March 19, 2018
Sometimes the way forward is to create something. Other times the way forward is to quit something.
For me, last week was quitting time.
I do a variety of things out there in the “gig” economy, one of which was causing me more stress than success, so I made the decision to let it go. It wasn’t easy. I had a lot of time and some money invested in it, but ultimately it wasn’t floating for me. I had to face reality and move on.
I did a post recently about reinvention. I think we tend to look at reinvention in terms of what we’re going to start doing now that we weren’t doing before. We’re going to starting working out three times a week. We’re going to take a night course. We’re going to be more open with our spouse. All of that is important, but the other side of reinvention is all of those things we’re not going to do anymore. Sometimes we need to take a hard look at what’s taking up space in our lives without serving us and cut it out.
Again, it’s not always easy and these decisions can be tough to make, especially when it comes to jobs or relationships or habits that might alienate people around you. Giving up alcohol, for example, can mean giving up your friends if you just can’t handle being in bars or at parties anymore. Sometimes people simply refuse to choose, because they don’t know if they’re making the right decision.
In my experience, you can usually tell if you made the right choice by how it felt to make it. I did another post recently about playing in a rec fastball league when I was a teenager. I didn’t join that team right away. In fact, I said no at first, and immediately regretted it. Same thing when I turned down the chance to act in a CrimeStoppers video in high school (read all about it here). I regretted those decisions because I knew what I should do, but made my choice from a place of fear. I was afraid to fail. Afraid to look silly.
My emotional reaction told me everything.
The decision I made last week makes me feel lighter. It makes me feel free. It removes a stress and it opens up space – psychologically and otherwise – for something to come in that’s better aligned to what I really want to do. That's what I’m trying to focus on right now. If the Law of Intention is real, if thoughts really do become things, it’s important to put your thoughts and energy into the things you want. Letting go of something you don’t want can be an important part of that.
Is there something in your life that’s not serving you anymore? Is there something bringing you down that you just haven’t been able to let go, even though you know you should? Is there something stressing you out that you can change? Think about it. And if you’re afraid of making the wrong decision, experiment with a little technique I’m calling “Trying it On” (I think I got it from Dr. Phil or Tony Robbins or somebody). Just "try on" the decision. Make the decision in your mind and then pay attention to your reaction. Live with it for a few days. Don’t announce anything. Don’t even do anything. Just sit with the decision and try to measure how it feels. Do you sense regret? Release? If you’re not sure, try doing the same thing with the opposite decision.
Of course, if we’re talking about major life decisions like changing careers, you need to be prepared for what comes next. I’m not recommending going haphazardly into anything, but if there’s something you know you need to shut down and your reaction affirms the decision, you can start laying the groundwork for a smoother transition.
You can also starting preparing the way for whatever better thing shows up to fill the void.