We waste so much time hanging onto stuff we don’t need.
“We” means me, btw.
I was reminded of this (again) last Sunday when my favorite Irishman and I went for a hike on a trail with miles and miles of rushing streams.
There was a point along the creek where the bridge is washed out. To get across, we had to step on boulders that were spaced pretty far apart in places.
I saw the distance between a couple of those boulders and had no idea how we’d get across without getting soaked. I admit the rushing water intimidated me. 💦
Since he was born half boy and half mountain goat, he found a way to navigate it quite easily and made it across the creek — as dry as the 3 year old almonds in my backpack.
I however, didn’t believe either of us could do it so was compelled to record his attempt…>>>
SPOILER ALERT ➡ I, on the other hand, didn’t get to gloat like the Goat. I not-so-gracefully fell into the water trying to make the leap from the first to the second boulder. Don’t judge. He makes it look easy! Remember, half mountain goat.
Looking back, I see exactly where I went wrong — and how I’ve made the same mistakes in business:
Before you keep reading, be sure to take a good look at the cable in the center of that video above. ☝🏼
Mistake #1 // I tried hanging onto something that wouldn’t serve me well.
(Kinda like the useless, a-hole waiter at the Italian restaurant in my ‘hood.)
There was a cable strung across the creek that was sort of within arm’s reach of the first boulder if I really tugged at it. So I thought, why not grab it? I’ll tell you why not! The cable was way too far from the next boulder to be useful for crossing, but I ignored that fact and tried to make it work anyway. I stretched my entire body in an effort to hang onto the cable from the first rock. So what made me think it would get any easier jumping to the next boulder which was even further away from it? There was no way my body could physically reach the rock while gripping the cable. Unless I was Gumby, that is.
I also failed to consider the fact that I would need to let go of the cable when I leapt. Ummm… Physics 101. So my feet went one way, while my arms kept a death grip on the cable back where I started.
A logically illogical decision to get where I needed to go. As a result, not only did I fall in, I cranked my neck and wasn’t able to turn my head for three days. Delightful.
In business, it can be really tough to let go of something that appears to serve a purpose — even if its lifespan of usefulness is over. It might be a team member who’s not adding value anymore. Or an offer that has been your bread and butter for so long that you’ve become bored delivering it. It’s especially hard if what you need to give up is your bread and butter. The struggle is real!
Ask: What am I hanging onto that’s no longer useful?
Mistake #2 // I didn’t trust myself.
Mike Dooley says, “thoughts become things, choose the good ones.”
Obviously, I didn’t choose a good one. I thought I had zero chance of being able to leap far enough to get solid footing on that “stretch rock” without hanging onto something. Instead of taking a breath to change my thought about my ability — or better survey the scene —I rushed ahead. If I had taken an extra moment to get better footing before hopping over to the next rock, I would’ve had more confidence in my ability to stick the landing.
Like her. Kinda… 😘
Ask: What do I think I can’t do, but probably can?
There’s no way I can raise my prices.
I’ll never be able to afford that trip.
Launches are haaaaaaaaaard.*
*Welp, I’ll agree that I don’t care for launches either. But they do serve a purpose and are the “right” way to grow for some business owners. Thankfully, I’ve found less complicated, more natural ways to keep my business growing and have bowed out of the launch game (aka let go of the cable.)
Mistake #3 // I didn’t take up the offer of help.
The Goat was already doubling back to lend me a hand. But noooooooo, I wanted to cross it solo. Would it have killed me to wait 3.2 seconds for him to reach over to steady me?
Nope. It would not. 🌊
Sure, I still made it across alive. But not as dry as those almonds.
Ask: What am I trying to do myself, but would be better off having someone steady me?
The common denominator in all of my “mistakes” is that I let fear drive my choices.
Fear of falling in.
Fear of letting go.
Fear of feeling or looking incapable.
Fear of not reaching my goal.
Yet another reminder to stop worrying, hanging onto things that are no longer useful (I’m looking at you, receipts from 2005) — and to take the offer for help when it’s available!
What do you have a death grip on right now? And what might happen if you let go?