Nobody wants to be a quitter, but quitting may be the most courageous decision you can make.
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I had never seen a geyser before and was super stoked to see one. We were standing by The Old Grandad geyser in Iceland. The rain was pelting me sideways, and I braced against the wind,thankful for my trusty North Face rain jacket. Hood up, back to the gail, I was waiting to see the geyser.
Other tourists came and went, but I was going to see that geyser.
Friends from my retreat approached. “See it yet?”
“Nope” I replied. “But I’m going to stay here until I do!”
“Have fun. I’m going to go get a hot coffee and watch a geyser on YouTube.” And they chickened out. I laughed to myself. Quitters. I was going to see the geyser.
More friends from our retreat came up and stood with me. 10 minutes passed. “How long have you been standing here?” They asked me.
“About 20 minutes.”
“And it hasn’t gone off yet?”
“Nope, but I’m going to stay here until it does.” I pulled my arms in closer to my sides,shoulders practically touching my ears.
Then I noticed that I was feeling moisture on my ears, that were deeply wrapped up in my hood. The rain had penetrated my trusty North Face rain jacket, and the rain was dripping into my ears.
It was cold.
I was cold.
I didn’t want to see the geyser anymore. I wanted hot coffee with my friends.
But I was going to wait it out. I was going to see the geyser. I didn’t want to be a quitter.
Then I remembered a conversation I’d had that morning. I was talking to Maria, and she told me one of the new questions she asks herself sometimes. “Is this the hill I want to die on?”
Now, there was little chance I was going to die waiting for the Old Grandad to shoot into the sky, but was I now being stubborn for stubborn sake? Was this really worth it?
30 minutes had passed. The hood of my trusty jacket was plastered to my head, and my hair was starting to get wet through my winter hat. I was done. I had waited long enough. It wasn’t worth it.
“I’m going to get coffee.”
“You’re GIVING UP?” they all said, staring at me.
I turned into the wind and strode quickly to the café to warm my bones around a nice hot cup of coffee.
How often do we stick to our guns just because we said we would? So often sticking it out becomes counter-productive, but we feel like we can’t change course without losing face. Well that’s a bunch of baloney! Periodically we have to reassess our plan and decide whether it’s really worth it. Sometimes the answer will be “Absolutely!” but sometimes a course correction is a much better alternative. Nobody likes to be a quitter, but sometimes letting go of a losing battle is the most intelligent and courageous act.
Post script: On my way back from the café, one of the smaller geysers erupted! I saw my geyser after all, and frankly, it was pretty anti-climactic. It’s like a volcanic fart…a bloop from the bowels of the volcano that shoots through the pond and into the air. Poof….that’s it! I thought it would shoot up for 45 seconds. Nope…just a floof. See?