Over the past few weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with various business leaders and owners about a common theme: letting go. The ‘letting go’ I’m referring to isn’t about roles or responsibilities or learning how to delegate more effectively, but letting go of a particular dream, goal or program because as much as you want to make it work or have it become a reality, it might not be the right direction.
I know I’ve experienced this myself. In fact, I’m in the process of redesigning our vision for the future and it has definitely shifted from where I was three years ago. I originally envisioned having consulting offices in key cities around the country, with an in-depth training department focused on management and sales programs. In addition, my partners and I wanted to productize our services and begin generating passive income. Well, I’ve had to let go of some of these goals and dreams based on the reality of implementing these initiatives from a resource standpoint, and more importantly, in consideration of my own drive and energy and where I truly want to focus my time and expertise.
In other words, I had to get past my ego, past the potential pay offs, past my own dreams clouding my reality. Once I was able to get this clarity a funny thing happened—my energy and focus quickly accelerated to a new level of intensity. My passion for what I’m doing and where we’re going has never been greater. I think letting go of some of the goals and dreams, getting clear on what truly matters to me (inspiring, educating, and empowering individuals and organizations to reach their fullest potential), and narrowing our focus to our foundation of consulting services and our new product, WorkTraits, has allowed both me and my team to make great strides.
So why is it so hard to let go? Is it that we aren’t sure what our next goal or dream will be if we let go of what could have been? Are we afraid of what others may think of us? I realize we can only answer these questions ourselves, but it is important to realize the power of moving forward by letting go. Isn’t there even a saying, “when one door closes, another opens”?
Thinking back to my own experience as well as the struggles some of my clients have been having lately, I realized there are some steps to this process that we should take on a regular basis.
– Seek an outside, unbiased perspective. In essence, get a reality check. If you were to look at the situation as black and white, does it look the same? Get the perspective from individuals who are not emotionally tied to the goal, project, or dream.
– Realize there are going to be sunk costs in the dollars and time you’ve already invested into trying to make this dream or goal come to fruition. I’ve often had clients tell me they’ve spent so much time and money on a project and need to get a return. The reality is that money and time is gone. You can’t get it back. But do you want to continue putting time and dollars into something that is never going to provide you the return you hoped for? “Cut your losses” is a good phrase for a reason.
– Perform a self-evaluation as to why you really are pushing forward with this particular goal or dream. Is it for the right reasons? Get real with what you want for yourself and your business.
– Create time frames or investment limits that you’re willing to put into achieving these goals and stick to them. I knew one individual who put a hard limit of $100,000 into every project, and if they couldn’t get it off the ground with that investment it was time to move on.
I am not suggesting that you shouldn’t work hard in making your goals become a reality, but don’t mix possibility with reality. Just because you want something, is it worth the investment and sacrifices to get there? Put limits and time frames around your ideas.
This is another article in a series on Michael’s entrepreneurial story and how being raised in a large family has influenced his career. To read the previous articles in this series, visit his blog at www.Collaboration-llc.com.
Michael Gunther is Founder and President of Collaboration LLC, a team of highly skilled business professionals who are dedicated to assisting proactive business owners to build profitable, sustainable businesses through results-oriented education and consulting services. Learn more at www.Collaboration-llc.com.