Win Today with Christopher Cook

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I Quit (and Why You Absolutely Need to as Well)

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Legendary former head coach of the Green Bay Packers, Vince Lombardi, said, “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” But as inspirational as his words are, I have recently endeavored to buck the system, swim upstream, toss my baggage overboard, and quit.

You heard me correctly. I’m quitting.

I’m sick of living a hurried life. It’s not that I’m lacking gaining ground in my personal and professional endeavors. It’s simply that I know I can be better for others and for myself. So, to clarify, I’m quitting because in doing so, I know I will actually win.

Heavy Calendars

Peeling back the curtain of my life, allowing you a glimpse into my space, I admit that I have too much going on right now. You’re probably wondering if I am simply overreacting because this is just a busy season. The answer is “maybe,” but I know myself too well. Three weeks into 2016, I’m feeling the weight of over-commitment and waning energy. And I want out in a bad way.

So I’m quitting.

I’m not quitting relationships.
I’m not leaving my career.
And I’m definitely not quitting writing, speaking, and recording my podcast.

But I am throwing a grenade upon a pile of superfluous calendar activities (hopefully 20 percent of them to be exact) that have clogged up the steady stream of clarity and robbed me of the full measure of intentionality with which I know I can live; intentionality that beckons me to be my very best and operate in my strength zone.

The funny thing is, I’m the one who built Mount Crapmore brick-by-brick. And now I get to tear it all down by clearing the calendar, taking stock in my goals, and my favorite part: finally saying, “no” to a lot of people.

Building the Mountain Brick-by-Brick

Let’s backtrack. Here’s how the mountain was built: as a focused, organized, responsible individual, excellence, efficiency, and routine creates safety for me. I hate inefficiency with a passion. And I hate not doing things right the first time (try my patience by being cheap for the sake of being cheap). But I broke all of my rules and said “yes” to a lot of things that ultimately don’t add value to what God has called me to do (and who He has called me to be) in this season.

In fact, for those of you familiar with the Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, the high (very high) “J” in me thrives upon strategy, lists, pragmatism, organization, and checking off said lists; lists that have recently built a mountain busyness instead of productivity in my life. But as of 3:38PM today, all I want to do is burn the lists, turn off my phone, crack open a bag of organic, non-GMO, fried-in-coconut oil potato chips (nerd alert), turn on Netflix, and tell everyone to “do it yourself!” (which is way more polite than what I said in my head.)

Overextended Strengths Create Weaknesses

Why? Because as I’ve said before, any strength overextended easily becomes a weakness. And the weakness exposed in me is that I said, “yes” to a lot of things and as a result, have unintentionally lost the power of focused energy in my own life. I said, “yes” to far too many meetings, coffee chats, brainstorming sessions, and extra-curricular activities. I said, “yes” because I love people, love adding-value, and love contributing to great ideas. I said, “yes” because I thought I was good enough in my own strength. But in the process of adding value to others, I’ve completely neglected to add value to…myself. And this disruption of my neatly packaged routine has awakened dependence upon the Lord in a new way because truth-be-told I can’t do it. And neither can you.

Hey Vince, Quitters Definitely Win

So I’ve lit the match and am about to burn away some things in life that just aren’t producing the fruit I expected. I’m about to pick-up the phone and say, “thanks but no thanks.” I’m about to apologize for over-committing. Most importantly, I’m about to recharge and take back the focus that I’ve so casually let slip through my fingers.

And I want you to do the same thing. For your well-being. Because of your purpose. Because you only have one life and “today” will never be lived again.

So quit. Whatever you have to do…just quit. The reasons for quitting are many, but in my estimation, the following serve as three concrete reasons to pull the pin and throw the grenade upon your hectic life.

  1. Quitting creates an opportunity for a busy life to become a productive life. A full calendar doesn’t equal a full life. Ask yourself which activities and commitments do not yield a measurable return on investment, and then quit those that are unfruitful. You may upset people who are used to your ever-present “yes,” but they’ll get over it!
  2. Quitting creates an opportunity to step away from the clutter of busyness, sort priorities, and throw-out the activities and projects that bring little to no value in the long term. Short-term wins accumulate to become long-term gains. No one makes your schedule but you. Outside of non-negotiable events like work, I’ll bet there are opportunities for you to re-assess and re-prioritize.
  3. Quitting creates an opportunity to re-direct your energy towards the things that matter most in a focused, strategic manner. It’s the power of sunlight through a magnifying glass in which the widely dispersed rays of warmth and energy become focused and powerful beams of light. And that’s how I want my life to be lived: focused and powerful.

Stop Doing “Everything”

What I’m trying to get at is busyness and living a hasty life robs you and me from living a diligent life—a life that will yield lasting fruit. Speaking of bricks, Proverbs 21:5 hit me like a ton of them: “The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty.” Listen up: I believe in working hard and doing everything as unto the Lord, but I’ve gotten out of balance and tried to do…everything.

You see, somehow I forgot that my gifting and my ability alone would not sustain me in this season. I was so wrong. To boot, two of my friends and co-workers, sent me a song that may have contained a message straight from the Lord: “let the King of my heart be the wind inside my sails, the anchor in the waves, oh He is my song. Let the King of my heart be the fire inside my veins, the echo of my days, oh He is my song.”

I can’t quit without His direction. I can’t focus without His leading. And I can’t do anything of lasting value without His empowerment and ability.

As it turns out, quitters always win.

  • Marquise C. Medal

    Praying for BALANCE in your life Chris! This was a great read and thank you Jesus for giving Chris this amazing gift of powerful TRUTH in writing to your people, what a blessing to share with us.