Every month as I contemplate what to write about in my Musings letter, I reflect back on recent conversations with clients and friends and see what I notice. It seems lately I’ve been talking with others, in some form or fashion, about letting go. The challenge of letting go crops up often in our lives, no matter what our age or profession or station in life might be. In my own life, lessons in letting go range from the personal (such as learning not to worry myself sick if I don’t hear from my peripatetic son for more than five days) to the professional (for example, stopping work to relax when I’ve spent enough time on a client project). Even though those are two very different situations, at the core is the challenge of letting go.
Digging down, I see that fear often lurks beneath the reluctance to let go of something (or someone). That can be fear of a loss, or of not having whatever it is we think we need or want, or even of not being perceived in a certain way. Sometimes, an outdated self-concept may contribute to an inability to let go of a time-worn thought process or way of seeing ourselves. I see this especially in those who are going through a transition in life, whether it is professional or personal. It sometimes takes letting go of our old concept of our self in order to step into a new self to meet the challenges that change brings.
Being humans, we are often reticent about letting go of what we are accustomed to, even if it not serving us. We cling to what we know, or think we know, and lose the opportunities for growth and creativity that the unknown holds for us. Raymond Lindquist once said “Courage is the power to let go of the familiar.” When we are honest with ourselves about what it is about the familiar that we are so attached to, what needs it meets, we are better equipped to understand if and how and when to let go. And that letting-go process can take a lot of courage.
What are you having a hard time letting go of in your life? It may be corporate power, a particular habit, a sense of control, or your child going off to college….whatever it is, I hope that you can view the letting go as an opportunity for growth and learning. If I can support you in this adventure in any way, please ask.
Sharon Keys Seal