As the old song goes “breaking up is hard to do”, but that sounds kinda personal. At work, letting go is a little like breaking up, but we don’t take it quite so personally. But maybe we should. Letting go can mean many things: terminating a team member, stopping work on an unproductive project, or maybe even leaving behind a bevy of expectations, fears, or directions that you’ve hung on to too long. To let go, at some point you have to say no and to whatever you must utter the dreadful word, here are three reasons it may be more personal, internal and urgent than you think.
I noticed the other day that my car was pulling more in one direction than another. That’s when you say “Houston, we have a problem”, however, it also occurred to me that this happens in life. A priority will pull us away from one direction into another. Maybe it’s a squirrel moment or maybe you’ve failed to stay focused, say no to the something new and simply gotten distracted. Think about it. To what goals have you stayed committed too long that are pulling you away from what’s really important? To what people have you devoted too much “lee way” in their performance that you really need to let go? Is there a project that is keeping you from being aligned to which you really should say no?
A friend and I talked the other day about how our thoughts become habits. Good or bad, there are likely things that you think that are nothing more than bad habits. And as my friend says to herself apparently daily “NUH UH we’re not going there”, it may be time to break up with that habit that is keeping you stuck to something that isn’t doing you any good. Have you made a habit of being afraid to make the next move you secretly know you need? Have you continued to expect that those you lead are going to do things you really know they’re not?
We all laugh at the phrase “the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over and expecting different results.” Yet, while we’re laughing … are we doing this very thing? If you say “yes” by checking your phone every time it dings, buzzes, or shakes, but complaining about never having enough time, do you need to say “no” to the constant interruption? If you constantly overload your calendar while regularly telling yourself you’ve GOT to get better about being on time, might it be time to let go of your delusion of how long things really take? Oh sorry, that one is really for me. Hehe!
While we can look at what leading really means and who’s got to be led first and foremost in order for you to effectively develop others, that’s really a Monday Moment all by itself and maybe we’ll tackle that one next week. For now, as a leader and as I teach in our leadership training programs, letting go is our focus and saying no is the key. What do you need to say no to and what’s holding you back? What do you need to let go of and what’s keeping your grip so strong? The fear you feel is likely real, but far more fleeting that you realize. Examine to what you need to say no and from what you need to let go and get some of that time back you need to experience the freedom to really lead.