I Quit Everything Daily (and Improve My Creative Work in the Process)

Each week, we share lessons + ideas based on our experiences running a growing film studio to help you find more meaning and fulfillment in your creative work. Below is this week’s newsletter — sign up here to get future issues.

In 2006, I created a social networking website that provided a video platform for small businesses. I spent the next 3 years designing the site, doing sales and outreach, and cultivating users. In 2009, I hit a wall when I spent thousands from my savings to hire a development firm only to have them drop the ball on the project’s execution leaving me with nothing.

As I slowly pulled the pieces back together, other, more compelling projects arose. Still, I held on to the social network project. I had committed to it and invested so much — creativity, time, money, energy. I still saw the potential in the idea and I couldn’t let go. Even though more fulfilling projects had taken its place, it weighed on my mind and loomed large in my to-do lists.

It took two more years before I finally was able to declare it dead and move on. I learned many valuable lessons from that project, but one of the most important was this: Quit everything daily.

It only takes a moment, but in my mind, every morning, I try to clear the decks: Quit my career. Drop my projects. Move out of my apartment. Stop writing this newsletter :)

Then, with a clean slate in front of me, I reevaluate. I decide whether I still want all these elements in my life. If so, I think about why and I recommit with clearer purpose. If not, I decide when and how to make my resignation permanent.

By regularly doing this mindfulness exercise, it helps me to avoid getting stuck — in bad patterns, in short-sighted decisions, or in project quagmires like the one recounted above.

If I had done this daily self-check-in back in 2009 and given myself permission to reevaluate my choices, I could have saved years of stress and anxiety over a project that had already run its course. And I could have gotten to all the great, exciting work that followed even sooner.

Thanks for not quitting before getting to the end of this post! 

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Header photo by joel herzog on Unsplash with caption by Josh Shayne.

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