world about bandwidth and capacity; when we know our limits, we’re free to let go of things that don’t align for us.

That being said, there’s a difference between quitting something that’s too hard and something that’s simply not aligned with your priorities or values.

For example, your sales goal might be hard, impossibly hard, but it’s aligned with your personal mission and how you spend your time.⏰ Obviously, don’t quit that.

Instead, let go of something that’s not aligned, not a priority, or isn’t working. Don’t waste valuable time on $10 work instead of $10,000 work. 

After reading Bob Goff’s book, Love Does, where he recommends quitting something every Thursday, I now have a reminder in my calendar every Thursday: “What’s a small thing I could let go of or quit?” 🗓 

It could be a newsletter I’m no longer aligned with, a book that I stop reading or a project role I slow down on.

We only have so many hours in a day to live. We should enjoy our work. Margins matter. It’s okay to say no, let go... to quit.

And sometimes, you may even notice your efficiency goes UP as a result.

Validate What You’re Doing

When you’re grounded in your vision for the year, it’s easier to say yes to things that are aligned and no to the things that aren’t. 

This means that before you can start dropping things that aren’t growing momentum in your life, you need to know your why statement. When you don’t have a vision and mission for launching a project or building a company, it’s hard to find what’s aligned. 

Don’t throw darts at an empty board. 🎯 

Greg McKeown, thought leader and author of Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less writes, “Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.

I don’t know about you, but I want to make sure I’m investing my time wisely.

And this hasn’t always been easy for me as someone that gets easily distracted and likely has some undiagnosed ADD tendencies.

To do this, I’m willing to test ideas and tasks to find the most fruitful ones—and weed out the dead fruit. 🍎 

For example, this newsletter was a test. 

It’s growing organically each week and it’s been well received, plus it’s been a great learning process, so I’m excited to keep going. But if it hadn't worked out, or fizzled after a hundred few subscribers, I probably would have dropped it, and that’s okay.

So in some ways, I try to look for my own projects and ideas that catch the best waves. If it fits a grove and tends to grow on its own, I’ll likely keep it.

Similarly, if a podcast reaches out for a conversation and they’re not aligned with my niche and vision and I don’t have a personal relationship with them, then I’m probably going to say thanks for the offer but I dont’ think this is the most important thing at the time.

But just because you say no to something now or tell yourself to drop something, doesn't mean it won’t turn into a yes later if your priorities change. 

I “backburn” a lot of things that I’m unsure about pursuing.

Joy can come from letting go of things that don’t really mean a lot for us. This creates the space for better opportunities down the road. 

Like McKeown says, pass on the things you like so you can focus on the things you love.

📲 ACTION BYTES 

  • What are things you can start dropping to leave more margin in your life and your business? If you’re hesitant to drop things completely, what can you put in your backpocket or on the backburner to be your best self right now?

  • What’s a weekly or monthly habit you can create to stay accountable to keeping your yeses aligned with your personal brand mission?

If you’re stuck on this, consider McKeown’s advice in Essentialism: “Essentialists see trade-offs as an inherent part of life, not as an inherently negative part of life. Instead of asking, “What do I have to give up?” they ask, “What do I want to go big on?”

💡RIFF OF THE DAY

A friend in Vancouver, Scot Sustad, recently launched Inbox Booths, a portable workspace capsule. For the backstory and my review of the product tour, check out my last post.

Thanks for reading! I try hard to make it a newsletter you look forward to each week, so if you have any suggestions about content you’d like to see or ideas that sparked, let me know.

Stay outta’ trouble and catch you next week.

✌🏻 Joel

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P.S. Anyone else practicing dropping things that aren’t aligned? Drop your process in a comment.