Knowing When to Quit

Photography Credit: Made U Look Photography (more on the blog soon!)

I started smoking for the stupidest and most predictable of reasons, the reason I would assume most teenage girls do in fact…in order to look cool. All the anti-smoking adverts and scary warnings about blackened lungs and throat cancer didn’t deter me from lighting up alongside my school friends as we walked through the park to school. My addiction raged for 13 years but 20 days ago I decided enough was enough and I quit. Just like that. No patches, no nicotine replacements. Screw the softly softly approach I thought…I went cold turkey and just stopped.

In all honestly I actually wasn’t enjoying puffing away any more. Sure, I enjoyed the initial rush of those first few inhales, but after that it was just getting to be a pain in the arse. It was anti social (the majorty of my friends have now quit), it was expensive and it made me feel like crap. I’d wake up in the morning after a big night out and feel like my lungs were burning. Gareth hated it more than anything and I knew how much it would mean to him if I was no longer sneaking out to the back garden after a few glasses of wine.

I was very lucky that while in New York I was surrounded by non-smokers. It’s been difficult but not as hard as I’d imagined, the only really tricky time being after a few cocktails/glasses of wine in the evenings. Calling myself a non-smoker now feels good, not weird, and I’m pretty excited about all the extra money I’m now going to have for shoes (sorry Gareth!)

So apart from wanting to share my excitement, you’re probably wondering what the point of this entry is. Well, thinking about quitting something that, in a strange way I felt defined me, was hard. Impossible even. However deep down I knew it was the right thing to do. I think we can probably all apply this same reasoning to running our own businesses. I’ve been thinking recently about what it means to quit things we do as part of our businesses that, for whatever reason, we’re not enjoying any more and why that is certainly no bad thing. We’ve spoken about outsourcing, about how to avoid burn-out and ideas to speed up our workflow but how do we feel about giving things up all together? If you’re anything like me, the idea of quitting things completely is slightly terrifying (“What? You mean I can never have another cigarette ever again?!”) but sometimes it really is the best way to go about things. I guess I’ve always been an ‘all or nothing’ kinda gal.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the greatest thing about running your own business is that it’s yours to do with as you wish. Sure, we have to worry about taxes, overheads, margins and profits, but at the end of the day if something is no longer working we can make our own decisions to quit them!

I’ve spoken to wedding photographers who no longer enjoy engagement shoots so they simply took them out of their packages, and others who hate running photo booths so they’ve sold their kit. I’ve pondered with stationers who hate embellishing their suites so now favour only printed items and jewellery designers who’ve stopped making cheaper mass market (but high earning) items in order to take a risk and focus on more luxury items…And you know what? Every single person is ecstatic about their decision. Sure, the things they’ve quit might work for others or be seen as ‘the norm’ but if they’re making them unhappy why would they want to carry on with them?

I often wonder, if I could go back and relive my tumultuous teenage years would I still make the same ill-advised decisions? Would I have continued to light up while walking across the park to school?

Yes…probably.

But in actual fact I can now look back on that memory with a weird fondness, because without that moment I wouldn’t now be able to proudly say “I’m am ex-smoker and I quit to make my life better.”

22 comments

  1. yep quiting is a hard thing to admit to but sometimes it is for the best reasons. I recently ‘quit’ the Ibiza side of my buisness, one of my USPs was my Ibiza wedding planning but after a number of months of quite lenghty enquiries that took up a lot of my time which then led to no bookings I decied to take the options away and concentrate on the UK weddings. I loved the weddings I have planned out there and have more this year, but no more bookings and endless enquiries for me now!I felt a bit of ‘have I failed’ by stopping doing the thing that people knew me for but in buinsess everything is trial and error, and some things make us more money than others. It’s awlasy good to take a step back and re evealuate where your business is and where you want it to go.
    Now Ibiza can go back to being the magical place I got married, and soemwhere for fab holidays, not a place that I used to call work!
    (P.S well done on the smoking and welocme to the non smokers club!)

