When it's the best thing you can do!
I spend a lot of time figuring out the most effective way to motivate people to reach their goals. Each person is unique, and as a coach, I help them identify, pursue, fine-tune, and reach their particular goals. We talk about habits, circumstances, expectations, ramifications, complications, strengths, hang-ups ... you name it. You would think that the phrase “giving up” wouldn’t be part of our conversations, but it often is! It's amazing how much giving up goes into getting.
The last month has been a challenging one for my family, with slowdowns and road-blocks appearing in just about every corner. My building frustration and yes, anger at things, came to a bit of a head last week. When the dust settled, I found myself sitting there, content to be simply sitting. Being still. Giving up, for the time being, any expectations or frustrations, and just letting the circumstances be. In the stillness, we found the time to talk about the bigger things in life, like our long-term goals, our dreams, and hopes for our kids. The things that were getting lost on the sidelines, and a motivating glimpse into the vision that we share for the future. I gave up my short-term expectations, and gained a tremendously motivating and energizing goal. It's helping me see where to shift my energies and attention, to things I couldn't see for all the worry and busyness.
When setting goals and agreeing on homework with clients, it usually involves compromise to some degree. Giving up free time to write a plan. Giving up income to pursue a new career. Giving up security to harness a dream. Giving up limiting beliefs about themselves to do something scary. Giving up comfortable routines to hatch a business. I could go on for ages, but you get the picture. There's always something to give up in order to move forward. Sometimes it's truly painful, and has serious consequences for you and your family. Relationships change or are strained, free time disappears, and finances force a tighter budget. The strength of the goal and risk-tolerance of the person determine how much they're willing to give up. It's a sensitive balancing act on a day-to-day basis to keep both the vision strong and the consequences minimized.
Often, the things given up are forgotten in the joy of the goal, and cease to be painful. I had a client years ago who determined that her TV was a distraction from her real goals, and she immediately went and gave it up ... to the dumpster! It was painful for only a moment, and rarely missed. When things like limiting beliefs, unrealistic expectations, and time wasters are given up, the relief can be tremendous! Weights are lifted, spirits soothed, and new possibilities unearthed. We discover just how useless those things were, and wonder that we ever thought them important.
Giving up is a powerful tool when it comes to attaining goals and finding satisfaction. Often the "getting" is direct and immediate, though sometimes the results aren't seen or felt for a long time, and may come as a complete surprise. Next time you find yourself banging your head against a wall, or cramming a schedule too full, give up an expectation or commitment or fear and see where it takes you. You may find yourself a lot further along than you ever expected! It's not giving up in defeat, it's giving up in order to gain time, ability, perspective, or peace ... things I always find worth it.