What “baggage” might you still be holding on to, that could be holding you back from the success you aspire to? What’s stopping you from letting go?
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What “baggage” could you still be carrying that might still get in the way of your success? How much longer do you still need to hold on to that and when do you think will it be the right time for “letting go?”
This is an area of my work with my clients that I encounter quite often and quite consistently. Already successful people looking to “raise their bar” but that keep stumbling over what often turns out to be some age old issues that they have simply kept holding on to. You know, a little like that old “safety blanket” you might have had as a child, like a stuffed toy that served to reassure you? We all still have some of those, don’t we?
I have written about such things in various blogs like Trusting oneself or Beliefs or Attached and Detached and Self Talk. What I would like to do today is to have you reflect on your life’s work so far and ascertain what beliefs or assumptions or attitudes or self talk you might still be holding on to that could be holding you back. If we take some quality time to reflect on this then deep down we probably all know which these are. And if we are truthful with ourselves, then we often find they are usually old behaviour patterns and strategies that we have simply kept on running – like an old record, right? And when you might have identified some, I’d like to give you some perspectives on how you might want to be able to “let them go”.
If you are struggling to get to that level of self analysis, perhaps you can think of your last few performance reviews, if you work in a company that does such formal reviews at least once a year. Are there any recurring themes? Or perhaps you have had a 360° review done that highlighted some “blind spots” in your behaviour or view of yourself? Or maybe a succession planning exercise found some areas you would need to work on improving so as to become eligible for that next role you aspire to?
Sometimes using such tools has helped my clients get started in this direction. Perhaps you might also want to ask trusted people that know you well for their insights?
Perhaps you keep procrastinating on something you feel less confident about? Or maybe you want to let go of being moody or allowing yourself to get overwhelmed, or “rushing in to things”. Maybe you are indecisive and are fearful of a “door closing” and afraid of the reframe that it may well be what’s required to open other new doors for you?
One typical example of where people struggle with” letting go” is when it comes to delegation. Of course we can do the task needing to be delegated much better than the person we want or need to delegate it to. But it wasn’t always that way, was it? When we started or inherited that task it was also unfamiliar and the productivity attached to it much lower than today, right? And of course there are some risks attached to delegating important tasks or functions to others. However, if we want to grow, then delegation is inevitable and an important part of developing others that work for and with us. My experience is that people new to delegation often struggle to “let go” and then annoy those they delegated it to by being overly controlling, even (s)mothering.
In my blog on Thresholds I speak of typical cycles most small businesses go through, where the original founders of a company struggle to “let go” some of the controls they each “have to do themselves” and to put structures and processes in place that relieve them of the necessity of everything having to go via their desk. This is relevant in a few organizations I am currently working with.
Sometimes our increased need for “significance” at certain points in time can have us holding on to things longer than necessary, because we or others might think less of us if we are no longer responsible for that. There’s that ego potentially getting in the way again, right?
That is the business context. The other context of course is more personal, where having asked you to consider identifying certain limiting beliefs or assumptions or behaviours that could be “holding you back”, that you might want to “let them go”.
I have often said that the coaching conversation is one of the very unique relationships where there are no other agendas than your own; one where there is such a deep rapport and trust, that is very rarely found anywhere else. And so coaches are often able to have clients uncover and talk about deeply held issues they have spoken with no other person about. And invariably when that happens, the conversation goes to a remarkably deep and meaningful level. One that allows them to realize that most of these old and usually conditioning based and nonsupporting beliefs that have held them back for so long, were actually “made in their head”. Which in turn helps them appreciate that they can be replaced with more positive and encouraging beliefs that are commensurate with their current age and maturity. Why? Because they understand that they can also be made in the head.
However, in order for these new beliefs and more positive behaviour patterns to manifest, we usually have to practice “letting go” of the old ones first.
A Technique For Letting Go
A technique that I first experienced over 10 years ago and have successfully used myself and now assisted numerous clients with is the “letting go” technique.I would like to share this with you today.
Once you have identified likely limiting behaviour patterns, habits, strategies or beliefs, write them out on a piece of paper. Be quite specific. If you want, add what holding on to them might have “cost or lost you”. Write that they no longer serve or support you, and that you no longer need them in your life.
Then I suggest that you write that you “now formally let them go”. Some people also symbolically draw a line through them, further indicating that by crossing them out they are no longer valid for them.
Next, scrunch the paper up.
Now you can further symbolically “let it go” by flushing it down the toilet or burning it in your hearth or BBQ. In my case we did this in a personal development course and each participant quite ceremoniously had a turn to place our scrunched up paper in a hearth and watch it go up in flames. Gone. No longer relevant. I found that exercise one of my more liberating change items in my life.
It is of course very useful then to write out a new affirmation of the new belief(s) that you will have replaced the old one(s) with, and to read them (or speak them to yourself – preferably in privacy and in front of a mirror) each day over a period of time. I know some people find that quite challenging. The next best approach I found was to record the affirmations and play them back in a private environment where listening to your voice can be quite powerful. Of course you can always “just” have the paper or media you wrote them down on with you and read them whenever you feel challenged or have some time.
I appreciated the quote of Mary Manin Morrissey: “The Tao Te Ching says, When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. Have you ever struggled to find work or love, only to find them after you have given up? This is the paradox of letting go. Let go, in order to achieve. Letting go is God’s law.”
Can you imagine if you applied the above technique and it helped you to “let go” of something that has held you back for a long time? Can you place yourself three months down the track and looking back on this process? Can you feel the energy from the liberation? Can you see the results? Can you hear the applause for your success? Don’t you think it might just be worth a try? I know numerous clients of mine that have benefited from this. Why not you?
And if you have a go yourself without the desired results, why not give me a call or contact me and “Let’s Talk Coaching”?