Hey, I’m glad you’re here. This is Episode 19, and we’re talking about letting go. That’s right. The words of the famous Disney Princess whose name I don’t even remember, but that won’t stop me from singing her song. Sing it with me. Let it go, let it go. That’s all we’re going to sing for now. But stick with me. And let’s think about what you need to let go. Are you ready? Let’s do this.
Welcome to An Owner’s Guide for Your Life, the podcast that combines psychology, coaching, common sense and fun. I’m Tracey Browning, an entrepreneur, life coach and lover of people. Now let’s talk about how to live love, make money and change the world.
It’s October, which means it’s autumn here in North Carolina. It’s the time of year where, thank heavens, there’s less humidity, the breezes are cooler, the sunshine’s still warm, but our thoughts turn to putting pumpkins on the porch and picking apples from the orchards and watching the leaves turn from green to red and orange and gold, then drop down to the ground where we crunch them when we walk, or we rake them up into piles and then the dog jumps in them.
So as I watch the leaves float down from the tree branches, I’m wondering, what do you need to release? What do you need to let go?
Ecclesiastes in the Bible- Chapter three verses one through eight – A time for everything.
“There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
There’s a time for everything which implies that these things are not meant to last, to go on forever. But the trick is knowing what is when?
When is it time to plant? When is it time to harvest?
When should you be searching? And when should you give up?
And how do you know?
Well, you can know what time it is for you by taking time to be self aware, to know yourself, to think about what’s working for you. What do you need? What do you want? And are you getting these things? And if you don’t take the time to know yourself and think about these things, who will?
You know the answer to that.
If you don’t do it, nobody else is going to do it for you.
You own your life. You need to take the time to think about what it’s time for, what’s the time to release and what’s the time to let go?
James Clear, who’s the author of Atomic Habits~
I like this quote.
“Nearly everything in life is unfavorable once it grows to a certain size. It is entirely possible to have too many clients, too much work, too much fame, too much free time, and so on. Pay attention to when the thing you’re chasing exceeds its usefulness.”
Good stuff there for whatever you’re considering releasing. And maybe there’s something that immediately pops in your head that you’re, “Oh, all right. Here’s your sign.”
Maybe you know exactly what you need to let go, but you may need to think on it.
You may not be sure what it is that you could benefit from releasing.
Whichever position you’re in, start from a place of gratitude.
This isn’t the time to just beat yourself up or struggle or strive, to think
oh, my gosh, you’ve got to constantly improve.
Start from a place of gratitude and think about what served you.
And is it time to let it go and be grateful that it was part of your life and that you are the person you are because whatever was there in your life, it made you who you are.
It’s part of you.
Now, if it’s something that hasn’t served you, just be grateful that you’re willing to let it go and boot that baby on out the door.
Keep in mind that releasing is an action that might not be the type of action you’re used to.
A lot of us like to just kind of stay always busy.
How are you doing? Oh, I’m busy. And we think, oh, yeah, it’s like a badge of honor, and we just feel like we’re accomplishing something by being busy.
So when we’re not actively doing something, it feels like we’re doing nothing but give yourself the service of taking time to be still and think about what do you want to release and then really take the action of letting it go?
Do you need to let go of worry?
Do you need to release the expectations of trying to be perfect?
Do you need to let go of “shoulding”? Are you “shoulding” all over yourself?
Should is such a dangerous word.
And when I think of “should”, here’s the mental picture I get in my head.
I picture when my boys were little and they were playing and somebody wanted them to say goodbye and they said, “Oh, come give me a hug. I’ve got to go.” And literally, they’d stop what they were doing. They’d come over very reluctantly, trudge away from their toys and give that one armed little side hug thing half-hearted and run back to their toys. Away from the hugger. That’s a “should”. I should hug.
But I compare that to the hugs that they gave me when they were so excited to see me. Mom, you’re home and they would run to me and jump up into my arms. Of course, when they were little and they could jump up and I could catch them.
But world of difference in their hugs, the should versus the I’m so glad to give this to you.
A should is an obligation.
A want to, I get to– that’s an opportunity.
So think about the things in your life. What are your shoulds?