  2. Oh, Kat! I feel like you wrote this for ME this morning. I swear. A. Congrats on quitting smoking. I’ve been so disgusted with it lately and how it controls my body and mind. How DARE it? B. And the whole switching things up biz wise! Again! Pondering on this for weeks. Wishing I could only do extravagant/off the wall work and still make steady income.

    DOING.IT.

    THANK YOU!!!

  3. Good for you Kat,

    My father in law is 80 and has smoked since he was 14 (or possibly 12!) He recently contracted cancer in his nasal passages and although surgery has been encouraging, his appearance will be altered forever. Of course he still smokes! I am so glad that none of his three daughters or my two children smoke.

    John.

  4. Elle Johnston

    Your timing is impeccable! I’m going through a similar thing myself and I’m finding it amazingly freeing to quit. It’s very easy to get caught up in the things-you’re-supposed-to-be-doing when you work for yourself without thinking about whether it’s actually what you WANT to be doing. Stepping away from it feels like a weight off my shoulders.

    (And congratulations on quitting! Your lungs must love you!)

  5. well done on quitting. 20 days and counting, is awesome! Taking up smoking was the stupidest thing I did (and my reasons were less justifiable than yours – I was 19, so well past the age of influence!) but quitting was one of the best things I did. You’re an ex-smoker now, and it’s a great club to be in! :-)

    I think quitting things, in a business sense, that people don’t enjoy is smart. It’s hard; wondering what will fill the void financially especially if it was a money spinner, but it does come down to the same reason we get into our businesses in the first place – it’s about doing something we love doing.

    Great post – sometimes these posts are like Thought for a Day on Radio 4 in terms of giving food for thought! (and obviously, with a lot more pinkness). ;-) x

  6. Wicked post. thanks Kat. I have just ‘quit’ my day job and it’s the most scary but liberating thing ever. So this post is very timely for me too :) xxx

  7. Ya know what, just when we think you can’t rock any harder…. you do. The Libby team applauds you, your amazing accomplishment AND your powerful message! SOMETIMES it’s OKAY to QUIT!!! Congratulations Kat. Enjoy those extra shoes and more importantly… those extra years you are giving yourself! xo

  8. Firstly love the photo of you and Gareth, gorgeous!

    And well done for quitting smoking .

    For me I ‘quit’ venue searches a few years ago (unless for full planning clients) because it was so time consuming and invariably you’d never find what the client want. Just like Phil & Kirsty on location, location – I knew their long list of ‘must haves’ was unrealistic so I removed from my services.

    Sometimes you have to take stock and the the whole reason for being self employed is to love what you do – so if you don’t – rethink and rejig what you do.

  9. Awesome Kat! Quitting is tough, but you have gotten over the hardest part:) I quit four years ago.
    I think there must be something in the air, there is a lot of good change going around!

  10. wow great post and you are so right sometimes I think we are controlled to keep doing things because we worry about the consequences being a negative thing instead of a positive! xx

  11. Congratulations Kat, i quit smoking 11 years ago, i really know what you feel right now.
    Even 11 years after my last cigarette, i know i can fall again… (we will always be ex-smokers, and never no-smokers…)
    Funny that you made this post today, i really think to make some changes in my business life.
    Thanx for all your work here, you’re such an inspiration !

  12. Well done Kat!!! You’re a better woman than me. My husband despairs of my smoking and I have yet to pluck up the courage to go cold turkey. You have me thinking though how enjoyable do I actually find this smoking lark anymore..?

  13. Congrats on quitting the smokes. I good decision for sure. No bigger bummer then seeing a pretty girl with a nasty cigarette in her mouth!

    Glad you enjoyed this amazing city, and come back soon!

  14. I’m so glad to hear that you managed to quit! I’m 21 years old and I’ve never even tasted tobacco, and never will. My aunt, who was very important to me, died because of that stuff, so I don’t want to get involved with it…

Reply

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