Sometimes Winning Means Giving Up
There is so much content out there about how to reach success you “can’t give up”, you have to “try one last time” or “get up one more time than you fall down." There’s much value in encouragement like this – it teaches resilience. It reminds us that there is beauty in failing; there is learning to be had. This is all true. We’ve all heard the story about the author who submitted their manuscript to the publisher 67 times and on the 68th and last attempt, was published. It’s brilliant and inspiring. But who talks about the fact that sometimes winning can actually mean giving up? Who actually talks about the fact that giving up is not always failing – if it’s the right decision for you?
Whaaaaat?! Someone actually saying it’s okay to give up?!!! Yes. That’s precisely what I am saying – you are free to give up at any time if something is no longer working for you and you have permission to do this free from judgement, guilt and shame. I repeat - giving up is not always failing. In fact, sometimes it is winning.
When is giving up winning? When the option to keep going is detrimental to your wellbeing, your health, your family, your life and those who matter in it. When keeping going will take more from you than it will give. When you just know that you have honestly, truly given it your best shot, you’ve exhausted all options and you’re at the end of the road. When you realise that you cannot possibly successfully continue to juggle all the balls you have in the air and you’re dropping them everywhere. When yourself or people you love are suffering. These are times when it is perfectly acceptable to give up and in doing so, you are winning, not failing. Giving up as a winner occurs when you are in fact gaining something of greater value than what you are giving away.
There’s immense pressure on people to “have it all” – particularly on women. Don’t get me wrong, women can and do go out and have everything they want in life. I wonder if sometimes women go out and get everything they think everyone thinks they should have in life, instead of what they actually want. Could that be true? I’ve certainly worked with women who have felt this way. And they are doing their best to be the “perfect” Mum’s, sisters, wives, girlfriends, aunties, business owners, friends, students, volunteers, dinner party organisers, kick boxing Diva’s, travellers, beauty and fashion pioneers and what is left of their soul?
Here’s the clincher: you are enough, just by being you, just as you are.
If you’re in the midst of the “have it all” circus and you’re looking for the exit, how do you know what to give up and what to keep? Here’s the tricky part. This is different for each and every person and is based on what’s important to them, their values, their circumstances, their journey, their goals. There’s no one fits all formula for plus-ing and minus-ing your life. You don’t have to choose a little and you don’t have to choose a lot – you can have as many elements to your existence as you would like too. A great first step is to sit down and prioritise. Where would you love to be spending more of your time? What makes you feel good? What contributes to you being a greater version of yourself? Remember, if you choose to give something up, it doesn’t have to be drastic and you don’t have to slice it off from the jugular without a second thought (well, you can, if that’s right for you). Making a plan to give up over time is a great way to gradually re-balance your life. The key is to actually start somewhere and to implement it in the best way for you.
In summary, winning at all costs is not always winning. Giving up is not always failing. Giving and gaining are interchangeable – what do you want more and less of in your life? Don't forget that sometimes giving up can leave you open for opportunities that may have otherwise been missed.