I’m struggling to learn a profound lesson in my work that clarity and control sometimes can’t be gained until you first let go. My mentors and others keep pointing me towards this lesson, so I know it’s one of great significance. But, this isn’t an easy one for me. I’m a pretty ambitious, driven guy and I’m almost always chasing a long term goal. Letting go just isn’t in my DNA.
But, I’m working on it. It turns out that success, particularly when your work involves creativity, is more like swinging a golf club than a sledge hammer. While a sledge hammer does more damage the more force you use to swing it. A golf club operates differently. Swinging a golf club effectively is about first learning the art of a correct golf swing in terms of mechanics. But, once you know the mechanics, hitting a golf ball effectively isn’t about swinging the club hard. It’s about swinging the club fluidly and freely. Golf, in many ways, is about letting go. It’s about trusting the club and your preparation, then letting the club do the work. The harder you swing, the poorer the results. This is why the game is both brilliant and maddening at the same time.
It turns out that our work and our career follows this trajectory as well. We need the right tools and we need to prepare ourselves with a knowledge and mastery of the mechanics of our trade, but then it’s time to let go. I’m trying to learn to trust the flow and fluidity of my work. It seems that when I can quiet the craziness a bit and let things flow, that opportunity is easier to recognize. When I stop trying SO hard, that opportunity actually seems more likely to find me. It’s a bit maddening. But, I’m starting to get it.
Typically, I’d present you a list of ways that you could apply this lesson to your own work. But, I’m not sure I have this mastered to the point of teaching it. Today, I offer up this post more as a reflection of my journey, perhaps to inspire you to learn with me. Or better yet, perhaps you can teach me through your own experience. One thing I know for sure, letting go is having some profoundly important impacts in my life. Knowing what to let go of and when is where the complexity lives, so I continue to experiment and learn.
How has letting go impacted your work and career?