Letting Go - Openings and Endings
It’s hard to believe that we’ve been sharing lessons from The Gap with you for a year now. This year anniversary is a good time to celebrate, to acknowledge a milestone and look forward to the coming year.
In our October 2008 issue of Playing in the Gap! we touch on Letting Go – of identities, of relationships, of ideas, or affiliations and so on as a way of ending one experience only to open to another.
Table of Contents
I always get what I want … or something better.
How letting go leads to new possibility!
Press the Reset Button on Your Career and Life
Erase Defeating Messages and Replace Them with Ones that Affirm Who You Are, Not Other People’s Versions of You
The Law of the Garbage Truck
You don't have to take the garbage! Just pass by, without blame or judgment, and move on!
As I reflect on the past year, it’s wonderful to realize how much change I’ve created. Some changes I imagined, and yet many of the details I would never have said I wanted.
Some things that I wanted to have happen:
· Clarity about the focus of IAM. We are now able to say IAM is about “Focusing on the Essential” – when you can’t afford the cost of Drama!
· A well functioning team of collaborators. I am surrounded by people who share my vision and are enthused and courageous.
· A corporate opportunity to further IAM. My dream of getting IAM online is a reality. Making it available to the public is coming soon!
As I reflect on some of the past year’s accomplishments, I realize that each accomplishment came with a corresponding letting go:
· Trying to be all things for all people.
· Fear of asking for too much from others.
· Attachment to how IAM online would happen.
I have bumbled around and been scared while letting go. I would not have said I wanted some of the Drama I experienced.
Yet the Drama served me well: I’m thrilled with where the learning has brought me. Ironically, there are some things I’m holding on to more than ever:
· Expectation that everything I do will flow smoothly and easily. Struggle of any kind is less tolerable.
· Faith that everything that happens perfectly supports my creative desires and benefits others.
· Commitment to a world where the shining Essential Best of each and every one of us is a reality.
Through my process of letting go, I can see things beyond my self imposed walls that I never saw before: people, resources, ideas, requests …
Most importantly I’ve discovered that writing and sharing my learning with you is a joy! It’s been like welcoming you into the big comfy couches in my home for an intimate conversation about my hopes and fears.
In the process I’ve learned that I do always get what I want or something even better – especially when I:
· let go of the fears and limiting beliefs that I stubbornly cling to,
· hold on to that which is precious to me,
· open up to possibilities that I wouldn’t allow myself to imagine before.
I’m looking forward to another year of exploring the wide horizons of my Essential Best and yours.
I met a man, Mark, last weekend who shared a story about a previous career. He had been told for years by his boss that he was too loud, too irreverent, craved attention – and of course that was bad. So, he lowered his head and went back to his work, bored and dejected.
Mark worked in that organization for years, every now and then trying to bring out who he was only to be rejected – “that’s not the way we do it here.” One day this man took a personality quiz and discovered he wasn’t bad. He was just different. He realized that he didn’t have to work in a job that wasn’t suited to who he really was and started to look around. What could he do to bring out more of who he was and make a difference in people’s lives?
At the ripe young age of 45, he embarked on a new career - one that provides opportunities for his creativity and wit while at the same time making a difference in the lives of married couples. During a marriage workshop he conducts, he tells attendees something so brilliant, “You can hit the reset button and start over, you know.”
What happens when you hit the reset button? On computers, the reset button clears memory and resets the machine to its original state.
What if we could actually hit a reset button in our head, erasing all of those messages we’ve heard for years? You know the ones: You’re not good enough … smart enough … pretty enough … thin enough … political enough … charming enough. You’re too loud; you’re too quiet. You need help. I feel sorry for you. You need to be more like your sister. You’re too different. You’re just average. You’re bad. You’re an idiot.
Press the reset button, my friend! Now, you’re back at your original state - the state where you were your own person. When no one projected their hopes and fears on to you. You were standing tall. You wanted to do it yourself. You didn’t need anyone to rescue you. When someone said something mean, you were sure they were talking about someone else.
Bring that time forward to the present. Let go of the past. Start fresh. What kind of role or job can you create for yourself that leverages your unique strengths and talents? If you’re not sure where to start, talk with a trusted friend, colleague, family member or coach. Read some books, articles, or review some websites. You’ll be amazed at what you can do once you let go of defeating stories you have been telling yourself. Replace those stories with new ones – stories that affirm who you really are, not someone else’s version of you.
* Lorraine Cohen, our usual contributor for "Finding Courage" was extra busy this month while Diane was extra prolific. Here are some thoughts from Diane in place of Lorraine's usual wonderful writing.
I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us.
My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!
This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, “The Law of the Garbage Truck.”
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage - frustrated, angry and disappointed. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you.
You don’t have to take the garbage! Just pass by, without blame or judgment, and move on!