It’s sometimes hard to let go of what you’ve built, but not letting it go keeps it from becoming what it might.
We build relationships around who we were in one slice of time, but if we don’t make room for growth and change, then we can’t experience the richness of relationship that celebrates who we are and supports who we’re becoming.
We raise children and are scared to let them fall off the bike or head off to college on their own. Ifthey don’t fall, they don’t learn to ride. If they don’t find their own way, they’ll be left with no way but ours – in a world that requires a different way of being.
We build careers getting good at a few things and are reluctant to give that position or responsibility over to someone new. If we don’t, we can’t grow through new challenges, and those under us can’t carry on the work we’ve started.
We build business momentum around certain things only to find that those things don’t sustain us in the same way they used to. Doing the same thing repeatedly gets us the same results and we can’t build on the foundation we’ve laid because we’re too busy polishing it.
We build ideas – plans, designs, books, art – in our heads and are scared to let them out in the light of day. Despite what we tell ourselves, the excellence the idea will have out in the world will outshine the perfection it has in the abstract.
No matter what we do, there will come a time that we have to let go of what we’ve built.
The measure of our success as a builder is in whether what we build can thrive without us – and the only way we’ll know that is if we let it go.
Photo Credit: upturnedface
I think the better we get at letting go, the better we get at growth. It’s an ongoing challenge. I’m facing that right now — hating seeing the end of summer and the beginning of fall, since it was such a great summer. But if I don’t let go of it, I won’t be able to appreciate the beauty of autumn that is all around us.
We don’t really have a choice as to whether we move on or not. It’s just a matter of embracing, versus fighting, it.
Willie Hewes says
I agree, there really is no choice after all, we just think we can hold on to things, but they flow on with or without our permission.
“Despite what we tell ourselves, the excellence the idea will have out in the world will outshine the perfection it has in the abstract.”
Thanks for the reminder, Charlie. I have this problem. A lot.
Beth Andrus says
This is a great post. I had to let go of my other business last year. It was just time to move forward with new projects. It was tough, but once I sold the business there was room for everything else. This is one of those things we need to be reminded of, so thanks.
Sandi Amorim says
In my 10th year self employed as a coach I’ve been noticing the challenge of letting go in many areas. How can I take it up a notch when I’m attached to doing things a particular way? How can I produce better results with a product launch when I’m not sure what to do? How can I let my business thrive without me when I love it so? and on and on.
It’s about letting go but also getting comfortable with my own discomfort, instead of suppressing it or working over top of it (which doesn’t work!).
Jonathan Ziemba says
Expectations what do we want them to be? I am tired of having so many that the moments slide away. Letting go has the connotation of loosing when it is almost always the other way around. If I let go what expectations do I have?
My expectations are moving towards nonexistent.
The only way to know if we built that perpetual motion machine is to let it go down the road.
Great post Charlie.
Glad to find this post in my inbox this morning, it has really made me think.
For me, I feel as though I’ve successfully built my career as a teacher and yet there is a part of me wanting to explore other avenues. Part of me is scared to let go of being a teacher, scared of the security, scared of losing the admiration, scared of stepping into a world where my skills are unknown and untested.
My compromise this year was to end a full time teaching job (just yesterday) and start a part time one in a few weeks time. It’s like a transition out of teaching.
This post has made me think about being braver and more courageous than that.
I am just letting go of a video course I’ve made. I’m terrified, so I managed to put it off for a couple of days.
Then I sabotaged my plans by mentioning it on a forum – and now people want to see it! Eek!
I’m just uploading the videos now and may have to go into hiding for a week to recover!
Sandra Lee says
The benefits of letting go are so well articulated in this article. I myself find that learning to truly let go is a lifelong process that occurs on multiple levels. The best letting go happens in each and every moment as we allow thoughts and emotion to pass by without grasping onto them.
Thanks for this stimulating post.
Just letting go of a 40-year project that defined my life. The newsletter is going into a worldwide database fully indexed. Huge relief and so much more available for what is happening now.
Letting go of a sense of wanting and needing control. My business has a life of its own, I can direct and inform it but not control it. Being less invested in all aspects allows space for the lesser parts to flourish. Thanks for the post Charlie.