N is for Never, Ever, EVER Quit

Photo by eCooper99 ~ WANA Commons

Photo by eCooper99 ~ WANA Commons

The stories I always come back to for inspiration are the ones where people quit right before achieving their goals. They remind me to never, ever quit…even when things look bleak.

We all know what that’s like, to feel that you’ve run out of options.

We reach for a goal…and work for days/months/years, and then get discouraged.

We try and don’t succeed.

We try and fall short of a competitor who’s just better, faster, or more skilled.

We try and fall on our a$$…

I did this just the other day in Crossfit, trying to do a box jump (and falling on my face, literally). I bruised myself in 4 places…five, if we count my ego.

Let’s take the Crossfit analogy a bit further….

Hubby and I have been going for 6 months now:

  • He’s lost 20 pounds…I’ve lost less than 2.
  • He’s taken his belt in 3 notches…my pants just aren’t tight any more, but they’re the same damn pants!
  • He can do the prescribed weight on several workouts…I can do it on zero workouts.

But as the coaches always say, when I complain about being the slowest and weakest in the class: “Well, you’re lapping all the people who are sitting on the couch!”

And they have a point. Sometimes, all we can do is show up every day and try our best. Whether that’s for a job, a workout, or a story we’re writing, showing up is the most important step we can take.

I saw this quote on Crossfit Lisbeth’s site yesterday:

In your gym [or project, or writing group], the bravest person might not be at the top of the leaderboard — the bravest person might actually be at the bottom.

Keeping our faith in ourselves and our passion in our goal is one of the most important things we can do each day. Being generous with our less-than-stellar performance is an act of beauty and grace.

It’s even more lovely to extend your encouragement toward others, even as you’re flagging.

After the tragedy that unfolded yesterday in Boston, I was particularly touched by the acts of compassion and heroism I watched the people in the crowd offer to those around them. Even as people mourned the dead, they opened their arms and their homes to the strangers who were alive.

There is little for most of us to do in this aftermath but offer our deepest sympathy to those going through a horrific time. And to remember the words of Winston Churchill:

If  you’re going through hell, keep going.

What motivates you to keep going when you want to quit? Who do you turn to when you need encouragement? Do you have motivational stories or phrases that you refer back to? Enquiring minds LOVE to know these things here at More Cowbell!

Jenny

Note: If you’d like to read a touching poem on perseverance, click here.

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About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! My passion is finding those qualities that are unique in every person and every piece of fiction. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestorm.wordpress.com). Write on!
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42 Responses to N is for Never, Ever, EVER Quit

  1. rinellegrey says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s plain old stubborness that keeps me going when I want to quit! I’m pretty good at being stubborn, and it comes in handy sometimes.

    Sometimes I take a break, or talk with friends and family to help me gain inspiration again. But really, if it’s something I truly want, I rarely feel like quitting.

    Rinelle Grey

  2. Gene Lempp says:

    When I feel like giving up, I think of those just like me who keep pressing on, like you and Jess Witkins, Kathy Owen, my amazing wife and so many many others – and then tighten my jaw and get back to work. Like you, I also think of those that stopped a step shy of success only to later regret it. While every life has a few regrets, I’d rather mine came from a dream unrealized then from a dream unworked for.

    Never give up, never surrender *smile* Great post, Jenny.

  3. LauraDrake says:

    What keeps me going when I’m flagging is not looking forward – but looking back. If you’re judging yourself by someone else’s goal you’ll never make it – you’ll get discouraged. Look back at where you started, and pat yourself on the back for your progress (Jenny, you may not have lost tons of weight, but you look maaavelous!) and you see that you ARE making progress!

  4. You go, Jenny! I admire your sticktoitiveness, especially when faced with your husband’s more visually measurable success.
    I’m a stubborn Yankee, and that helps a lot. I am blessed with a circle of friends and family who are there for me, too, and with impeccable timing. That same circle is rich with examples of not giving up, and reaping the rewards of that choice. I am truly blessed.
    Wonderful post. :-)

  5. I am so glad I clicked the linky love for that poem, Jenny. AWE-freaking-SOME!

    It’s time to get back to writing. My glob. My book. My journal. That’s where my heart is happiest. [Erm. I left the rest of my body out of that comment on purpose. IYKWIM]

    I didn’t quit when my first two novels didn’t find agents. I edited them to death without knowing what was wrong with them. Along came Margie and Maass (among others), and I learned more than wee bit about why the first fifty rocked the query charts, but the full mss didn’t.

    Now? I’ve permitted that nasty Perfectionist in me too much play time, and she drags down my writing glee. I can (and have) made a career out of a paragraph or page or sentence.

    Thanks for the kick in the get ‘er done on my current novel. It’s embarrassing to admit how long I’ve been fiddling with it. But (at the risk of sounding all full of myself) I have a voice I believe to be unique, *characters with flaws*, and a story only I can tell. Will it sell? Who knows? More to the point; who cares? I will not know unless I finish. That thought gives me hives.

    [*...characters with flaws...* NOTE TO SELF: Grant yourself that same latitude and character growth as a writer.]

    • K.B. Owen says:

      You go, Gloria! And don’t be embarrassed about how long it took you to write your novel. It took me YEARS to write book #1 (the one finally released a few weeks ago), and only slightly fewer years to write the second one! Now I’m only giving myself MONTHS to write the third, and boy is that scary!

      And I totally believe there are stories and characters only you can share! Can’t wait to read them!

