" I was in the process of letting go because...I was more unhappy chasing my dream than I was happy chasing it."
I interviewed the New York Times best-selling author of Reconstructing Amelia, Kimberly McCreight earlier this month when she made the above quote. She told me that she spent 10 years writing before she finally got published. Right before she sold her first book she was about to quit writing, and she was ok with her decision. Her words got me thinking.
All my life I have always been fueled by dogged determination when it comes to chasing my dreams and I've always considered that fuel to be infinite. So hearing an accomplished creative share a different perspective was revealing to me. It made me wonder "when is it ok to let go of a dream?" "is it ever ok?" The answer is not quite simple.
Kimberly gave herself 10 years to make it as an author and wrote 4 books that were rejected. At that point for her, she had put in the effort so she was able to make peace with quitting.
Before you quit your dream I think you need to ask yourself: have I done all I possibly can to chase after this dream? Have I worked hard enough? Did I give myself a timeline? Have I measured my progress or have I spent all these years wishing and hoping without taking actionable steps? Am I simply taking the easy way out?
Only then can you correctly decide if you should let go of your dream.
Quitting also doesn't have to be final. It could mean taking a step back to re-evaluate, find stimulation elsewhere, and then return with a revitalized mindset and fresh motivation. Maybe what you need is a break.
Quitting could also mean refocusing your energy on something else, something new. If you're feeling stuck or overwhelmed, give yourself a chance to have a new dream.
So yes, sometimes it's ok to let go of a dream but remember this important quote by John C. Maxwell "Dreams don't work unless you do". Don't quit simply because you haven't done the work. Put in the work and the hours with fortitude.
And if after all this, you find that you are more unhappy chasing a dream than you are happy chasing it, then please understand that you are allowed to quit without feeling like a failure.
Allow yourself grace to let go and carve a new path for yourself.