Strong Enough to Quit

The strength to quit.

We had hiked for five miles when my co-worker Emily whirled around and said, “I’m done.”

The trail was only one way, so we knew we had at least another five miles to go to get back to the car. And if we kept going until the actual turn around point, instead of hiking a total of 10 miles, it’d be over 13 miles.

Although I wanted to achieve the goal I had set out to accomplish, I already felt the steep climbs creeping into my calves and quads. I knew I’d be tired to the bone after 10 miles, and closer to death if we tried to do the whole 13 miles.

Plus, there’s was bound to be another killer hill to descend and ascend, and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to do it.

Now, you have to understand that I am no quitter. My father taught me to have a solid work ethic and a “grit your teeth and go for it” attitude. When I tore my ACL in a high school soccer game, I would have kept playing if my coach had let me. I hate being unable to accomplish something, to see it through to the very end.

So, when we decided to turn around on our hike, I was a bit disappointed. We had been so close, but with rain coming and sore muscles already screaming, it was the smartest move.

Now, I am not by any means telling you that quitting is OK. Sometimes, things will require you to grit your teeth, to hike the ups and downs for 13 miles. However, it’s also smart to know when you need to stop and rethink your plan.

Affiliate, if you are in the business of owning a CrossFit Box, you probably aren’t a quitter. Quitting can’t be in your nature because, let’s face it, owning your own gym is difficult. You like challenges — thus the CrossFit part — and you like to push yourself to your limits. But like every smart athlete, you need to know what your limits are and when you have reached them.

Think about those athletes that withdraw mid-Games competition. They’ve been training all year for this one event, yet they stop halfway through. Why? Because they know their limits. They understand that if they get severely hurt, it will only be worse in the long run. They could ruin their career if they act rashly and ignore what their body is telling them.

For example, Annie Thorisdottir’s choice to drop out on the final day of the 2015 Reebok CrossFit Games — announced via social media — was perhaps the hardest decision she had to make. But she was strong enough to make it.

So, my advice to you is this: Sometimes, the best decision is one that doesn’t mean you take a step forward. Sometimes, it means you’ll have to take a step back. You’ll have to re-evaluate or call it quits on a project for the time being. And make sure you are listening to your staff — or hiking partner — as they might be seeing something you are not.

But when you do fail or give up, remember that doing so is not what defines you; it’s having the strength to make those tough decisions that does. Plus, you’ve only stopped for the time being. You’ve only begun to change direction. You haven’t quit; you’ve simply made the tough decision to step back and re-examine.

And this will be helpful so that when you move forward next time, you can conquer all 13 miles of your goal.

Heather is the editor for Box Pro Magazine. Contact her at