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To create space for anything new in your life, you have to let go of something you are already doing to make space. It is difficult to just cram more and more in.
Letting go isn't always easy.....
I was nervous. I had worked with this client doing corporate training for 5 years. I enjoyed running the courses for them and it was well-paid work, but it was time to let go and move on, and I was nervous telling them.
The two clients came into the room and sat down. We were around the corner of a corporate boardroom table chatting and I started to explain that I was moving onto a new phase of my life and needed to stop doing their work to make space for it.
Why was it so painful telling them? Why was I so nervous?
They were fine about it. In fact, they were better than fine - they were supportive! They were kind, listened, and made it easy for me, but I found it super tough letting go of this corporate work.
To fit new things into your life, you need to let go of the old. Why is it so tough?
Sunk Cost Fallacy
A sunk cost is something you have invested time, energy and maybe even money into, and those resources are now gone. They have been "sunk" into the project and you can never get them back.
Sunk costs are one of the biggest barriers to change and progress.
I was feeling this in the situation above with my client. I started my training business in 2008 and I worked hard for so many years to get those clients, to build a solid reputation and get the opportunity to run those gigs and earn that money. Now I was just going to give it away?
I think a big part of my hesitation was the amount of man hours, effort, tears, and money that I had put into winning that business. I did actually enjoy the work; the people were awesome and there was no reason to stop doing it.
The sunk costs of getting that business were HUGE, and I was now going to just GIVE it all away? This is the opposite of what most people would advise to do.
Those costs are gone. If there is something new you want then you need to let go of the old to allow space for it!
Telling people directly what you want
I run courses on being confident, asking for what you want, handling tough conversations, and it is something I know I have to do! Does that make it any easier for me? This is a situation that I had to tell someone that I wanted something different to what they wanted.
Even though I know honesty is the best policy. Even though I have learned the 3 second rule (just do it inside 3 seconds and you skip out a lot of the angst), and even though I have got pretty good at having tough conversations, this one was hard!
I was nervous, sat there waiting for them to come into the meeting room. I was nervous thinking through how they might react. I was nervous it would go badly.
Sometimes you have to have the tough conversation with someone about letting something go, and this is one of the hardest steps in your progress. People stay in bad situations because they don't want to hurt the other person.
Despite it being hard, I said what I wanted. I spoke up and I let go of the opportunity in front of me. This had to happen to create space for what I am moving onto next.
Other people's reactions
One of the other reasons we don't let go of things and we don't say what we want is other people's reactions. In my particular situation, saying to the client that I was moving on - I was worried about their reaction.
I am not sure why I was worried because they are the nicest and most professional people out there, and I had NOTHING to worry about, but in my head it had gotten far bigger than it was.
We have a tendency to blow things out of proportion, to think people care more than they do, and to expect a bigger reaction than we would probably get.
I don't think I have ever had a far worse reaction than I was imagining. Nearly always the other person has been nice about the situation and helped me through it.
Recently we had to cancel an event because one of the speakers could no longer make it. I was nervous about doing the phone calls and telling people. Especially as some of the people had already booked travel to come. I built it up in my head and it became a big thing to deal with.
I have been to enough of my own courses that I knew I needed to eat my frog in the morning, so I just got on with it first thing. I sat down in a Starbucks in Houston and started making the calls. In my head I expected people to be angry and annoyed, but I should have had more faith in humanity as people were amazing. They made it easy for me, they understood, they helped us.
The reality of the situation is rarely as bad as we blow it up to be in our heads.
Why am I telling you all this?
Because letting go of something you have invested in can be hard. But if you want to create space for something new in your life then you have to let go of something old in your life.
You HAVE to let go of things in your life to create space for new things to come in.
Just recently I have been letting go of things in my life to allow space for Rebel to grow and allow space for my new adventure into screenwriting, which starts now in LA! Want to know more about the Screen writing experiment?
I am going to be blogging about the experience as I do it, so if you want to stay up to date with the updates and more then you can sign up below.