Why it’s important to let go of our old (outdated) definition of success, so we can open ourselves to new possibilities.
When I was a kid I wanted to be an attorney. Actually I wanted to work hard for the general good and I thought being an attorney was the way to do that. Growing up in the shadow of Watergate will do that to a kid. My family was filled with teachers so my declaration was not well understood.
Although they did not know how to deal with my goals they were supportive.
I moved forward in my career with dogged determination. I advanced quickly in labor relations and human resources.
I had an image in my head of what defined success – recognition, rewards, the accoutrements of folks at my level.
Yet something was missing. I did not get pleasure from those rewards. I needed to throw off the old ideas I committed to so many years ago about what my life would be. It was hard and really scary. But business is good since I left go of my original impressions of what I thought I wanted for my life.
Recently my daughter and sister encountered the opportunity to redefine their paths. My sister Martha had several careers as a teacher (remember it is the family business!). When she did not get tenure as a professor she had to reinvent herself. The process has been difficult and really scary. I mean REALLY scary. But over the last year she has found another way of utilizing her skills and strengths that seems to allow her to express herself and earn a living.
My daughter Marissa had been a political operative working all over the US in political campaigns and most recently in Washington DC for a consulting firm. She decided to change careers. Her path takes her to get her MBA in St. Louis this summer. She left her position a few weeks ago. This decision was difficult and really scary. But since she left she has had three consulting gigs that will provide earnings between now and when school starts in July and maybe while she is in school.
What is happening here? Perhaps letting go of our old definitions of ourselves opens us up to new opportunities we could never imagine before. It feels like magic. Something special is happening here! I have seen it happen with clients too.
In his article, “Letting Go for the Life You Want“, Hale Dwoskin shares that letting go of our emotions can free us up from long standing problems and challenges, melting stress and opening us up for new opportunities. He suggests letting go is an invitation to the possibilities that life has to offer.
The minute Martha and Marissa let go of their previous definitions of success they opened up possibilities they never imagined. Magic!
So here is the challenge to you. What old images have you held on to for longer than they are useful? Can you even imagine what might happen if you let go? It is worth exploring your definitions of success to see what magic you can find!