      Hugs,
      Kathy

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Gloria, there is a lot to be said for percolating, and then for jumping in and finishing. I too have percolated for years, and now I’m pushing to finish with this level and get to the next one. It’s hard and it’s scary, and it’s very, very necessary. Plus, we have pals pushing right along with us, which is pretty dang fun. That’s all we need to keep in mind. :-)

  6. Jane Sadek says:

    I grew up in the church and my Bible is my best motivator. All those verses I learned as a child come rolling through my mind and give me what I need to take the next step.

  7. Karen Rought says:

    “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Possibly one of my all-time favorite quotes. I always love when you talk about crossfit, Jenny. It’s such an inspiration to see you struggling with it, but showing up every. single. day. The bravest people ARE the ones at the bottom.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I’m glad you told me, Karen…I always try not to bore people with my crazy workouts. But there are soooo many lessons to be learned there and the biggest one, for me, has been the power of showing up and doing what you didn’t think you could do.

  8. K.B. Owen says:

    Jenny, thanks so much for sharing this with us. Just the kick in the pants that I needed. I also need a kick in the pants to exercise, but one keester kick at a time…
    ;) Kathy

  9. You may not be seeing the weight loss you want, Jenny, but your insides are getting healthier. You’ll have a stronger heart and lungs. And that means you’ll have a longer life ahead of you :)

    It’s not something I’ve made public, but I’ve been struggling a lot lately, feeling like I’m just never going to be good enough. I might share more on that later in our private WEDS group…

    • K.B. Owen says:

      Marcy, come on over for a group hug, honey. :D

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Very true, Marcy! And the main reason we’re doing this is to be around for our kid.

      Oh boy do I understand that “good enough” worry, and all I can say is that at some point your will learn to trust that you are exactly where you need to be. You’ve got amazing words just waiting to be born.

      Do come get your group hug…we’re here for you!

  10. laramcgill says:

    Thanks for the kick in the butt, Jenny. I often need it, but definitely today! Off to try to fix my protagonist. She’s got it too easy…

  11. marwil says:

    Ouch for the fall! Very inspiring post, it’s so easy to get discouraged when things aren’t going our way. But if we push forward anyways, great things can happen.

  12. Diana Beebe says:

    Great post, Jenny! I let myself quit a few years ago when life threw me a few curve balls. That time in my life is one of my biggest motivators now to keep going.

    Congratulations on sticking with the exercise! Don’t compare yourself to your hubby on the weight progress. You’ll hit a tipping point and start seeing huge changes in your body and then he won’t know what hit him. ;-) (I’ve been there!)

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, Diana! The great thing is that Hubby doesn’t care…he’s just proud of me for going. But *I* care. I hate being at the bottom of the leaderboard! But I’m learning to live with it. It’s teaching me VERY valuable lessons. :-)

  13. MonaKarel says:

    I did take an excessively long hiatus from writing while I did other things but never really quit. Every time I think about it, I remember the story of H Beam Piper who wrote the wonderful Fuzzy books. He committed suicide, thinking he was a failure, when he didn’t get the news his books had sold. So now I think of the frog choking the fish that’s trying to swallow him.

  14. tomwisk says:

    I’ve been in Hell, not as bad as others have but awful to me ’cause I’m close to it. Hell is what you make it. You’re right, when you get there keep walking. Though if you keep meeting old friends along the way, you might want to look around.

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I hate hearing that any of my posse has been in (or close to) hell, though I know most writers have been at one time or another. Keep walking, and keep writing it down!!

  15. Phil says:

    Don’t ever give up! Remember, us guys lose bodyweight quicker just for the fact that we have more muscle mass that helps burn calories when exercising. You are in it for the long run. Results will happen. Hey, your man supports you so that is big. It’s true – you are way ahead of those who are doing nothing!

    Phil

    http://blog.theregularguynyc.com/?p=2646

  16. You’ve been going to crossfit for 6 months? Celebrate that my friend! Crossfit is dang hard. You’ve lasted longer than I would have. And I’ve been working out and dieting for over a year and not lost more than a few ounces. I think I’ve just reached a point where my body says “I need everytning you’ve got, don’t get rid of it.” I’m not sure why I need an extra roll around my stomach, hips, and butt, but it seems to be happy there so I guess I have to learn to live with it. Or maybe it’s menopause just being evil. I don’t really know, but my goal now is to not gain any weight.

    And, I’m going to expand on the quote from Churchhill – Rodney Atkins, a country singer, has a song that goes like this: “If you’re going through hell, keep on going . . . you might get out before the Devil even knows you’re there.”

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  17. Why did it take me so long to get over here and read this? Might I be busy? Wow Jenny, this post just resonated with me. I am a bit frustrated right now because I am not having the same experience y’all are having doing Fast Draft. I’m not feeling well right now, yet I don’t want to give up. Sometimes though, I’m not so sure if I really know what I’m doing. Scary huh? But I’ll get through it. Who do I go to? Uh, well, my wana friends. Though I don’t like to burden anyone with my stuff, as you well know.

    Anyway, keep up the great work with Crossfit. Don’t be discouraged. Funny. I was talking to my hair stylist last week and his wife teaches crossfit. I mentioned you to him and that your weight doesn’t seem to change. He told me that you won’t see much of a difference. That it’s all turning into muscle. He suggested yoga. The stretching would burn up the calories and tone you up and help you lose the weight. But what do I know? :)

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