Why are we so scared to let go of the things we have? Les Brown tells a story of a prisoner who was going to face the firing squad next morning. The commander of the prison visited him that night and told him that he had a choice. He could either face the firing squad or he could walk through a steel door. When the prisoner asked what was behind the steel door, the commander said “no one knows.” That prisoner chose the firing squad. After the shots rang out and he was executed the commander’s assistant came up to him and asked what was behind that door? The commander replied “freedom.”
I recently learned that when we’re born we only have two fears. As babies, we’re afraid of falling and loud noises, that’s it. We’re literally just like Constance Pedron said “born perfect and programmed to fail.” I’ll write about fears at a different time. Today I want to chat about letting go and stepping into the unknown because it truly is the only way to grow to the next level. Whether you’re looking for a promotion at work, opening your own business, lifting more weights at the gym, dieting, improving relationships or anything else you can think of. In order to grow and improve, we absolutely have to let go of whatever it is we’re holding on to.
Did you know that as a leader your job and main mission is to get replaced? It really is to train someone to be able to do your job better than you and to be able to train others better than you could. This may sound like a foreign subject to you and that’s ok, I completely understand. But could it seem foreign because you have not yet decided to let go of your current belief that safe and secure is the best way to go?
Some people hold on so tight that they will not train others on their skill sets at work because they fear losing the job, some leaders will not delegate duties to their subordinates for the same reason. Many of us will not let go of an idea we’ve held on to because that’s what we know, everything going on in the world today proves this point best. I’m writing this article to simply introduce a concept that may help you get unstuck if you’re feeling stuck in a certain area. In order for you to grow, you have to give something up! If you were holding a stack of $10,000 in each hand (that’s $20,000 in case you’re like me and not good in math), with no capacity to hold anything else, and I came up with two stacks of $50,000 to give you. Would you drop the $20,000? My guess is yes, you would. What if my stacks of $50,000 were in a brown paper bag and you couldn’t see them? My guess is that you would probably play it safe and hold on to your current money.
That’s exactly what happens when we hold on to something. I know that success is not guaranteed every time we let go, but growth is, and in order to achieve success we must let go! We become afraid to let go because we fear losing what we have more than being excited about the possibility of growth. If you keep holding on to what you have today, it will be difficult to bring new things into your life and without that you become still. When I started my success journey I had to give up many things without even realizing that I was giving something up. It’s only now that I’m reflecting on the past decade of my life that I realize what happened. I’ll give you a few examples of some things I gave up.
After departing from the Marine Corps, I let my fitness, health and diet slip away from me. When I realized that it was time for a change I was 240lbs and smoking like a chimney. Now, some guys look great at 240 but I was not one of those guys! The first thing I gave up was sleep. I started going to the gym at 5am to work out because that was the only time I had in my busy schedule. After all, I had my TV and relaxing on the couch time scheduled for after work! The second thing I gave up was my bad eating habits. I’m still not perfect, but I eat way more salads today than I do cheesesteaks!
When I became fascinated with learning about leadership I decided to give up my couch and TV time for reading, learning, and studying. I learned that everything that needs to change in order for me to have a more fulfilling life is within me! It’s actually within all of us, yet most people wait for their circumstances to change instead of changing the way they view their world. I now take full advantage of every minute that I have to learn something new that interests me.
When I was managing a team for a very reputable Xerox owned company, I felt like I’ve made it to the top of the sales profession. I was so scared to lose that job because I never thought that I could do better. See, like many of you are feeling right now, I was afraid to lose way more than I was excited to gain and therefore I didn’t gain. It wasn’t until I gave up that management job that I saw a greater potential.
It wasn’t until I gave up smoking that I was able to breathe. It wasn’t until I gave up sleep that I was able to get in shape, and it wasn’t until I gave up the bars and clubs until I was able to be a father…
You see? When we hold on to our current life, it’s difficult to attract something better and to go to the next level. Unfortunately, that’s where the sense of fulfillment is. Not to get all deep, but what is our purpose in life? Whatever it is, I can guarantee that we were not created to be average, secure, and content. I believe that we were created perfectly to explore, grow, help others, and make this world a better place before we leave it.
So what are you holding on to? Are you happy with your life? I mean truly happy! Have you thought of what you want your legacy to be yet? If not, it’s ok! The good news is that it’s never too late to start. You can start letting go right now and begin doing things that really propel you to the next stage of your life!
If you want more out of your team, you have to give up time to invest in them. If you want more out of your life, you have to give up the things that are keeping you still and go get more! No matter what you do, you cannot hold on to your current thoughts and ideas and achieve more. For you to change you have to change the way you think and the things you think about!
I wish you tons of success and growth in the near future. If you’ve committed to growing, it will be easier for you to let go and grow!
“Live your purpose”
The Goal Guide