Many years ago I was at a festival and watched a hot air balloon take off. It was held down by sandbags which the pilot had to untie and let go of in order for the balloon to soar into the sky. Other workers stayed behind to collect the sandbags, hop in a truck and head to where the balloon would eventually land. It’s a trip that would have never happened if the pilot didn’t let go of what was holding him back.
There are times in life that letting go of what’s holding you back is the only way to follow your dreams. It’s not easy to do so at times. I totally understand. Been there. Done that.
Motivational Speaker, Jim Rohn said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. Are the top five people you spend the most time with holding you back or letting you soar? Are they the quality of people you strive to be like or going nowhere in a hurry? Do you have other emotional baggage that you need to let go of? Do you have things that happened in the past that you can’t get over so you don’t move forward?
You can’t move forward while looking in the rearview mirror. What’s in the past is in the past. There are a lot of people that use the past as merely an excuse to not move forward. They blame other people, places or things as to why they can’t succeed yet sit there and do nothing to try to succeed. They’d rather complain than try.
I listened to a motivational speaker, Joe Calloway at the National Speaker Association conference give a speech about letting go. He talked about throwing out a lot of his old promotional materials that were no longer current.
I recall he said it was difficult to do so at first, but he soon realized that he had to let go of the things he didn’t need. Yes, he spent a lot of money on these things, but if it’s not current or being used, it’s not needed.
I listened to his speech and realized I needed to do the same thing. I needed to let go. There were hundreds, if not a thousand dollars or more worth of promo that were out of date sitting on my shelf, in my closet, in boxes, … everywhere. There they sat taking up room to never be used again. I was only keeping them because I knew how much money I spent on them. To throw them out felt like I was throwing money away, but I knew I had to let go.
I kept one for each one of my kids if they wanted it, one for myself and put thousands in the recycle bin. Old business cards, 8×10 promotional photos, letterhead, DVDs, and other things that I no longer needed were recycled, if they could be or put in the trash.
In today’s internet based world, I don’t send out nearly as many postcards or other promo as I used to. It’s all online for my clients to see instantly. No need to wait for DVDs or other printed material in the mail.
Over the last couple of years I’ve let go of other things in my life that were holding me back. I learned to get rid of toxic people that I didn’t need around and avoid things that didn’t make me happy. Life is too short to not be happy or deal with things that are holding you back.
Make a list of things that you need to succeed and a list of what’s holding you back or that you don’t need. It could have been a need a year ago, but now it isn’t. It’s OK to let it go if it’s never going to be of use to you again.
A friend of mine uses a technique that I think is brilliant when he’s deciding which clothes he wants to get rid of. He looks at a shirt, pants or whatever other clothing item he is thinking about getting rid of and asks himself “If I went to a store and it was on a rack for sale, would I buy it?”. If the answer is no, he donates it. He liked it when he bought it a year or more ago, but it’s not in fashion any longer or his tastes or size have changed. That concept could be used for just about anything you own.
I believe the Japanese ask themselves if something brings them joy it they are deciding to get rid of it or keep it. They hold it, look at it and if it doesn’t bring them joy, they get rid of it. If it doesn’t bring you joy, get rid of it. Do you need it or just want it? Can you live without it?
Don’t keep things around that you will probably never use. That’s a tough one for me, but I’m getting better at it.
I recently let go of a large Facebook group I was the admin of. It was a local Neighborhood Watch association page. It went from 20 members that lived on my block to over 3,000 people from my community. I was even voted citizen of the month by the local police because of all my work on it. Why did I give it up? It was taking up way too much time and I needed to focus on my marketing and life more. I was constantly having to respond to messages from members, monitoring posts, putting out online fires, had strangers knocking at my door about issues in the neighborhood, etc. It turned into an unpaid job that was out of control. I haven’t missed the extra stress at all.
After giving up the group, I found I was focusing on the important things more and getting things done. It was like a huge weight was lifter off my shoulders and I haven’t missed it one bit.
I’ve also deleted addicting game apps off of my phone over the years, too. Is lining up a row of virtual candy more important that reaching your dreams? I sure hope not. I bet your Facebook friends that are sending you game requests non-stop aren’t the most successful friends on your list. They didn’t let go of the games to focus on anything important in life. They are glued to their screens and trying to earn enough farm points to buy a virtual cow. They have time to play games all day, but set up GoFund me accounts for themselves so you and others that work can pay for their car repairs or other things.
“What’s the greater risk? Letting go of what people think – or letting go of how I feel, what I believe, and who I am?” -Brené Brown
We all know people that are posting on Facebook 20 times a day. Sadly, I was one of those, but have thankfully stopped posting that much. I post on my business / fan page to keep in front of leads and clients, but not that much on my personal wall. Social media cuts down on productivity a lot. Social media something that the world (and some world leaders) need to let go of or at least cut down on a lot more.
You’ll face resistance letting go of people and things that are holding you back. It’s not easy at times. I’ve had friends and relatives that suffered through miserable marriages for one reason or another to one day finally call it quits. They tried their best to make things work, but it didn’t. Most said they should have done it years ago once it was all over. Others worked things out and stayed married and are happy. Others are still miserable and haven’t decided to let go yet. You may have your own beliefs, but I believe we only live once. Make the most out of the time you have here.
Your life can go on for 100+ years or stop tomorrow. We don’t know when our time will be up.
As society changes and the things we have are mainly digital, cleaning up our messes will be as simple as emptying your trash on your computer. I believe by the time my grandchildren ( I don’t have any yet and hope I don’t for another 15 years) are grown, I would imagine all of their books, movies and anything else they need to read or view will be digital. The days or TVs, entertainment centers of any kind, etc. will be gone.
Other than the main necessities like a bed, clothes, shoes, fridge, tables, shower, toilet and a few other things, I think most of our other possessions with be in a digital / computer / smart phone capacity.
Book stores will be a thing of the past and so will a lot of other stores. It’s already happening. It’s only happening because inventors are willing to try something new. To try new things they have to let go of the old things. If people weren’t willing to let go of the old ways we’d still be riding in horse and buggies. My Amish friends are fine with that, but I like driving my car. Think of the various things that were around when you were younger that aren’t anymore due to changing technologies. Pay phones / phone booths, most movie rental stores, a lot of book stores, most record / CD stores, large entertainment centers, most arcades and many other things are a thing of the past. If you don’t keep up with the times and change your business accordingly, it might be a thing of the past sooner than later.
It’s a matter of letting go of what’s not working anymore in your business and focusing on what is. Skip the Yellow Page ads unless your average client is 70 years or older. Everyone else seems to be searching for things on Google or asking Siri. Soon those customers that used the Yellow Pages will be long gone and you’ll be losing money since you didn’t focus your advertising online.
Back in 1993 I let go of a job that was holding me back from doing what I loved and what I felt I was meant to do. It was before I was married with children, so it was a little easier to do, still scary, but easier. It was something I knew I needed to let go of in order to do entertainment full-time. My career in entertainment has changed throughout the years as well. I let go of things that weren’t working while working on the things that work. Over the last number of years, I’ve added motivational speaking to my credits while letting go of other things that weren’t moving my career forward.
For more on my letting go and following my dreams, watch the video below.
I was bit by the entertainment bug at a very young age and I knew it was my calling. I dreamed of doing it for a living, but didn’t think it could be my reality. After a lot of practice, hard work and letting go of things I needed to let go of, I was finally able to do what I dreamed of doing.
What’s calling you? What’s holding you back? Is it something simple, something difficult and major or is it simply YOU holding yourself back? What can you let go of? Think about it. The answer may be clearer than you think.
If you don’t answer your calling, it might not call you back. 🙂 …. Let go!