Are there some shoulds that you can release and even just take the step of thinking about it as an I get to/ I want to now?
This doesn’t mean that I think we’ve got to stop doing all the things that we think we should do, because I’m well aware the world would quite likely grind to a halt if we all stopped doing these things that we should do. But I am talking about, at the very least,REFRAMING how you think about it. Should you do it? Are you obligated where you wind up feeling resentful or do you get to do something? World of difference!
Now, there’s a few other things that I’ve released. I have released, actually, I can’t say I’ve fully released it.
I AM LETTING GO OF UNREAD EMAILS
I’m in the process of releasing unread emails. I really do not want to tell you how many unread emails I started out with. It’s easily in the five digits of unread emails and that doesn’t count the ones I’ve read. These are all just unread emails.
Now I’m an information junkie. I’m a reader, I’m a writer. I like to read what other people write, and I’ve got an unbelievable amount of emails, and I have really allowed my inbox to just get out of control, which I know is slowing my computer down, but it’s also slowing me down mentally.
When I see that huge number up on my screen, it’s a psychological burden, so I decided I’m letting go. I’m letting go of unread emails. I’m working through what emails to keep- read or unread- and what to toss. And I am mostly tossing. It’s a slow process. I’m about halfway through and I’m already feeling much better because now I can see what I want to see and I’m really able to better use the information that I’ve got in my inbox instead of just feeling like I’m suffocating from this massive tsunami of emails. And if I want to know something in particular, I usually know who to go to to find out if I’m missing information. I know where to go. So I am releasing unread emails. I’ll let you know when I hit my zero unread. It’s a big goal. I’m still a little ways off. Oh, goodness, but progress, progress, progress.
I AM LETTING GO OF THE LONELINESS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Now another thing that I have let go of is the loneliness of entrepreneurship.
Now, whether you are a full entrepreneur and you work for yourself or whether you are an employee and you work from home, you’ve experienced how lonely it can be. Even in a house full of rambunctious kids, it can still be lonely doing your work alone.
With my coaching, yes, I interact with people, but I’m still doing the bulk of my work alone. And that can be lonely. And what’s happened over the past few weeks is that I’m in a mastermind group, and a few weeks ago, we were talking about this, and we decided here’s what we do.
We’ve decided to invite each other to virtual work sprints. So one of us will say, “All right, I’m going to work from two to four tomorrow” and we’ll put a link out for the others to join us on Zoom. So we’re working alongside each other, and mostly we’ll just kind of check in and go, “Hey, I’m working on this project. What are you working on?” We’ll talk for a couple of minutes, and then we’ll mute ourselves so we’re not hearing each other. We can talk to each other if we want to, but we know we’re there. We’re just there working alongside. So it’s kind of like being in an office.
But I think the two things that I think have really made the difference is one committing to, hey, I’m working on my work during this time, but two, just knowing you’re not alone. Somebody is there, somebody sees you. It has been amazing. The sense of connection that we felt with each other, how much more we’re in touch and can easily run a quick idea past you where previously we were thinking,”I don’t want to bother you”, but we’ve got some time built in to do that.
We’re all getting much more done, and it’s because we all decided, hey, we’re just going to let go of being lonely as an entrepreneur. We’re going to let that feeling go, and we’re going to replace it with something. We’re going to experiment. That’s been a really fabulous thing to let go and replace.
So, think, what is it you need to let go? Do you need to let go of NOT doing something- not speaking up? Maybe you need to let go of not holding yourself to a higher standard.
I kind of think of this as
DO YOU NEED TO LIGHTEN UP OR TIGHTEN UP?
It’s good to have periodic reflection. And much like the passage from Ecclesiastes, things are cyclical. Just because something has worked for you, if you think I’ve always done it this way, think about it. Is it still effective? Is it still serving you? Is it something that you want to keep in your life and if it is, keep it. But if it’s not, think about letting it go. You gain so much energy.
So many times we’ll have something in our life that’s not serving us, but we keep holding on to it, and we spend so much energy just fighting it where we just made a decision and moved on. We would have been so much happier and more effective. We would have gotten more time.
So I encourage you to start from a place of gratitude and think about what it’s time to release. What are you ready to let go? And do it! Let it go!