Just let go… Relax… Release control… Go with the flow… let things unfold… Has anyone ever given you this sage advice? I’ve gotten this advice so many times – most recently in Panache Desai’s book, Discovering Your Soul Signature, which I’m in the process of reading – and it’s great advice, but it goes against all my instincts. Secretly, every time I hear this advice one part of me says “Ahhh, that’s a beautiful idea” and the other part says go with the flow, you’ve gotta be crazy! I’ve gotta keep this ship movin’!” If you’re at all like me, keep reading because I’m going to tell you exactly how I learned to let go. And, I’m still learning because, for me, when it comes to letting go, it’s a conscious choice I make.
Anyone who knows me well will tell you I like control – especially when it comes to making and executing a plan – when my family goes on our annual holiday getaways, you can rest assure that I know the best restaurants in the area, available activities, I even draft up a day-by-day itinerary. Yes, I do this! Really relaxing, right? Micromanaging and exerting control in this way has definitely served me well in my life and career just as I have no doubt planning and paying close attention to detail has served you in your life. But, it also can lead to rigidity, frustration and disappointment when things don’t go as planned. I’ve certainly experienced that! So, what to do? How do you let go and still make forward progress?
Let go of the idea that the plan is the way it actually is or must or should go. You don’t have to let go of the plan. Keep the plan (and I’m not just saying that because plan is one of my 4 master keys for success, which it is — I’m saying it because having a plan is important. But, it’s more important to not only realize, but internalize the reason and purpose of the plan and keep the plan flexible and fluid. That way, you are present in your life engaging, authentically and in real time, with all you encounter. What I’m saying is instead of letting go of the plan, let go of your attachment to the plan. Have a clear core intention and hold true to that intention. Things are not always going to go as planned. You know that. There will be obstacles, detours, unexpected challenges as well as unexpected opportunities and adventures. If you are overly attached to the plan, you’ll overlook and miss out on all of the richness of life. Having a plan helps you stay on course or get back on course when you encounter an obstacle or when you take a detour. Always remember, your plan is the starting point, not your destination. It’s a guide for one way to get you to where you want to go, but the plan isn’t what you want to experience – you want to experience your intention.
How do I apply this when it comes to my near obsessive vacation planning? Well, my intention is to have fun and enjoy the company of my family not to be the schedule mistress. I still make a plan because it is fun for me to learn about where we’re going and I do genuinely enjoy it, but I no longer email my planned agenda out to everyone and I no longer expect events to unfold exactly as I planned. Instead, I use my plan merely as a guide and stay open to whatever opportunities that come up and whatever makes my intention of having fun reality. Sometimes, all goes as planned, most of the time it doesn’t, but regardless I hold true to my intention and have fun and enjoy the company of my family, which was the whole point of the plan in the first place.
So, let go… relax… release control… go with the flow… let things unfold… And, embody your intention. It feels incredibly good!