In a year filled with people who want 2020 to be over, I have reflected on many things. When times are great, you never have the same sentiments as when challenges come your way. Challenges are the fiber of being that make us strive to work harder, learn more, and tackle the stuff that seemed insurmountable previously.

Sometimes, the deck is stacked in your favor and you find that the ingredients to that deck were careful planning and execution that you just didn’t recognize. However, at certain points along the path of life, it is okay to simply say, “I quit” and walk away. Just be sure you reflect later on the blessings you may have missed!

In my job specifically, I think one of the first sales lessons I learned was that you have to have a mindset that you are so full of prospects that it is okay to walk away.

Of course, I learned it the hard way after spending close to a year working to put a Self-Insured Program together for a bunch of electrical contractors. I got so far from prospecting in any other fields that when that one fell flat at the 11th hour, I had nothing else.

We all learn differently, I suppose. But, looking back, that is definitely one I should have had the courage to walk away from. Yes, courage, as there were plenty of signs along the way.

Unfortunately, that big fat commission check at the end kept me plugging a way with a bunch of individual business owners who seemed committed. It’s a bit humbling to have to tell your family it was ramen noodle time after traveling and working countless hours away from them to win the big prize (that…well…you didn’t win).

Walking away always felt somehow like quitting to me, and I was raised not to be a quitter. I wanted to quit playing the tenor sax when I got to high school and found out I had to carry that thing in marching band, and worse yet, sit with the band at football games instead of running wild in the stadium with all my friends.

Junior year, I finally convinced my mom and dad to let me quit, but I had to go talk to our band director personally and explain why. After stewing about it, I got up the courage to go meet with Mr. Cornelius, and he said those dreadful words…”I am very disappointed in you, Teri!” It, and many other things throughout my years of life, set a tone for me that would make me fight fiercely with every fiber to keep from QUITTING!

So there you have it — two scenarios with two different life experiences. What’s the difference? I recently had the chance to pick up my old sax from my mom’s house, and guess what, I still had it. Albeit not so great anymore, I could still play a tune! That feeling of disappointment from Mr. Cornelius suddenly became clear to me. He wasn’t disappointed for the band or for investing the time to make me better, he was disappointed because he knew I would miss the joy of playing all the tunes later in life.

That sale was never going to be my biggest or best, so why did I hang on so tightly even though I knew I should quit? Because I’m no quitter, but I should’ve walked away after about six months. It would have been fine and acceptable within my company to do so, and that one is a regret for me.

So, here’s my advice. Look for the things in life that surround you if you are courageous enough to walk away. Replace the energy you are spending on things that really don’t matter with the things and people you love. Take an energy inventory of each and every aspect of the way you spend your time and evaluate whether you want to pick up that sax again some day or eat ramen noodles. There is a major difference between the two choices.

As you navigate all of the pieces of your life in 2020 and all the political, COVID-related, market-related, weather-related, and health-related items we have all faced, I have heard more than one person say, “I QUIT. Bring on 2021!”

So with that in mind, it is perfectly fine to walk away (in fact run) from 2020 into 2021! Use all of your influences toward the good things to come, and plan 2021 right now like it will be your best year yet.

No matter what your occupation, take an hour for yourself this week and map out your plan for 2021. Consider the challenges as opportunities and devise great strategies for overcoming any obstacles that come your way. Take the risk you have been thinking about forever. Really live — and walk away from anything that doesn’t help you grow or give you joy!