Exercise Your “Letting Go” Muscles

How releasing the stuff you're saving "just in case" creates space



Feeling overwhelmed by the scope of your product ideas? Trying not to create in a vacuum but feeling sucked in anyway? Plan your product development cycles to build in flexibility and play while making moolah along the way with the Spiral Product Design Roadmap.

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April 25, 2017

We know that you’re really good at bringing things into your business:
*inviting in more abundance
*being AMAZINGLY creative
*having so many ideas
*making more products
*doing more things
*writing more blog posts
*attending more events

You’re really good at doing MORE! But when was the last time you exercised your “letting go” muscles?

Today we’re covering something that’s super important in your business but we suck at as a culture. Even when we’re not actively drawing more in, we’re expecting more. I’m talking in a general life sort of way; not just with regards to business. We invite more food, we like more material possessions, more time off… it’s all about more! 

Even if we’re not actively inviting more in, we have a tendency to want to hang on to things. “Maybe I don’t need it now, but what if I need it in a year or two?” Personally, I have German heritage and I come from good Midwestern farm stock and we love to hang on to things. “You’ll need it later!” 

In fairness, this is ingrained by our culture of being kind of isolated out on the farm. I mean, in the 1800’s, out on the farm, you would need to keep things around: spare parts, spare units, etc. You knew it was going to take a long time to run to the store, assuming the store even had what you were looking for. So you would save your stuff even if you weren’t using it. Maybe you didn’t even expect to use it. You just save it for the next time: just in case!

That kind of mentality has been ingrained into us in our culture, but I know that there’s an effort to move towards minimalism. If you are part of that movement, that’s pretty cool! You’re starting to shift your mind around to not holding on to the stuff that you don’t need. That stuff can even get caught around your business.

When was the last time you took a look at your business and reviewed what you had going on and asked yourself “what do I need to let go of?” I’m betting it doesn’t happen very often. But we all need to go through periods of letting go despite what is culturally ingrained. It’s human to be cyclical. It’s human to go through cycles of bringing in and cycles of releasing.

In yoga we have savasana because you need to have a yin to oppose the yang. You need to have passivity to oppose the activity. It’s important for the complete picture! When we’re working out, we contract the muscles to make them stronger. It’s also important to stretch the muscles to build flexibility. You can’t have one without the other. If you’re always building strength and not building flexibility, then your health picture is incomplete. It’s the same way in your business!

It’s important to not just invite in; not just create, create, create, generate more and more and more. You must also go through periods of relief; letting go. So what kind of things might you need to release in your business? Well, what inspired this topic for me was that I was going through and putting together my business expenses to do my taxes here in the United States. It’s that time of year.

was going through my internet hosting bills; my domains that I was getting charged for. I have a few “parked” domains for products that I had brainstormed. One of them popped up as I was reviewing the charges and I thought, “I never built that product. I don’t think i’m going to build that product.” 

Of course there was that little voice in my head piping up all “but what did you do? what if in five years you want to build that product? Wouldn’t you rather have the domain?” I had to stop and listen to that voice. I had to say “oh, maybe it has a point…oh, it does have a point…”

But before anxiety set in, my conscious, like really conscious, brain was able to work around it: “Everyone calm down. I don’t think I’m ever going to build that product. If I decide to build that product, let’s be real; it wasn’t the greatest name anyway. I’ll probably rename it something else. That means I’ll need a different URL. Even if it ends up being the same name, I will deal with it at that point. But it’s not worth me paying fifteen dollars a year or whatever to have it just hanging around on my account.”

It feels much better to let it go. As Elizabeth Gilbert points out in her book Big Magic, inspiration about a similar idea often strikes multiple people around the same time. If someone can’t implement it because they’re too busy with other ideas, someone else can implement it. So I’m releasing that idea to be implemented by someone else. If they want the URL they can have it! Hopefully it will be a more amazing product than the one that I was going to build!

So there’s one example of things in your business that you can release: URLs or domain names. That might also include the products that you were going to develop but have kind of “fallen out” from your business. Here are some other things to think about letting go of:

*You could release clients who aren’t fitting. Nothing says that when a client comes up for renewal, you have to renew their contract. If you’ve evolved away from them or they’ve evolved away from you, they are not in a place where you’re going to serve them best. It’s okay to let them go.

*You can release platforms that you brought that no longer serve you. Like if you’re using one sort of app and there’s a new sort of app that’s going to do the same thing for you but better, release the old one! You don’t have to keep it around!

*You could release that one mailing list (or many mailing lists) that you signed up for that you never pay attention to. Leave any Facebook groups that you’re a part of that you never post in. Let it go!

Why do we want to release? It’s to make ourselves lighter! It’s to create the space; to make room for more goodness to happen. When you’re ready to move back to more; when you’re ready to move back to inviting in, you have created the space. You can take themore” in. Whereas if you’re heavy and weighed down with all of these things, it can really draw you down!

