What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “Quit”? It’s probably something big like quitting a job or quitting a bad habit like smoking.
Like most people you probably see quitting as drawing a line in the sand and deciding it’s over, this is the end. But as many people have experienced, quitting isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Unfortunately, whether you want to stop doing something like smoking or overdrinking, or you want to start doing something like exercising more or going out on your own and starting a solo accounting practice, your brain is actually a saboteur. It can easily, and sneakily, rip the rug right out from underneath you without you even realizing it.
The reason this happens is because your female brain is hard-wired to see change as threatening to your survival, whether it’s stopping something bad, or starting something good. Anytime you try to do something out of your norm, the “Quit Voice” will offer you thoughts that create the feeling of resistance, fear, doubt and uncertainty, to name just a few.
Since there are plenty of people in the world who have successfully stopped things like smoking and overdrinking, or started things like exercising and becoming successful mompreneurs, how were they able to override their brain? Is it possible to change the hard-wiring, and to turn down the volume on the Quit Voice when you want to do something you haven’t done yet?
Thankfully, it’s not only possible, but also important, to learn how to deal with the Quit Voice in your head. It’s perfectly normal, and kind of nice if you think about it, that your brain is just trying to protect you, but it’s also not helpful when you are trying to achieve a particular result; whether that result is making more money, getting more clients, balancing your life or creating confidence.
What’s often confusing is that in the beginning, the newness of a future goal or result can be exciting. However, once the novelty wears off, your female brain will work to keep you in your comfort zone, whether you like it or not, and whether it’s helpful or not.
The interesting thing is that it isn’t the LOUD Quit Voice that is the biggest problem. It’s the small, soft Quit Voice that is often the most insidious and damaging to achieving that goal, or having the career, the business and the life you really want.
The key to learning how to do what you say you want to do, is becoming aware of, and managing, the Quit Voice. Everyone who has ever succeeded at doing something they’ve never done before, all have one thing in common – they know how to manage the soft, sly Quit Voice more than anything else.
This week I’m going to discuss what the soft Quit Voice is, why it’s a problem and how to neutralize it.
The soft Quit Voice
We’ve all had times where we wanted to achieve something and just decided it wasn’t worth it. Whether it was deciding to stop going to the hot yoga class because it was too expensive, or stepping down from the PTA Treasurer position because it was too time consuming, quitting can feel like a good decision at times.
However, the LOUD, definitive Quit Voice can sometimes be a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it can help you to make a decision that is in your best interest, but other times it can render you incapable of making a good decision because it’s uncomfortable and wants a more familiar comfort zone.
For example, the LOUD Quit Voice can be helpful when it pushes you to leave an abusive relationship even though you may have various justifications for staying. But the LOUD Quit Voice may be unhelpful when it pushes you to not go out on a second date with someone because your brain is uncomfortable with the possibility of change, and wants you to stay home in your pajamas instead.
The LOUD Quit Voice is easy to recognize because it lets you know that it wants you to draw a line in the sand, whether that line is good for you or not. On the other hand, the sneaky, soft Quit Voice isn’t as prominent or definitive, and over time can cause many more issues for you and for what you want for your life.
The soft Quit Voice can sound like this:
- No one’s going to know
- I’ve been so good, I deserve this
- Just this one time
- It’s not a big deal
- I’m too busy for this
- I’m not in the mood
- I deserve a break
- I will start tomorrow/later
- This is too confusing
- You don’t know enough yet
The reason the soft Quit Voice is so damaging is because it feels like a friend just helping you out. This softer, less “in your face” Quit Voice tells you things that feel true in the moment; they seem like legitimate reasons to not do something you said you wanted to do.
For example, if you are attempting to go out on your own and become a mompreneur, the soft Quit Voice might show up when you are tired after a long day at your current job, and you planned on spending some time deciding what header you want for your website . The soft Quit Voice would say, “You’ve had a long day; this can wait until you’re not so tired”.
You might be thinking, “So what. What’s the big deal?”; but it’s still a quit. You planned on doing one thing, but gave into the soft Quit Voice instead, which will eventually create a bigger problem than you realize.
Why it’s a problem
The soft Quit Voice is so easy to give in to because your female brain is very good at justifications. The uncomfortability of making a decision in the moment, often leads to the feeling of relief once you’ve listened to the soft Quit Voice; it’s now easier to justify your actions because you feel better.
But as with any decision, whenever you decide to quit anything, it’s important that you like your reasons why. If the LOUD Quit Voice says you are underpaid, underutilized and underappreciated at your job, then it’s worth taking a look at the reasons why you might want to find a better suited job.
