Sanders, the hall of fame running back, spent ten years playing pro football.
He earned dozens of rushing and touchdown records.
But at the ripe age of thirty, taking time to sort through his feelings and make sure that they were backed with conviction, the fastest guy in the league decided to walk away.
He took one good look in the mirror and said, it’s time for me to go.
In his farewell speech he spelled it out beautifully:
It was a wonderful experience to play in the league, and I have no regrets. I consider the players, coaches, staff, management and fans my family. I leave on good terms with everyone in the organization. But my desire to exit the game is greater than my desire to remain in it. I have searched my heart through and through and feel comfortable with this decision.
Naturally, broadcasters, critics and fans wondered about what he could have done as a player if he spent the next ten years of his career with a lot of talent around him. Barry might have been greatest of all time, they predicted.
But the guy didn’t care. People’s expectations were their problem.
He was done. Going out on top. Leaving in a blaze of glory.
His story is an inspiring reminder that if our heart is not in something anymore, it’s okay to leave. If we can achieve greater fulfillment by moving onto something else, it’s okay to walk away.
It’s not quitting, settling, giving up, wimping out, cashing in, or whatever other disapproving word our macho culture uses to demonize the pathetic losers who quit.
This is about evolving. Moving forward. Outgrowing our origins. Living lager than our labels. Choosing to live a new story.
There could not possibly be less shame in something like that.
Adams, the most widely syndicated cartoonist in history, wrote that the most important skill in success is knowing how and when to switch to a game with better odds for you.
If your desire to exit has finally become greater than your desire to stay in the game, if the hunger has been flushed out of your system, peace the fuck out.
Let go and explore other avenues of life.
You’re not quitting, you’re allowing to find it where it lives for you.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
What game might have better odds for you?