Since when do master coaches preach the value of quitting? Most of the time people need a nudge to do a little more, but other times, they need a nudge to stop.
Home after home in the New York area began the arduous task of pumping hundreds, sometimes thousands of gallons of water out of their basements. Streets were like rivers, running with water from all the hoses that were used to drain the basements. Then there was the damage, not only the structural or cosmetic damage to each home but to all the possessions that got destroyed by the flooding.
By this time, I’d only been in my new home for about five months. When we first moved in and the movers arrived with our life that was in storage for over a year, I couldn’t believe how much ‘stuff’ we had accumulated! It was all stuff that I’ve lived without for 13 months. At one point, I asked Eddie, my mover, to bring it back. He said, “You’ll probably wind up throwing most of this out.”
Dozens of boxes later, we found a home for everything that Eddie was kind enough to bring back to me; in the garage, the attic and the basement.
Now here’s some irony. Not five months after moving in, this flood came and forced me to throw out at least 80% of these boxes stored in my basement; the same boxes that I paid to have in storage for 13 months, the same boxes I paid to have moved out of my old house and into my new one. The kicker is, for the most part I had no idea what was even in them!
After five sleepless days of pumping and dumping water, doing demo work, cleaning the damage and hauling mounds of newly generated garbage to the curb, we were close to having a dry and functioning basement again.
Being the eternal optimist, I knew there had to be some jewel that I can walk away with from this experience. It was right around the 25th box of stuff that we had stored in the basement and the 40th construction bag filled with debris ranging from toys, clothes, artwork and the drenched Sheetrock from the basement walls when the lesson started becoming evident.
I needed to give up. That’s right, I needed to quit. Without the flood, it would have been safe to say that these boxes would have remained quiet and undisturbed for years, simply taking up space and adding to household clutter. Yet, because of this natural disaster I was forced to clear out this clutter; the things that I did not use or no longer served me anymore.
Doesn’t the same philosophy apply to our business, our career and our life? The fact is, there are things you are doing right now which are creating the very results you want to avoid. The kicker is, you may already know this! Yet we still hold on to things that are not working: the toxic people or relationships that we’re better off without, the strategies we keep thinking will eventually work, the philosophies about selling, serving our customers as well as developing and retaining our staff.
The most productive people on the planet have mastered the art of abandonment. That is, the ability to let go of the stuff that no longer works. This is not only limited to what you do but also how you think; the limiting beliefs that keep you prisoner and stall your progress, preventing you from moving ahead.
Here I am, spending time, money and energy on protecting, saving or holding on to things that simply do not work for me or I no longer use; valuing possessions that have little or no worth. But we still hold on thinking, “Well, maybe one day I’ll use that again.”
We all have a place in our home, whether it’s the garage, a closet or a cabinet that is packed with stuff; so packed in fact, that you can’t fit another item in there. Consider that our lives are often set up this way; overflowing with chaos, to-do lists, appointments, projects, the wrong goals, or trying to keep up with overloaded schedules that keep us buried in trivial tasks.
If our lives are cluttered or packed with these things, then how can we make the room what we want most? You can’t add the things you really want into your business and your life if it’s already cluttered with old baggage that should no longer be there in the first place. There’s no space left to fill our lives with what is most important. As such, the ability to attain what we want is compromised.
We spend so much time identifying what we need to get or bring more of into our lives and our careers; more training, more technology, more planning, more systems that we often forget to identify what we need to let go of and give up that would propel us forward faster than any new technique or strategy would.
So, before you run out in search of the next best thing; the next greatest sales or marketing tool, the newest ‘secret’ to attracting top talent or bringing in more new business, see what you can give up first. Make a list of the things you’ve been holding onto, physically or mentally, that are dragging you down and just not working for you. Determine what you have in storage that needs to be let go. What is it costing you to hold on and not let go; not only in your business or career but in your life and the quality of it? I spent thousands of dollars and hours of my precious time moving and storing garbage!
In order to attract new and better people, experiences, results and more of what you want, first let go of the things that are clogging up your life in order to create the space for the better stuff to show up. Space creates choice. Learn to let go. What can you give up on today?
Photo credit: Marlon Malabanan