Podcast Episode 22: Are You Micro Quitting?

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Quitting is big and obvious. Micro-quitting is sneaky and cunning. If we don’t recognize it, we may not realize we’ve given up on our goal.

  •  What is micro-quitting
  • How a micro-quit leads to the big macro-quit
  • Tips to catch yourself and stop the micro-quit

Micro-quits are the subtle way your brain rationalizes deviating from your goal or plan just a little bit.

Read the Transcript
Hello my friend and welcome back to The Career Refresh Podcast.
Thanks for joining me this week If you are new here, I am your host Jill Griffin.
Today I want to talk about a topic that has been an active discussion between me and my clients and frankly my fellow coaches. It’s little quits and how they impact us more than we realize.
It’s micro-quitting.
The concept is micro-quitting. Or quitting ahead of time. It’s a subtle self-sabotage.
It’s a baby quit or a baby q.
The big quit is I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. But this can be freeing because you are clear in ending the goal. Full on quit you can make a new decision and move on.
But micro-quitting is a subtle opting out. All your thoughts sound logical.
We quit jobs, dieting, negative self-talk,
Show up late
Make excuses maybe even people pleasing

We tell ourselves we aren’t really quitting but we quit on ourselves

We don’t believe us. You are killing your goal. You are prolonging the quit or the win.

 So what’s your story?

 It’s stressful to be Half in and half out. You haven’t made a full decision. Then you can’t understand why you haven’t gotten the results.
No results for your efforts. You give yourself evidence that you are never going to get there. We can’t grow without discomfort. 

The brain wants safety, comfort and efficiency.  

And I’m going to work hard to get it.
Here’s an example of how it might be showing up for you.
You want a new job.

You’re ready for a promotion

You’re bored in your current role so you decide you are going to find an opportunity where you can really showcase your strengths.
You decide you are going to make a minimum of 5 outreaches a week.

 You are motivated. You are sending out emails. Some cover letters.

 You are checking the underground job boards. You are emailing hiring managers and recruiters.
Networking with industry colleagues.
You have good momentum. You’re getting nibbles and bites and you are starting to get some traction.
But then your day job starts to pick up. Deadlines. Deliverables. And a new client meeting next week.
So you decide that you have been doing a lot.
And you’re tired.
And one day doesn’t matter.
Next You decide to not put in any effort tomorrow to network or connect with people.
Then you decide it’s not that big of a deal if you skip this week.
You justify. You say to yourself that nothing bad happened. You do a little less and you don’t get your results.

 I’ll do it next week.

 And one week becomes three.

 You start noticing that you are getting less responses. Less interviews. The opportunities are drying up. 

You decide that the work you’ve been doing, all the momentum you’ve created doesn’t really matter because you haven’t landed a new job yet anyway.
So it’s no big deal to do a little less.

 When it’s hard, you opt out of risk.

 Underperforming is micro quit.
Ambivalence is a micro quit.

 These subtle decisions limit self-trust and integrity.

 Micro-quits chip away at your progress.

 Tiny acts of complacency.

Over time you wonder why you are putting in the work but not getting the reward.
With micro-quits you get in the habit of doing a little less.
It’s easier and easier to do these little micro quits.
I want you to recognize that you are micro-quitting at the moment.

Everything seems justified.

You think it’s just a short break. That’s nice right, a little break.

 But the nice thing is really to follow your plan so that you reach your goal.
But when you string these micro-quits together you start building evidence for yourself that nothing really happens when you do decide to keep your promise to yourself.
Then you start to feel bad about yourself and wonder why you can’t secure an interview and get a new job.

 Your growth is in the capacity to risk failure and feel the discomfort
My mentor likes to say that Discomfort is the currency. Success is what you’re buying.
But your goal feels too big. Maybe it’s too big.
You think that maybe you should right size the goal, because you don’t want to feel bad about yourself all the time.
That’s not good either right? It’s better to be think positively.
Micro-quits are the subtle way your brain rationalizes deviating from your goal or plan just a little bit.
It’s not being totally honest with yourself or others. It may even be People pleasing.
The micro quit happens before the big quit.
It’s slippery. It happened the first time you didn’t fulfill your goal of 5 outreaches a week. In the end, you think you’ll make some progress but ultimately you stay in the status quo.
We stop trying. We struggle we accept defeat in the moment
Over time, our brain gradually convinces us to give it up completely.
Notice these sneaky thoughts.
I can’t deal. I am too busy

I will send an outreach tomorrow

This is really hard

I can’t handle this now

I’ll start next quarter

I could do this if I didn’t have a stressful day job

I could do this if I had help at home

It’s not that big a deal, I just need a break. I will do it again tomorrow.

I just don’t feel like it.

I am overwhelmed.

I am so busy

I just need a day of rest and then I can revisit this

Do you see how these thoughts keep you in comfort? You don’t challenge your own thinking or behavior, and you don’t achieve goals.
So what do you do about micro-quits?
1. First Be honest with yourself. If you don’t want to do the work and get a new job, it’s ok. Just be honest. Make your decisions. Like your reasons for quitting.
2.    Next, make a list of your previous quits. All of them. Is this a pattern for you?
Your diet, drinking,
Not talking about goals (hiding so no one will ask, and then you won’t have to ‘lie’
Not making the investment
Being late
How many times have you started a new wellness routine? Eating plan? Meditation? Exercise?
3. Recommit. It’s ok to have a slip. But remember why you wanted to go after this goal. And you are going to need like 25 compelling whys. Because your WHY may not work for you today. So, you better have a back-up WHY.
I want to be challenged. I want to work with a company that is more aligned to my values. I want to do meaningful work. I want to lead a team. I want to make more money. I want to go after the promotion to see if I can do it. I want to be the first XYZ to do ABC. Get your list of WHYS.
4. Know you may feel overwhelmed and that’s ok. Get ahead of your thoughts and decide what you want to think when your brain tells you this is too hard, or that you don’t know how to handle the uncertainty. Make a list of your doubtful thoughts. See my episode on belief and doubt cycles too. Remember the only thing you can be certain about is your thoughts. The rest is a gamble.
5. Know you are avoiding discomfort. Totally normal. As Glennon Doyle says, We can do hard things. Think about all the reasons you are proud of yourself for not having quit in the past. Make a list of your past wins. The jobs, projects, late nights all the things you didn’t quit that totally paid off.
6. Coach yourself. Ask yourself if you knew you’d be successful how would you show up? This is where thought work is going to come in really handy. Each time your brain questions your goal or comes up with a juicy story as to why you should stop you need to know how to coach yourself. As a riff off Byron Katie’s 4 questions, Ask yourself is it true? Can I prove that it’s true? Who would I be if it wasn’t true?
7. Notice when you are in HALT. Hungry Angry Lonely Tired. You’re going to want to quit. Remember who you want to be. Ask if the mirco-quit will get you closer or further away from where you want to go and who you want to be.
You got this.
Ok, my friends. Thanks for joining me and I’ll see you next time.

When you intentionally shape your beliefs and your career narrative you get to build your identity and design the future you want.

Whether you are looking for a job, or you want to create your own business, knowing how to Amplify Your Strengths will help you find the right employer, clients, and customers. And you’ll discover what makes you unique and how you’re wired so you can create a bigger and brighter future.

So who’s helping you get there? If you are looking for support check out my website jillgriffincoaching.com. I’d be honored to help you know your strengths so you can amplify your career. 

Ok my friends. Until next time.

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