If you have domain names for products that you never used or built, how do you feel when you go back and look at those domains? I mean, to me it feels disappointing. Even if I know that the product wasn’t aligned with my vision, it still gives me that twinge of “I didn’t succeed at that one. I didn’t see it through.” So it doesn’t feel good! Why would you want to do that to yourself?

I want to remind you that releasing things is a muscle! It needs to be exercised! It’s hard the first few times you do it. You get that anxiety about “am I going to need it in the future?!? Is this really a stupid idea that I’m letting it go?!?” But it takes practice! Go through the analysis and have faith that you’ve done it right. You really know what it is that you need and that this is not it. Let the first thing go and see how much lighter you feel. Then it’ll get easier every single time you do it. Letting go is a muscle and it needs to be exercised.

So how do we let go in our businesses? The first thing about letting go is a lot about mindset. It doesn’t even have to do with the physical letting go of something. You need to get your head around really letting something go. Whether you delete the thing or move on from it physically, getting your brain around letting it go is the big, BIG issue. Doing work around letting go in mindset in general will help you here.

There are things you can do with your mindset! Grounding is a great way to release thoughts and ideas. Grounding practices can be meditation and/or just creating that space in your brain. You can accomplish grounding through deep breathing and connecting with your physical body. You can practice grounding by exercise and getting into your body. Yoga is great for it! But vigorous exercise like running works, too!

Just get yourself into the mindset of being able to release: state some positive affirmations around releasing. Say “I am actively, consciously releasing this concept for someone else to benefit from. I am actively releasing this concept because it’s no longer serving me in my business. I am actively releasing this concept because I am moving on to things that are more aligned with my business vision.”

Once you have that mindset, it’s time to let go! It’s time to release it. You’re not going to build the thing. That’s okay! The next thing to do is to physically release it. They’re the things that we talked about before. I want you to release the domain name; take the domain name off of auto-renew. I want you to unsubscribe from the mailing list, and leave the facebook group. want you to be prepared when the client comes to the end of their contract. I want you to be prepared to have the hard conversation and say “You know what? I think there’s something that can serve you better.”

You can even go as far as if you have files on your computer (make sure you get any copy out of there that you have to save like imagery and stuff that you will want to use later) to delete them. If something is old and you don’t want to keep it around because it feels like it’s weighing you down, let it go. Get it out so that you create the space for new and better things to come in. 

The final tip here is to get some closure. Humans are kind of funny, fickle things sometimes. You might really need to have a milestone that marks closure. Now, in my case, just taking the URL off auto-renew was enough closure for me. But depending on what the thing is, you might need to have a little bit more closure. You can take some pages out of the spiritual world. You can care for yourself in your business the way you would care for yourself spiritually to release things. 

You can say a blessing. Like, for your idea or your former client, as it goes off, just wish it well out there in the universe away from you. You can write it down on a piece of paper and burn it. Let the smoke go up. That’s you taking it and saying “I’m done with it and it can be released back from whence it came.” Humans are funny things and ritual speaks to us. Our psychology is built for accepting ritual and so if that’s what you need to make that mindset shift and really let go, don’t be afraid of it! It sounds silly but don’t let your brain tell you that it’s silly. It’s not! Some of these things are really big and really really were a part of you. When you let them go, it’s okay to mourn a little. It’s okay to need that ritual to move on.

To review, when we’re doing your periodic business reviews, it’s a great time to make space by letting things go. Release them. Don’t keep them around just in case you’re going to use them or you need them in the future. Things that you can let go are products or ideas or creations that you’ve started but not finished and are no longer in line with your business vision. You can release clients who are no longer good fit. You can release tools, services, mailing lists, mentors who are no longer aligned with what you’re doing. There are better options.

For actually exercising your “letting go” muscle, ground yourself. Get your mindset right. Do some practices that set you up well for being able to let go and be in that mindset of release. Secondly, actually physically release things by deleting the folders, unsubscribing from the list, having the hard conversation with the client, or whatever it takes to physically clear space in your business for new and amazing things to come in. 

Thirdly, if it feels big and it feels like a giant empty space and it’s making you a little twitchy that you’ve released this thing, try a ritual. Try marking a milestone with a ceremony, or a blessing, by burning a piece of paper, by lighting a candle for it and wishing it well as it winds its way to someone else in inspiration. Send your former clients off with all of the goodwill in the world because you definitely want to see them succeed.

You’re going to find that as you exercise this “letting-go” muscle, it gets easier to do! It’s going to create the space in your business for you to invite new, amazing, creative, and innovative things in. Based on what you’ve learned recently, you can incorporate all of that knowledge, all of that growth, and the things you’re going to create are going to be so much more powerful than the old ideas that have gotten stale.

Let me know how you use your “letting go” muscle in the comments. Do you find it easy? Do you find it hard? What’s your favorite way to release that which is no longer serving you? Let me know!

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Feeling overwhelmed by the scope of your product ideas? Trying not to create in a vacuum but feeling sucked in anyway? Plan your product development cycles to build in flexibility and play while making moolah along the way with the Spiral Product Design Roadmap.

it's free!
100% Privacy Guaranteed.