How to Know When It’s Time to Quit

If you’re a typical Life Editor, then you’ve probably set some goals for yourself.

Maybe you want to reach your happy weight. Maybe you want to start a business. Maybe you want to find a job that doesn’t bore you to tears and turn your brains into mush.

It can feel wonderful to be working toward a goal and giving it all you’ve got! But what should you do when you lose your stream? What if it’s not fun anymore? What if you’re worried you made a big mistake?

In today’s video, we’re talking about how to know when it’s time to quit.

I’ve got 3 deep questions that’ll get to the root of your feelings and help you make an educated decision. Let’s go!

The video transcript is below for your convenience.

Resources mentioned in this video

Video Transcript

Hey there! I’m Sage Grayson , and I help ambitious career women edit their habits, routines, and mindsets to balance their happiness at work and home. I’m a Life Editor…and so are you!

Today, we’re talking about how to know when it’s time to quit. Let’s go!

In a recent session of Life Editing for Beginners, one of the ladies was struggling to get traction with her business. She felt like she was spinning her wheels without getting anywhere. Not many followers. Not many signups. And not much income.

She asked, “How can I tell if it’s time to give up on my business and quit?”

Good question.

As your coach, of course I want you to succeed. But I don’t want you hurting yourself mentally, physically, or emotionally by pursuing a lost cause.

I’ve got 3 questions for you to ask yourself whenever you feel like quitting in your life, business, relationships, health, or other areas.

1. Are you acting like an amateur or a professional?

This idea that people are either amateurs or professionals comes from the amazing book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

An amateur does everything in a half-assed way. She will do the bare minimum to get by and never stretches herself. She doesn’t really love what she’s doing.

Maybe she’ll work for 15 minutes and then play on social media for an hour. She’s earned it.

A professional goes all in. She does more than what’s expected of her and is always learning. She loves her work and sees the bigger meaning in everything she does.

Maybe she’ll dress up every day even though she doesn’t have to. And she’ll do the marketing work even if it scares her.

So are you acting like an amateur or a professional?

If you’ve been goofing off like an amateur, try stepping up to the plate and acting like a proactive, powerful professional for a month and see where it takes you.

If you have been acting like a true professional, then move on to question 2.

2. Is your idea of success skewed?

We all want to be successful in whatever we do, but “success” is kind of a vague term. What does that mean really?

Sometimes our view of success is so enormous and specific, that if we don’t see that exact level of success, we feel like everything we’ve been doing is worthless.

But that’s just not true.

Let’s say you have a business and you want to get 100 new signups on your list every single week. But right now, you’re getting 1 to 3 new signups per week. So you think you’re a failure.

Are you really?


You’re making progress!

You’re moving forward!

Your business is growing!

Steady progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

Do you have to reach six figures in your first year of business?

Do you have to get married before your next birthday?

Do you have to lose 30 pounds in a month?

Noooooo . . . 

You’re a Life Editor, and your life is not a race.

If you think your idea of success is skewed, re-evaluate your goals and keep doing what you’re doing.

If your idea of success is realistic, then move on to question 3.

3. Is this an upper limit problem?

The idea of an upper limit problem is described in detail in the book The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I recommend this self-development book more than any other book out there.

An upper limit problem looks like this. You’re chugging along doing your work and seeing real results. But just as you’re about to have some big breakthrough and reach that new level of success, everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

You’ll get sick. Your email will get hacked. Your kid will throw your laptop in the toilet. Your best client will stop working with you for no reason.

It happens. It happens every time you are about to achieve something amazing.

Your ego is trying to protect you by keeping you in your safe little comfort zone. If you do the work and reach that new level, you’ll have more responsibilities, you’ll be more visible, and who knows what else.

So you will consciously and unconsciously sabotage yourself to keep you at your current level. Your ego wants you to play it safe.

If you truly want to reach that next level of success, you must push through your upper limit problems.

You must keep going when it feels like the world is out to get you.

You must hold on to your last ounce of strength.

You must succeed for everyone you will help, for everyone you will inspire, for everyone else out there who is thinking of quitting.

We need you.

So if you want to know if it’s time to quit, ask yourself:

  1. Are you an amateur or a professional?
  2. Is your idea of success skewed?
  3. Is this an upper limit problem?

Yes, sometimes it will be time to quit. And that’s OK.

There’s no reason to torment yourself by continuing to do something that’s damaging to you.

I hope these 3 questions will help you make your decision. But maybe I only needed to ask you one question:

If you quit now, will you regret it later?

If you like this video, please come on over to and sign up for my Editor’s Toolkit. You’ll get weekly updates from me plus sage advice that I only share in email.

Thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.

This post focuses on Step 2 of the Life Editing Process, Delete Bad Influences. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.

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  1. Dana Lynn Thompson on December 3, 2015 at 10:00 am

    I think it’s definitely #3 for me. I had to read this post over a few times and really think about it, but I do think I sabotage myself and keep to my own comfort zone. A few years ago I had just taken a great online course on how to take my web design business to the next level. I had completely redone my branding, revamped my own website, and was pushing hard for new business. I started to get really busy and along with that came the stress and added pressure of keeping up with a side business while doing my full time job. I felt I had no time for me.

    Then the day before I was supposed to go on vacation, a client’s website totally crashed and I had to rebuild it from scratch before leaving. I was up until 4 am in tears working on it. After that. I went back to my “safety” level of clients and I haven’t ventured out of my comfort since. I’ve told myself that I just don’t handle stress well and that maybe web design (which is what I do at my full time job) just isn’t what I’m meant to be doing. But maybe it was just that I was getting too far out of my comfort zone. Interesting perspective. Thanks for the ideas to mull over Sage! I will be giving this one some more thought. 🙂

  2. Cathy Colangelo on December 1, 2015 at 11:15 am

    Were you talking to me? I agree with Erika. You had me pegged at half-assed and social media break. Going “all-in” is what I need to do. I tell my clients when they create a vision of what they want their lives to look like, they can’t just “wish” and make it so. They have to take forward action. This is a great reminder for me that even though I continue to take those baby steps, I might need to kick it up a notch and go “all in”! As always, thanks so much Sage!

    • Sage Grayson on December 1, 2015 at 7:01 pm

      Haha, I’m talking to EVERYONE today! 🙂 You’re right, action is needed if you want to be a professional. And anything worth having is worth working for.

  3. Erika Swafford on November 30, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    That first one really nailed it for me. Am I an amateur or a professional? I want to be a professional but often feel like the amateur. Creating an office space and business hours has helped. I still struggle giving up the personal/family time to focus on my business. I feel guilty sometimes spending time on my business, but then I feel guilty if I don’t.

    • Sage Grayson on December 1, 2015 at 9:15 am

      It’s tough! I think a lot of people have trouble acting like a professional when they need to balance work and home. And if you have limited energy and time, you might need to decide which area of your life deserves your professionalism.