In a way, letting go and moving on are the soup and sandwich of life’s lessons, but even more so.
After all, you really, really can’t do one without the other.
What’s interesting is how often we try to do just that in our careers and personal lives.
Have you ever heard someone say, after he or she has spilled his or her guts to you about a bad romance, “It’s O.K. I’ve moved on.”
“Sure you have,” you might have thought to yourself.
Trying to move on without letting go first won’t help you in your career, either. You might as well chain your rusted, unfulfilled dreams to your legs and clank around the office that way. It’s not pretty to watch and all that baggage you’re carrying around won’t help you climb the ladder, either.
We all know we’re supposed to let go sometimes. In fact, “letting go,” which was once a hippie-dippie, pseudo-therapeutic turn of phrase, is even used in steak sauce commercials these days. You see, a bunch of guys are tailgating at a big sports event and when the grillmeister spills some sauce on the rack, there’s a big dramatic pause.
“Let it go,” his friends say, but he can’t and well… I don’t want to spoil the commercial.
The important thing is that even meat-eating, sports-loving regular guys know they need to let things go now and again.
But it’s so hard. There are no easy ways to detach yourself from something that once mattered to you, whether it’s a plum assignment, a promotion, a neat job, or steak sauce. It does help if you acknowledge whatever it was, first.
Say you always wanted to be a professional jockey, but since you were 6 feet tall in 7th grade at the start of your growth spurt, you knew this was never a realistic goal. Still, it’s important to give voice to this dream so you can kiss it goodbye properly.
Bad feelings can be just as tough to shake as aspirations. The boss who always and unfairly gave you bad performance evaluations, the colleague who took credit for your work… what can you do about them?
Try to understand what was going on in those situations – maybe the boss was threatened, or you weren’t well known enough in the organization to get the credit you deserved.
Once you understand what happened before, you can make plans to address similar issues in the future. And you’ll be getting ready to really move on.
Read Part 2.
by Danielle Dresden