Often times we think of the word quitting as a negative response – it is giving up on something, it is taking the easy way out. Last year when asked the question “what do I dream for myself,” taking the easy way out would have been to stay in the job I started 11 years ago after college – a job I was still enjoying. Why would I quit and leave behind everything I knew, everything I studied for, everything I was fairly good at, and embark on something completely different? Why would a dream lead me down a path of being uncomfortable with a new future? Two words: skills and gifts.
There is a difference between your skills and your gifts
Think about it – what are you skilled at? Perhaps you are the most organized person at your job, perhaps you are the queen of communication or the king of technology. These skills matter. And so do your gifts. What unique gifts do only you have? What sets you apart? What keeps you up at night? These are the questions I asked myself over and over again when I began the discernment period of what my dream career could be. How could I best use my skills AND my gifts simultaneously each day? Is that possible? The answer is a resounding YES!
Being comfortable in the uncomfortable
We live in a world that teaches us to yearn for comfort. Being comfortable brings peace to our lives. But the reality of life is that we are constantly surrounded by uncomfortable situations: confrontation, financial uncertainty, family dynamics, a new job. To merge your skills and your gifts means you learn to be comfortable in the uncomfortable – who are you and who aren’t you? What do you do well and what will you never be able to learn? Finding those answers for yourself brings the comfort in the unknown. It challenges you to run towards your gifts with your skills in tow. They go hand-in-hand. They belong together.
It takes a village
As with everything in life, it takes a village to get through each day. Your village becomes your life line, your accountability. Your village believes in your dreams and encourages your gifts. Find your cheerleaders. Be a cheerleader. Life is fuller when we dream together. We all have unique gifts and interests and because of that, we can make this world better than we left it. Perhaps it means you too need to say “I quit” to something so you can say “yes” to something else. Perhaps it means you tap into more of your gifts each day so you can rest better at night. Perhaps you keep doing exactly what you are doing – your best you!
Passing on the wisdom
This excerpt from Anna Quindlen’s “A Short Guide to a Happy Life” are some of my favorite words to read over and over again: “Don’t ever confuse the two, your life and your work. That’s what I have to say. The second is only a part of the first…there are thousands of people out there with the same degree you have; when you get a job, there will be thousands of people doing what you want to do for a living. But you are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart.”
Dream big! Quit! Say no! Say yes! I promise it is not as scary as it seems!
– Maggie Stroud, Alumni Relations and Program Coordinator at Leadership NC