Letting Go

It is the hardest of changes…letting go.

People ask, “Why have you been successful in your career?”

I said, “Knowing when to let go.”

 Imagine you are in a very deep, straight-wall canyon, and there is no way out except by using a hot-air balloon. First, you start throwing all the equipment you purchased to get to the bottom of the canyon into the balloon’s basket. You follow up by packing all the samples you found on your trek. Finally, you step into the balloon and untie the rope, and nothing happens. The basket is too heavy to be lifted.

You are stuck unless you rid yourself of some of the weight.

As entrepreneurs, business owners, and leaders, we must understand what we need to leave behind to excel in the future. It might be a strategy. It might be a task. It might be a person.

I had the privilege of sitting in a mastermind group for small business owners here in Nashville, TN. One of the owners was discussing one of his best employees. The employee had been with them since day one and had excelled at the job. Recently, the small business owner promoted this employee to the foreman role because he knew everything about the job, but he ended up being a lousy foreman.

The room discussed the merits of what to do with this poor-performing foreman. They debated the different options, but when it came down to it, a wizened businesswoman who had made many mistakes in her life said, “Either you demote him, or you fire him. If you want your business to be successful, you can’t hold onto that decision. You have to let it go.”

The business owner had decided, and he wanted it to be right. It wasn’t. The consensus in the room was that at some point, we are going to regret a decision or two, or maybe even three, but it is what we do next that matters.

In your life, what decision are you holding onto that you have to let go of? Maybe it is a relationship decision. Maybe a financial one. Maybe a career choice. (Oh boy, I can relate to that one). Maybe it’s a task.  

Here is the challenge. No matter who you are, there are things that you are holding onto that are holding you down. It may not feel like it from the inside but I guarantee there is.

Ask yourself, “Where do you want to go?” and then look at the activities that you are doing and decide if they are helping you or holding you back. If they are holding you back, then let them go.

Have a ceremony. Mourn their loss. Grief.

But then move on.

The top of the canyon is just a short balloon ride away.

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