What will you let go of in 2018?

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash.

Early on in my business, when I was focused entirely on mindfulness training, I wrote and recorded a meditation called Letting Go.

At the time, I wanted to create a guided meditation to help people let go of negative emotions, difficulties that weighed on their minds, stressful experiences that held them back.

But now that I’ve been working more with my clients in the context of their careers – navigating crossroads, balancing work and personal life, and advocating for themselves in the workplace –

letting go has taken on additional layers of meaning.

Now, letting go makes me think about saying no, a topic that I created a worksheet for and that features prominently in my workshop. As organizational consultant Peter Block says,

If we never say no, then our yes means nothing.

What do we need to let go of in our lives – personal and professional – in order to make room for other, more important, or different, things? (Tasks that we could be skipping or delegating to have more time with our family, for example.)

What do we continue to say yes to that ends up sapping our time and energy? (Mind-numbing tasks that we could eliminate, streamline, or automate.) 

What do we need to set aside in order to move forward?

A mug my colleagues at the public defender's office gave me when I left.

A mug my colleagues at the public defender's office gave me when I left.

Sometimes the Letting Go that we need to do is more profound.

Maybe what we need to ask ourselves is: Do I need to let go of a particular idea, or version, of me? Do I need to let go of the way I currently see myself?

I certainly had to let go of the idea of myself as a public defender (and as a practicing lawyer), an identity that I had long considered My Only Identity and My One And Only Destiny. But in letting go of that, there was room. A lot of room. For exploration, for experimentation, for growth, for movement.

I had to put that identity down in order to create space, time, and energy to create new identities, to start and build Embrace Change, to stretch myself in previously unimaginable ways.

The end of one calendar year and the start of another is an optimal time to sit and reflect on this for yourself:

What isn’t working in your life right now? What are the things that aren’t serving you? What do you need to say no to? What do you need to let go of?

For me, the answers include Twitter (gasp!), my Yes! Less Stress! coaching program (double gasp!), and a whole slew of professional networking and membership organizations.

You can think of this as your anti-New Year’s Resolutions.

Instead of resolving to do more things and say yes more often, resolve to say a few no’s and practice letting go.

Let’s see what magical things start to grow in the space you’ve reclaimed.