The toughness of Navy Seals has become well known through movies like Lone Survivor and American Sniper. Becoming part of this elite group requires surviving grueling tests of mental, emotional, and physical toughness. And then there is the infamous bell. The bell is ever present while the Seal trainees endure the intense exercises; and all they must do to quit and receive a nice meal, hot shower, and clean bed is to ring it three times. I have read a few excellent books and seen some great movies on the Navy Seals, and while I was inspired by their endurance, at the age of 59, I was ready to ring the bell while just reading about the stress, let alone actually experiencing it!
So when is it the right time to quit and ring the bell in your life, and when it is better to think twice?
1. Just because it’s difficult.
Difficulty and stress are a normal part of life. It is unrealistic to expect a stress free or disappointment free life! In addition, extremely challenging times often only last for a season and seldom become permanent.
2. When you are angry.
Anger resides in the laps of fools. Those are wise words from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible. Have you ever seen anger result in good decisions? Me neither. So don’t quit when you are ticked off, or you will likely regret it.
3. Because you didn’t get what you want.
If we quit every time we do not get what we want, we will be quitting a lot! Not getting the promotion or raise or not being recognized the way we feel we should can be disappointing but may not justify quitting.
4. When you are fatigued.
Fatigue can be brutal. We have all experienced those nasty emotions after not getting enough sleep or dealing with a lot of stress. During Seal training, candidates would encourage one another so they would not ring the bell due to fatigue.
5. To get even or make a point.
Sometimes we either quit or threaten to do so in order to make a point or to punish someone, like a boss or even a spouse. While it may feel cathartic at the moment, it usually results in regrets and embarrassment.
1. When it is too toxic.
There is such a thing as “too toxic.” Serious risk to your physical or mental wellbeing are legitimate reasons to ring the bell. Even cancer patients sometimes have to forego a chemo treatment because their bodies cannot handle it.
2. When you have a much better opportunity.
If we never quit anything, most of us would not be where we are today. If I didn’t leave teaching at a college (a position I really enjoyed), I would not have started The Center Consulting Group (a greater opportunity for innovation and impact). Passion, fresh opportunity, and better use of our gifts are all worthy considerations for quitting.
3. When your circumstances justify it.
You need to earn more money to provide for your family. Your aging parents need more help. The needs of a spouse or child requires that you have a different work arrangement. Sometimes circumstances do justify a change.
4. When staying will require violating your integrity.
I recently read a great book called Bad Blood - the story of Theranos. The company recruited a lot of very smart people but many of them were asked to shade the truth or just plain lie. When some pushed back, they were fired. Others quit rather than compromise their integrity.
5. When wise counsel affirms it.
Here at The Center Consulting Group, we say it so often we should have it tattooed on our arms – wise people seek counsel (Proverbs 15:22). If you are thinking of quitting something important like a relationship, job, or even a church, seek counsel first!
Our experienced consultants can offer you insights as you think through complex situations. Contact us to learn more!
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center Consulting Group and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.