My daughter left today.
She’s headed back to Ohio after spending the past three weeks home for the holidays. As I was driving home from the airport, in a melancholy state, it dawned on me that so often in life, doing the right thing is hard.
As much as we both didn’t want her to go, we know staying in San Diego is not the right decision for her at this point in her life. We love spending time together, but we joked on the way to the airport that if she stayed neither of us would ever get anything done, preferring to just hang out or read.
She has important and meaningful things to do in her life, and so do I. I’m proud of her for being so committed to that, that she’s willing to make the hard choice to live all the way across the country, and support herself while she’s earning her graduate degree. A degree that will enable her to do the work she is so passionate about doing.
She’s definitely made many difficult choices the past few years.
I can’t help reflecting on all the times I too have had to make the hard choice. It’s mind boggling and reassuring at the same time. At least I know with hindsight that it always works out.
I also realize it’s usually about letting go.
The easy thing is usually the thing that’s most comfortable. It keeps us exactly where we are, and that feels safe. It’s what we know, even if it’s not what we want. For that reason it’s often frustrating. Because deep down we want something else, we just don’t have the courage or strength to go for it.
Just ask anyone who knows they should eat healthier, exercise more, or lose weight.
They know what they should be doing. They know it’s in their best interest if they want to live a long, healthy life. But it’s difficult. It’s easier to keep doing what they’ve always done, even if they don’t like the results.
While I don’t face this particular battle, I do face a similar one in my business life.
In the past year or so it’s become painfully clear that it’s time to move in a different direction. There are too many things about the industry I’ve been working in that don’t feel good to me. Yet, as has been the case every time I’ve made a career transition, letting go and moving on is incredibly scary.
And yet every time I let go and move through the fear, the fear ends up being unwarranted.
For example, in December, after being frustrated with Facebook for a very long time, I made the decision to deactivate my account. It took me the better part of a year to overcome my fear of leaving Facebook. How could I have a business and a book without being on Facebook? What would people think? After all, I work in marketing. How can you be a marketer and not be on Facebook? Wouldn’t I be out of the loop? What would I be missing out on?
Yet a month after leaving, none of my fears have been realized. In fact, quite the opposite. I feel freer. More positive. I have removed from my life what had become a daily aggravation. I have shut a door on things I don’t want to see or be exposed to. The first week or so I felt like I was missing something, but that’s no longer the case. I realize at some point I may choose to go back to Facebook. But for now, this is the right choice for me. And, truth be told, it was not nearly has hard as I made it out to be in my head.
Last month I also decided to take down my websites.
Talk about manifesting crazy fear in my head! What would people think? At the same time, my old sites didn’t fit me anymore. I needed to clear a path for where I am headed. Even though I wasn’t actively doing much with the sites, there were still hanging over me and not feeling quite right. Tying me to where I’ve been. By releasing them I immediately became much more open to all the possibilities for the future. The open space feels good.
Who knows, I may end up back where I was.
Or, I may end up with a completely different business. At this point I don’t know. I just know that I needed space to figure it out. And hanging onto the old was clogging up that space. And you know what, the world didn’t end when I took down my sites and put up temporary holding pages. Once again, the fear was magnified in my head and didn’t manifest in the real world.
Going forward my goal is to remember the after feeling whenever I’m faced with a hard choice.
That after feeling usually feels something like That wasn’t so bad… why didn’t you do that sooner!? My goal is to honor the right choice my heart is leading me to, and to do my best to ignore my ego and the fear. To be brave enough to step out of the comfort zone that’s lulling me into non-action. I’m going to remember that my heart never lies, and that trusting it is best. Even when it feels like my head is dragging along kicking and screaming.
I know this year will bring its share of hard choices.
It will continue to be a year of transition and change for me—I can see that clearly. That means a lot of letting go and trusting. It means getting out of my own way and being open to the path that continues to open up in front of me when I allow it to. It means taking one step at a time and understanding that the more open I am to the journey of life, the more wonderful adventures await me, and the more fully I will accomplish my mission here on this planet. Even if I don’t see that mission fully at this point in time.
What about you?
Are you holding onto the status quo when you know you should let go? Are you putting off decisions that your heart is screaming at you to make, because of fear or because it’s hard or requires change? I challenge you to make 2013 the year you set all of that aside, and instead practice letting go and trusting.