"How do you decide when it's time to quit?"

The question caught me by surprise. It came from a respected friend, a maker our company had worked with for two years. "What do you mean?" I responded with curiosity.

"I'm just feeling the need for a change, but I know I have a great product and my customers love it. You've quit a lot of things and I was wondering how you knew the time was right."

It's often the fact that we're unaware of our own tendancies.

And I had never considered myself a quitter. Upon reflection, I realized my friend was right. I had quit a lot of things. There was 2601, the business where I used old lumber, windows, and doors from our 100 year old home to create crafts and decor. There was Tipsy Tutus, a micro business I started when the birth of my daughter made me want to dress her all in tulle, all the time. And the longest venture I'd ever given up at that point, Beer and Junk, Adventures in Parenting, a humorous parenting blog.

In fact, my tendancy to quit went even further back. I had quit sports in high school, quit jobs I hated in college, and quit college for awhile. I said quick good byes and for the most part never looked back. So, how do you know when to quit? As a master quitter, I've compiled a list of reasons to walk away from an activity, job, relationship or really anything.

1. You've outgrown it.

Beer and Junk was a huge part of my heart when my kids were little. It allowed me to document the incredible moments of their early years, work through the hard parts of being a parent, and connect with other parents going through the same difficulties. As my kids got older, I knew they wouldn't want to be in the public eye as much. Many writers navigate their parenting blogs from toddlerhood to the teenage years and beyond, and do it beautifully. However, I was feeling called more and more to write about self development, business, and my rural community.

So I shut it down and launched the next stage of my career, Five Island Life. Beer and Junk was recently published as a collection of essays {available here: Beer Junk, Adventures in Parenting} and it makes me unbelievably happy to revisit those moments, but its more clear than ever that I simply outgrew the content.

2. You've learned your value.

Five Island Life was Rural Kind Co's previous identity, a hyper local website highlighting the people and places of our litte spot on the map. Our mission was to give our town a stronger presence online and a stronger sense of community in our streets. We learned SO much from the three years it ran- how to host an incredible event, website and social media management, networking and more. We were crazy passionate about our mission. Maybe just crazy.

Ultimately though, we couldn't find a way to compensate ourselves financially for the quality and time we were putting into the work. While it was a highly emotional decision to reinvent and expand the company, it was also one of the easiest, allowing us to serve a larger audience and providing more financial freedom and flexibility.

3. It's not serving you anymore.

It doesn't really matter what "it" is- a relationship, job, school, or otherwise. It also doesn't matter how much you like "it" or how good you are at "it". There will come a time in your life that you realize it's holding you back.

In January 2018 I was giving a massage when my internal voice stated clearly, "I don't want to do this anymore." Quitting practicing at that point was out of the question from every aspect- financially, logistically, emotionally. Being a massage therapist had been part of my identity for 10 years, and I had no idea what I would be/do without it. So I was all like, "Shut up internal voice. You have no idea what you're talking about."

It took over a year, but ultimately I had to admit that my inner voice was right. Working IN my business instead of ON my business was holding all of us back. And my passion for massage had given way to an intense passion for leading the business, speaking, and writing. Giving up such a huge time commitment has been an adjustment, a transition that I'm still navigating as I find my way from "massage therapist" to "business owner, speaker, author, and coach."

When NOT to quit.

There will be times in your life when every item above is checked, when quitting will be the most logical thing in the world to do and you will still decide to hold on. In fact, I think in those moments, the above list is even more important.

I've owned Five Spa + Store for ten years. I've wanted to quit many times. In fact, I tell myself on a regular basis that I can quit. I'll go through my checklist, realize it makes almost no sense to keep going. That information is always ultimiately the spark that reignites my passion. I love my team, I love our community, I love our makers, I love my work, I love what we've created. So rather than quit, I delegate, expand, reinvent my role in the company and recommit to the little dream that started a decade ago.

And as I ended up telling my friend, there are a million logical reasons {see checklist} to quit something, but your answer ultimately lays in your emotional response to those reasons.

Kelly Bay is a speaker, author, business coach and serial entrepreneur. You can find her at Five Spa + Store, She Is Women's Conferences, and in Beer and Junk, Adventures in Parenting.

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