Susan Chritton - author of Personal Branding for Dummies
Susan Chritton, M.Ed., PCC, NCCC, is an Executive Career Coach and Master Personal Brand Strategist. Susan guides professionals looking to engage their authentic self in the world through personal branding.
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Throughout our lives we are faced with decisions — big and small — about when to hold onto something or someone and when to let go. These choice points can range from numbingly painful to pretty easy. Conscious choice about whether to hold on or whether to let go requires an energetic shift from one pattern of being to another and requires more of us than may be obvious on the surface.
Holding on and letting go is actually about creating a transition. Transition is the process of going from the place that you have been to the place that you are going (even if you don't know where that destination is). Most of us would prefer a straight shot from one place to the other, but invariably there is the dreaded MIDDLE. The MIDDLE is where all of the real action takes place and where your transformation happens.
The first decision is — Do I hold onto what I have or am I ready to let it go? Often the universe decides for you — you lose a job, someone passes away, your partner walks out. In those cases your situation is immediately torn from you on a physical level. Energetically, you are still very much holding on. There are other times where you actually make a choice to let go of a situation or person. The fallacy is that it is harder when life happens to you, but in reality it is often harder to make the choice yourself.
This is a simple example of a recent decision I made about what to hold onto and what to let go of. I don't mean to minimize some of the really big decisions that you have faced, but this example illustrates the process.
I decided that I would fully own that I am a colorful person. Over the years my closet became more and more filled with black clothing. It was practical, made me feel like a serious business woman, and was easy to wear without thinking about it. I decided that the color black did not accurately represent my spirit, so I was on a mission to rid my closet of all non-colorful clothing.
Often when I decide it is time for a change, I just want to clear it out of my life. I removed clothing that was not part of my plan from my closet.
As I looked at everything I had loaded onto the rack, I found I wasn't ready to get rid of all of it. My mind chatter started — "I spent a lot of money on that. This is a great dress. Wouldn't it be practical to keep a few things? Who can I give this to that might like it?" And there I sat with indecision for several weeks. What seemed so clear to me had turned into a process.
Although my mind had made its decision, my emotional system was lagging weeks behind. I realized that I wanted to hold onto everything until I knew if this was really what I wanted to do. I pondered, changed my mind, changed it again, chatted with a few of my friends about it, and finally was ready to let go of most of it. I held on to a few key pieces and let go of the rest.
This process of transition (big and small) is one we each go through many times in our lives. To navigate this process well means taking apart what was and putting together what will be. It is not simply holding on or letting go — it is about changing who you are as you do it.
FORM & SPIRIT
Holding On - Letting Go
Many years ago I saw a documentary depicting the capture of monkeys by aboriginal people, using a coconut. They would hollow out the coconut, leaving a small hole in its shell. They placed sweet meats or candies into the hole, and tied the coconut to the base of a tree. A monkey would come along, smell the sweet meats, and stick his paw through the hole, grasping the sweet meats in his fist. What the monkey could not grasp was the difference between the size of his fist and the size of his open paw. Greedily refusing to let go of the bait, the monkey could not remove his fist from the coconut. He was ultimately captured and consumed. I always considered this the ultimate example of the importance of letting go...
As humans, we pride ourselves on being vastly superior to monkeys in terms of intelligence. Yet many of us have found ourselves thrashing about with our hands stuck in a coconut.
The choice between holding on and letting go is not always clear cut. Sometimes, holding on is the right choice. Holding on to our dreams, even against overwhelming obstacles, is the right choice. Persisting in our convictions, when others tell us we are foolish, can be the right path.
Holding on to what is right for us, and letting go of what is wrong for us, is inevitably about us. We must choose: what works and doesn't work, what is true and isn't true, what is fair and isn't fair, what is the worthy path and unworthy path—even when the path is unclear, and covered with weeds.
Holding on and letting go isn't simply a choice of getting what we want and avoiding what we don't want. Sometimes we have to hold on, or let go for the benefit of others. These choices require greater strength then any coconut, and greater wisdom provided to any monkey.
The other Big C that we Fear
by Alene Gabriel
Blue Sky Coaching LLC
EMPOWERING OTHERS TO CREATE THE
LIVES THEY WANT TO LEAD
TAKE US WITH YOU!
The FUSE Woman-- "Where Form & Spirit Become One"
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Man, change gets a bad rap. For many, the mere notion of change incites fear, anxiety or dread. Or even worse, all three!
And yet, everywhere you look, every minute of every day, something is changing. Sometimes it’s small: the daily specials at your local restaurant, a different person delivering your mail, a new weed sprouting in the yard. Things you would barely notice and yet – they’re different. Something has changed.
And sometimes, changes are BIG: you move into a house from an apartment, you have a new boss at work, the power goes out right in the suspenseful moment of your weekly show.
The thing we get hung up on is when a change happens that feels out of control, and we
day, my old boss from a prior job (who I LOVED and to this day is probably the only true mentor I’ve had) emailed me to see how things were, which eventually led to me going back to work for him again. I didn’t see it that day, or even that year; but if my boss had still been there, she might have fought for me to stay, and I would have had a really hard time leaving her, even though I was terribly unhappy. That big, scary change was the thing that allowed me to move forward in a way I hadn’t been able to.
So here is the challenge to you: take another look, right in the face, of a big hairy change that is happening right now. One that you may be turning away from, one that you’re hoping doesn’t happen, one that you wish would just go away.
Pause for just a moment, look it dead-on and consider: what might become available to you because of this change? What do you want to make happen for yourself that you can do now because of this change?
suddenly think it’s bad, because we didn’t WANT it to happen. That resentment or that fear prevents us from seeing what that change could bring about. What if, instead of pushing back against change, trying to squish it down so it goes back to what we know, we took a moment to look around and see what might be available to us now.
Years ago, I was in a job that I didn’t like very much, where I struggled to connect with my coworkers and felt stymied in the work itself. I came in one Monday morning to find out that my boss – my only real ally and the one who had hired me – had been fired. I was immediately filled with fear and dread. Who would support me now? I was all alone in this place where I didn’t want to be. Interestingly, that very same