If You Love Something, Let It Go

“If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever. If it doesn’t, then it was never meant to be.” – Unknown

We’re often told that life comes full circle. What we love never truly leaves us, and the people in our lives come and go for a reason. But what does loving something and letting it go really mean? Most importantly, how can we apply this principle in our everyday lives?

My Two Cents

I’m constantly challenged with loving and letting go. In every coaching conversation, I’m laser-focused on my client’s thoughts, successes, goals, and barriers.

Despite being deeply invested in them, after every session, I have to let my clients go back into the unknown.

If I’ve done my job successfully, my clients should leave our conversations carrying new realizations and a willingness to challenge themselves. If the insights from our conversations were powerful enough, they will see the value of nurturing them and return to coaching. Through the process of loving and letting go, my clients come to the realization that they value coaching on their own.

1. Focus on the process, not the outcome. 

Here’s a quiz for you. What do you want to achieve? What makes you attached to achieving it? Take a moment to think about this.

Today, I want to challenge you to let those things go.

It sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But let’s examine what happens when you stop focusing on outcomes. You relieve yourself of enormous pressure, and instead focus on the process to getting there.

There’s really no point in trying to get an A+ on every one of life’s assignments – you’ll end up stressed and de-motivated. By focusing on the process instead of the outcome, you create steps towards your goals and navigate through your life with more creativity and focus.

2. Your goals may change, and that’s okay. 

I hate to break it to you, but we simply don’t know what we will and won’t achieve.

I’ll share a quick example. After studying English Literature, I planned to secure a publishing job. Unfortunately, the harder I pushed at this goal, the more frustrated I became. I began wondering why I wasn’t getting fast responses, and why the industry was so difficult to break into. After weeks of applying, I also became agitated by the low salary I would make as a publisher. Think about that! I was upset by something that hadn’t even happened yet. We live like this more often than we’d like to admit.

Surprise, surprise – my life didn’t go exactly as planned. But step by step, I carved out a career in HR, got my Master’s degree, studied leadership development, and fell in love with coaching. Even if I felt directionless at times, those steps allowed me to build a structure around my passions.

We all have goals and dreams that we’d like to achieve. Sometimes, the closer we get to them, the more we start to see them in a different light. As circumstances in our lives shift and change, we think, “Hmmm, that’s interesting. Maybe that won’t give me the enjoyment I thought it would. Maybe this other thing will instead.” In this way, we end up on a different path than the one we had planned. It’s that shift, no matter how small, that allows us to transform in ways we never could have predicted.

Phase by phase, our life path and purpose transform. For that reason, it’s important to make sure you’re still on board with your initial plan. Check in with yourself from time to time and reassess your goals. Ask yourself if you’re happy with where you are and what you’re achieving. At the end of the day, the most important stakeholder in this equation is you. You determine your happiness, so you have a responsibility to yourself to ensure that “past you” and “present you” are on the same page.

3. Give yourself time. 

In coaching sessions, I often hear clients comparing themselves to others. The narrative is typically something along the lines of: “Oh, those people are so successful. What am I doing wrong? Where did I miss out?” The truth is, you’re probably not doing anything wrong. This is mainly because the barometer of comparing your life to another’s is, well… flawed.

What may seem similar on the outside is utterly different on the inside. Apples and oranges look the same from a distance, but internally, they couldn’t be more distinct. So does it really matter if one person takes 2 years to reach a goal, and another takes 4? What if the person who took 4 years built a family, traveled the world, and set up their own business during that time, while the person who took 2 never stopped to enjoy themselves? If we’re not growing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually while achieving our goals, what’s the point?

Life is not a race. So instead of comparing yourself to others, why not compare yourself to you – yes, you! – 3 years ago? Think about what’s changed in your life over that period of time. Consider your mood, mindset and actions. Have they shifted? What about your relationships, career, and goals? I’m willing to bet that many of these things have changed.

I’ll let you in on a secret. If you want your goals for the right reasons – like supporting those around you – you’ll definitely achieve them. You may not walk a linear road while doing so, but the road you walk will be uniquely yours. In this sense, loving something and letting it go means enjoying the curves in the road along the way.

So, let me ask you again: what outcomes are you attached to, and what will you now let go of? Which winding (and exciting) roads will you walk to build a more fulfilling life?

To answer this, remember:

1. Focus on the process, not the outcome. 

By focusing on your path and letting it unfold, you’ll have more enjoyment than if you focus on the outcome itself.

2. Your goals may change, and that’s okay. 

Stop to reflect each step of the way.

3. Give yourself time. 

Reflect on your growth instead of comparing yourself to others. You have a unique value proposition that no one else can match.

From here on, you can go out into the world with confidence, fully aware that you can love something and let it go. Even this blog post 🙂