Today I want to talk about the difference between martyrdom and grit.
I think this is a confusing topic: should you or shouldn’t you see something through to the end? Should you finish what you started? Should you not be a “quitter?”
Sounds great in theory, right? Like, OF COURSE we should see things through and if you don’t you’re not hardcore, or you’re a quitter or a failure.
And I agree to a certain extent, but I think there’s more nuance than that. I think there’s a discernment that needs to happen, and I want to share my thoughts with you.
Obviously, in a challenge like this month’s #20x20Challenge, it’s about doing something that is, ahem, an actual challenge and doing your best to see it through to the end. Besides, it’s only helping you along to that thing you say you want anyway, which is consistency with your training and short exercise solutions that work. Who doesn’t have 20 minutes?
And so, in this case, or in the case of getting healthy or losing body fat, most of us want that outcome. We want those results: health, strength, leanness. And so, in this case, yes, you absolutely should endure the struggles of attaining it. It’s worth the blood, sweat and tears. It’s worth the obstacles, it’s worth those days when fuuuuuuuuck, I don’t want to train today! It’s worth all the effort.
Because when you are sticking it out, you are in your integrity. You are doing something you actually want.
It’s funny, I was walking in Santa Monica a couple weeks ago, and I saw this street vendor selling t-shirts. One caught my eye, it was black with white writing, and in the same font as Nike’s signature logo, it said, “JUST QUIT.”
At first I thought, well that’s depressing.
But then I asked myself, is there a time when quitting is justified?
And I think there is.
I think you are justified in quitting something that is not in line with the person you want to become or the outcomes you care to attain. In other words, quit shit that is not serving your goals and desires. Quit things that are outside your integrity. Or that you are doing simply out of guilt, obligation or because you are terrified of the alternative.
Knowing when to quit something versus sticking it out is simple. Ask yourself, is this thing I am doing in line with who I want to be and what I want to create? In other words, are your actions congruent with the outcomes you want to attain?
For me, there are several things I won’t ever quit:
- I will endure the tough stuff in the name of health and fitness because it’s in line with who I am and want to be at my core.
- I will channel my inner warrior when it comes to creating a business I love and helping others, even when I am tired, terrified out of my mind and doubting myself.
- I will dive into self-help and personal development pursuits even knowing it’s going to uncover some scary stuff and I’m going to have to take a hard look at my own BS.
You don’t quit things that are part of your purpose and provide meaning to you.
You don’t quit things that are tough, you quit things that make you miserable. There’s a difference there.
Working on my business is hard at times, but it’s not miserable. Exercising to achieve the body and health that I want is tough, and sometimes I DON’T WANNA, but it’s not miserable.
So what should you give up?
Ask yourself, what am I doing that is:
- Not in line with creating the person I want to be or in line with the outcomes I want to achieve?
- Things that don’t relate to my purpose and bring zero meaning to my life?
- Strictly out of obligation, guilt, because someone else said I should do it, or out of some misplaced sense of duty?
Those are no’s. You’re being a martyr. Or you are terrified of the conversations that need to happen in order to stop doing it. Or you are scared of being a failure. All understandable, but all just a distraction from putting your yeses where you really want them. Bye!
Where are you with your health and fitness pursuit? Are you begrudgingly making it through your workouts and super miserable? Well then, it might not be the right time for you to double-down on fitness. Maybe channel your energy somewhere else, somewhere that feeds your soul a bit more. The gym will always be there for you.
Or, are you hitting the gym daily—even when it’s hard—but focusing on how you feel after, your sense of accomplishment and are you noticing and naming the things you’re grateful for? Because believe it or not, it’s possible to be grateful for the challenge of a new pursuit! You can work hard, have challenges pop up and yet still love the process.
Check in with yourself.
And likewise, where are you out of your integrity? Where are you saying, “yes” only to feel resentful and miserable later? Start moving away from those pursuits. Or, you know what, JUST QUIT ;)