However, the problem with the soft Quit Voice is that it doesn’t seem important enough to question whether you like your reason for doing or not doing something; it seems like just a simple, inconsequential choice. Unfortunately, this sneaky Quit Voice makes small suggestions, usually when you’re at your most vulnerable.
The most important thing to understand is that the reason the soft Quit Voice is a problem, is because what ends up happening after you listen the first time, is nothing. There is no big consequence for listening to the soft Quit Voice, so your brain begins to build evidence for how this type of quit really isn’t a big deal after all.
It becomes an even bigger problem because eventually, over time, you will begin to create a stronger relationship with the soft Quit Voice, like you would a trusted friend, because you feel better after listening to it. As far as you can tell, it doesn’t appear to have a negative effect right now.
For example, the soft Quit Voice saying it’s not a big deal to put off deciding on a header for your new website, probably won’t wind up hurting you in the moment. However, if you string together enough days of befriending the soft Quit Voice, you’ll wonder why you haven’t moved forward with your mompreneur plan and why you still haven’t finished your website.
The soft Quit Voice is also behind the scenes for many perfectionists and procrastinators. If you identify as either, you most likely have a soft Quit Voice that just loves to tell you things like “It’s not going to be perfect right now, so it can wait” or “You’ve got plenty of time, so relax”.
It’s paramount that you see that a string of small quits will eventually become a BIG quit, without your conscious awareness of what’s happening. You’ll wind up getting a result you don’t want, and then wondering how that happened.
Just like the compound effect of earning interest, your successes and failures will come from the seemingly, insignificant actions you do, or don’t do, more than you realize. The soft Quit Voice is easy to listen to, but unfortunately, it’s hard to recover from.
To stop giving into the soft Quit Voice, you need to pay attention and neutralize its power.
How to neutralize the soft Quit Voice
Now that you know what the soft Quit Voice is and why it’s a problem, it’s time to discover how to handle it. The issue isn’t that we all have a soft Quit Voice; the issue is that most of us have deferred to it, and let it take over for far too long.
The people who have succeeded at whatever they set their mind to, were able to neutralize the soft Quit Voice often enough to push them out of their comfort zone. Remember, your female brain is just trying to protect you and doesn’t like discomfort; it’s motivated to seek pleasure, avoid pain and be as efficient as possible.
Thankfully, you also have a higher part of your female brain that can override the soft Quit Voice; it can make decisions that focus on long-term gains, as opposed to short-term avoidance of discomfort. This rational, decision-making part of your brain is really a much better friend, especially when you have a goal in mind or a result you’d like to create.
To neutralize the soft Quit Voice, you have to anticipate that it’s going to show up, and plan accordingly, just like you would any obstacle that would get in the way of you reaching a particular destination. Assume that it will tell you any and all of the statements shared before, and use your higher brain to plan how you’re going to handle it when it happens.
For example, if you are trying to go out on your own as a mompreneur and want to create that website, it’s important to recognize that when you come home tired from your job, you usually give in to the soft Quit Voice. Knowing that, you can decide that on your way home from work, you will recommit and decide to stick to what you know is in your best interest, ignoring the voice that tells you “You’ve had a long day. It’s not a big deal”.
Keeping the long-term goal in mind will help you to override the soft Quit Voice that seems like it had your best interest at heart. Decide to recommit to whatever goal you have or result you are trying to achieve whenever you anticipate being vulnerable to the soft Quit Voice.
A word of caution – don’t get angry when it shows up because, a negative emotion like anger or frustration, will only pull you out of being focused on doing what you know you need to or want to do. Besides, it’s like a toddler just trying to get your attention so there’s no reason to get mad at it.
By deciding ahead of time, you can counteract the tricky way the soft Quit Voice seems to be your friend. With this awareness and anticipation that it will show up, as well as a plan for what to do when it does, you will be able to string together many more small successes, which will eventually lead to a BIG win.
The possibilities really are endless when you learn how to deal with the Quit Voice, so appreciate it for its service, but then take charge. Thankfully quitting and failing are only optional, and not inevitable, when you learn to manage the Quit Voice.
- Whether you want to stop doing something like smoking or overdrinking, or you want to start doing something like exercising more or going out on your own and starting a solo practice, your brain is a saboteur
- The interesting thing is that it isn’t the LOUD Quit Voice that is the biggest problem; it’s the small, soft Quit Voice that is often the most insidious and damaging to having the career, the business and the life you really want.
- The reason the soft Quit Voice is so damaging is because it feels like a friend just helping you out
- To neutralize the soft Quit Voice, you have to anticipate that it’s going to show up, and plan accordingly, just like you would any obstacle that would get in the way of you reaching a particular destination