Why quitting doesn’t make you less of a winner

winner, medal, trophy, win, gold, award, victory

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Winners never quit.”

Well, I think it’s bullshit. Or, in the very least, incomplete.

What if someone hates what they are doing, even if they are “winning” at it? Would they be less of a winner if they quit to purse their real passion?

I think there are times when quitting actually makes us more of a winner. I also think there are times we should keep going even though it sucks.

How do we tell the difference?

We can start by amending the saying;

“Winners never quit what they feel called to do.”

What are you called to do?

It doesn’t matter if you believe your calling comes from a greater power or simply somewhere inside yourself, what matters is you believe you have one. Because you do. You have core talents, virtues, and passions that subconsciously guide you through life. What your unique talents, virtues,  and passions drive you to do is what I consider your “calling.”

Another name for your calling is your “Zone of Genius,” a term coined by author and life coach, Gay Hendricks in his mind-blowing (MIND-BLOWING) book, The Big Leap. Gay says everyone has a Zone of Genius, a place where “you get so excited by your mission you can’t wait to get out of bed.”

For some of us, getting into and out of bed is the best part of our day. This is a key sign that we aren’t pursuing our calling or living in our Zone of Genius. But don’t worry, you don’t have to stay this way.

It may take some thought and concentration to find out where your specific Zone of Genius is, but Gay has provided some amazing resources to help you find it like this online course (haven’t taken it myself but its on my list) and his book, The Big Leap, which you can find here (a much less expensive option).

I’m sure there are also many other helpful resources out there if you google “how to find my calling.”

Winners never quit what they feel called to do

Now, knowing that everyone has something (or a few things) that they are called to do, let’s go back to the original quote, “Winners never quit.”


Two questions sum up the reason I hate this quote:

  • What if they are doing something that doesn’t give them any joy?
  • What if it is taking up hours and hours away from time that they could have spent doing what they are really called to do and are more interested in?

Francis Chan has a brilliant quote about this conundrum,

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.”

If winners never quit, there are going to be a lot of people winning at things that don’t really matter. Do you really want to be one of those people?

By amending the quote to say, “Winners never quit what they feel called to do,” we’re now free to try out different things to see what resonates with our deep passions, talents, and virtues. If what we’re doing isn’t aligned with our calling (Zone of Genius) we can quit doing it and still hold on to our identity as a “winner” without totally replacing it with “quitter.” We can be both. And if people are currently doing something that doesn’t light their fires, I would argue that we should be both.

“Our greatest fear shouldn't be of failure but of succeeding at things that don't really matter.”-Francis Chan Click To Tweet

Big Girl + Gymnastics = Not My Calling

For example, the very first sport I tried was gymnastics.

Now, I’m a six-foot, two-inch woman. I came out of the womb 2 feet long. That’s a 24-inch newborn, people.

This means I could only grow another three feet over the course of my entire life if I wanted a shot at becoming even a mediocre gymnast.

Yeeeah…I grew those three feet before the fifth grade.

But even when I was a first grader, it was obvious my gymnastics career was headed straight for the toilet. I was considerably bigger than every other girl on the team, I was buying the same size leotards as most fourth graders, and I was hopeless to control my freakishly long limbs.

I was basically Buddy lumbering around the North Pole, convinced he’s an elf.

buddy, elf, fall, giant, north, pole, will, ferrel, scared, christmas

The only thing I was good at were cartwheels. But even then, the space my first-grade cartwheel required was going to cause some serious problems later.

cartwheel, big, girl, gymnast, little, space, needed

I don’t think they make balance beams long enough for my now 36-inch inseam. I’d probably just cartwheel right off it.

So after a couple years of being in the program, my gymnastics coach couldn’t ignore the facts any longer and had a tough conversation with my parents about how I was basically facing imminent failure.

When my parents related this to me, I was bummed at first because I had fun doing gymnastics. But I got over it quickly because I didn’t feel particularly called to become a gymnast.

After quitting gymnastics, I went on to play basketball, a sport much better suited for big girls like me. But imagine all the hours of feeling like a failure I would have had to endure if I stuck to gymnastics all those years. I’m sure I would have learned some valuable lessons (not to mention have a six pack and 12% body fat), but I believe we learn enough valuable lessons as we pursue our calling, anyway.

Quit as soon as you know you’re no longer called to do it

I did myself a favor by quitting gymnastics because it gave me more time to focus on what I am called to do. Or, at least cross off another thing I’m not called to do. Which can be equally as valuable.

Here’s my advice: try new things and quit them as soon as you realize they aren’t what you’re called to do.


You can definitely be smart about it (like line the next thing up before you quit your only source of income), but I encourage you take steps to move on to something that is closer aligned with what you feel your calling is. Like, today.

I would even consider taking steps to quitting the things you are good at, but don’t really give you much joy. Because when it comes to tasks outside of your calling, whether your good at them or not is irrelevant, they still don’t give you that sustaining happiness you’re looking for.

You are going to be happiest when you maximize the time you spend in your Zone of Genius, even if that means limiting the time you spend doing things you’re good at but don’t totally enjoy.

Once you’re in the groove of what you’re called to do, stay there as long as you possibly can. You may need to supplement your income with something else for a while, but I think you’d be surprised how money will start to flow in as you align with your passions.

Winners never quit what they feel called to do. Click To Tweet

Important Disclaimer

This advice doesn’t apply to your relationships.

Relationships are not tasks, careers, or hobbies. They are people. Quitting a relationship because you just don’t feel called to do it anymore doesn’t make you a winner, it makes you an asshole.

There are PLENTY of other reasons to leave unhealthy relationships, don’t get me wrong, but there is a different framework to apply to leaving people than quitting tasks.

What do you think your next step is?

Is it finding out where your Zone of Genius is?

Is it making an effort to spend 10 more minutes a day doing what you’re called to do?

It it pulling the trigger on a hard decision about your career you’ve been mulling over for a while now?

Only you know the answer. But whatever it is, I encourage you to do something if you’re not excited to get out of bed on a regular basis.

That kind of exhilaration in the morning is possible for you. It really is. You’ve just got to align what you spend most of your time doing with what you feel your calling is.

It will probably take a lot of small steps to get you there, but don’t be discouraged – I’m right there with you.

This blog is step one for me. What is your step one?

How to Identify and Heal Your First Great Sadness


For a free guide on identifying and healing your first great sadness, enter your email and hit send.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time. Powered by ConvertKit

You may also like

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *