“You can’t reach for anything new if your hands are still full of yesterday’s junk.”
~Louise Smith

So often, we claim to be asking for something different and new. So often, we get frustrated because, try as hard as we can, we can’t seem to achieve that illusive dream or goal.

So often, it’s because we’re clinging to what we won’t let go of.

A few examples:  I had a client who wanted a chance to work on a new project, but her calendar was so full of meetings checking in on past projects, her boss had no confidence that she’d have time for anything else. Another client had issues with his former boss, but when he got a new reporting relationship, he was still so full of anger, and even fear, from what had transpired in the past, that he couldn’t build a strong relationship with his new, seemingly wonderful, boss. And then there was the client who stepped out of a family business to launch a company that she’d been dreaming about, but she allowed herself to be pulled in again and again when something went wrong with the family store.

You can claim to be ready to move through past challenges and toward a brighter outlook, and yet you may find your mind swirling around and around in the past, so much so that you’re unable to give time, energy, and attention to the thing that you want most.

If we are full of yesterday’s junk, we can’t move on.

The good news is that there are steps you can take:

  • Awareness can really be a great first step. With each of my clients (and with myself), we heightened awareness of the “handfuls of yesterday’s junk,” because simply being able to notice this allows us to let it go, and let it go again if necessary.
  • Focusing on mindset is also an important step.  My clients were able to identify how they felt when they were clinging to the past, so that they could shift their mindset.
  • And then finding the right resources helps.  We created and researched tools they could use to bring them forward into the present. Tools such as being mindful of the present – our seat in our chair, our fingers on our keyboard, our breath in and our breath out – which can help us let go of what we’re holding onto so that we can reach for something new.

We need to let go of whatever we’re holding, even if we think we’re holding it for good reasons, to be able to allow the new into our work, leadership, and lives.

What have you been clinging to that you want to let go of?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

For support in letting go and letting in, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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