In order for us to move forward, we have to let go.
Whether it’s a relationship, a career, a business, material possessions, a previous way of operating or the multitude of other possible areas, letting go can be hard. And the longer we clasp our fingers tight around that which we are so desperately trying to keep, it hinders progress forward.
I think some of the reasons we struggle to let go are:
- Fear of the unknown.
“At least what I have now provides some certainty, even if I don’t like what is happening.” Letting go of the old means the ushering in of a new state and that can be downright scary.
- Fear of losing.
“I have two million dollars in the bank but if I follow my dream that puts all my previous hard work at risk.”
“There is so much opportunity for us to expand our business and double our sales but in order to do that we have to invest in new systems and people and we could lose big time.”
- Loss of our identity and status.
We find validation and thus our identity in what we currently have or what we’ve done. We have over time, become emotionally and intrinsically linked to that state. e.g. “I’m a CEO” or “I work 80 hours a week” or, “I’ve done this for twenty years.” Driving a luxury car or earning a high income, for example, can also provide false senses of identity and status.
- We are currently gaining something from not letting go,
This particularly relates to material possessions and the difficulty we have in letting these go
- “It’s the ‘right’ thing to stay in the current state.
A friend asked me 5 years ago, “Why are you still in your marriage?” I responded, “Because it’s the right thing to do.” His response initiated the change: “Ray, it’s not what’s right that counts, it’s what’s best.”
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.” Jon Krakauer. Into The Wild
Sheryl Sandberg wrote: “So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.”
Exercise the courage to let go your grip on the current bar you’re holding and swing out to the next one in order to propel you forward. Yes, you may fall off and have to attempt it again but, if you stay stationary you will miss the sense of exhilaration and satisfaction that only letting go will give you and, you will miss the new horizons and the lands that await beyond them.