top of page
  • Writer's pictureKelly Osbaldiston

Unmasking the Silent Saboteur: Why We Quietly Quit On Ourselves

Quietly quitting on yourself is not something most people realize is happening. It’s a gradual disengagement from your ambitions, often without attracting much attention from you or those around you. Instead of making a clear and definitive decision to abandon your pursuits, you allow self-doubt, fear, external pressures, or a sense of resignation to gradually crush your motivation and commitment.

It’s a self-sabotaging behavior that stops you from actively pursuing what you truly want, whether due to feelings of inadequacy, fear of failure, societal expectations, or other internal and external factors. This “quiet” quitting can happen over time, leading to a loss of confidence, diminished self-esteem, a negative self-perception, and unfulfilled potential. It’s a form of self-neglect that creates roadblocks and prevents you from realizing your true capabilities.

But before you can embrace your inner sage and outsmart your saboteurs, you must understand why this happens.

Your survival brain is to blame for why you’re quietly quitting.

Your survival brain, known as the limbic system, is wired for staying safe and avoiding change. When you’re stuck in autopilot mode, it tends to take charge, urging you to stick to the familiar, avoid risks, and stay on the known path. It’s like an overly cautious parent always on the lookout for potential dangers.

This survival brain can be quite loud when it comes to change and risk, often perceiving your ambitious dreams as threats. It triggers self-doubt and suggests, “Maybe it’s safer to stay where you are.” The resistance to change can stifle your passion, even leading you to run away from growth opportunities out of fear of failure. This internal dialogue is more influential when you’re on autopilot, not actively engaged in the decision-making. You’re simply drifting along, letting the familiar currents carry you, even if they’re taking you away from your goals.

Your childhood experiences, upbringing, and societal conditioning can also play a role in shaping your self-worth and perceived capabilities. These beliefs can sneak in subtly, becoming the driving force behind the cycle of quietly quitting. When you lack self-compassion, your inner critic takes center stage with a metaphorical megaphone, repeating messages like “You’re not good enough.” This can lead to settling for a mediocre life instead of a fulfilled one.

Signs you might be quietly quitting on yourself:

Recognizing the signs that you’re quietly quitting on yourself can be challenging because it often happens gradually and subtly. We all have saboteurs that act as inner, negative voices in our heads, living deep within our brains, forming patterns of thinking over time. These patterns become mind traps that take away from our ability to have clear thinking and growth. But paying attention to your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can help you identify this pattern.

Some signs to watch out for are:

  • You lack enthusiasm or a sense of excitement about your goals.

  • You hesitate to step out of your comfort zone or try new things.

  • You doubt your abilities or believe your dreams are unrealistic.

  • You downplay your accomplishments or are reluctant to celebrate your wins.

  • You struggle to make decisions, especially related to your goals and future.

  • You may feel regret or resentment about not pursuing your aspirations or making different choices in the past.

Recognizing these signs requires self-awareness and introspection. Journaling, mindfulness, and regular self-assessment can be helpful in identifying when you might be getting caught in this cycle.

If you think you’ve been quietly quitting on yourself

Working with a coach is a great way to get support to identify the complexities and hidden triggers that have brought you to this point. Together, we can peel back the layers, shining a light on the doubts, fears, and self-limiting beliefs that have silently driven your decisions. My goal is to help you gain self-awareness, resilience, and confidence to face why you’re quietly quitting so we can create a plan for how you can move forward.

Instead of getting down on yourself that you aren’t “where you want to be” in your life, or because you’ve realized you’ve been quietly quitting, take heart and take action. Embrace the opportunity to better understand yourself, your mind traps, and what you need to reach your fullest potential.


bottom of page