This morning, I realized how much of my current suffering is grieving the lost time from when Dad passed about a year ago. I had already incurred enough distraction and time debt before that, but Dad’s passing pushed me over the edge. This was also about the time Cory exited the team. We’d brought him on to help with Momentum growth, and with his departure, it left me with two big growth projects to juggle — and I couldn’t push the book forward and grow Momentum at the same time.
The residue of those losses lingered on everything. I hadn’t seen the residue because it’s not about the losses themselves, it’s about the time debt and tough choices they created in the midst of those two major projects.
In a beautiful irony, it was reading Michelle Varghoose’s reflection about how Start Finishing helped her that helped me see what was going on with my own journey. She wrote that letting go of projects as part of the life projects exercise freed her to focus on the projects that really mattered. In a LinkedIn comment on Isabeau Iqbal’s post, I mentioned that the underrated gift of getting to good enough is the freedom it brings.
Both threads were about the freedom and peace that comes from letting projects go.
And Yet, It’s Often Not About Letting Projects Go
This morning, I realized that it wasn’t the projects that I needed to let go of, but my story that I could do anything about being behind and recovering the lost time since Dad’s passing. I’ve been doing the best I can every day to do the essentials, reduce the scope of the business, and slowly reabsorb the rest of the work that’s come back to me. Most importantly, I feel like I’m doing all this in an integrous way and asking for help and grace from teammates in ways I never would have before.
Lost time can’t be found; our best is all we can do. Sometimes, our best is not enough to catch everything that’s coming our way with the time, energy, and attention we have in the moment.
Those are the breaks and are the occasional pains of being human. We can’t change those breaks and pains, but we can change the suffering we add to the pain.
And, by ‘we’, I mean ‘I’. And, if this is hitting you in the feels, I mean ‘you’.
What Release Do You Need?
I wrote in Start Finishing that to trade up, you have to let go. In that context, I meant trading up to better projects. In this post, I’m taking a broader perspective on trading up.
Trading up to freedom and peace is even better than trading up to better projects. It’s easier for most people to entertain trading up projects because projects = doing = contributing = being valuable = deserving (love, respect, pleasure, etc.). Choosing freedom and peace is harder because it makes you center yourself and your needs. (Reminder: you and your needs matter, regardless of the doing you’re doing.)
I’ll leave you with three questions:
- What do you need to let go of? Like the readers above, it could be projects and ideas that have a little commitment juice to them. It could be a canoe you need to leave behind. It could be letting go of a story. Or, like me, it could be expectations and head trash.
- What needs to shift so you give yourself permission to let it go?
- What’s being on the hook doing for you that’s worth the pain of being on the hook?
Life presents us with enough to carry all on its own. Careful that you don’t add more to it than needed. There’s an important person who has to carry that additional, needless burden.
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