To move forward into something new, we usually have to let go of something old.
This can be painful.
Many times what we have to let go of is not ‘stuff’. We have to let go of ‘us’.
Specifically, we have to let go of roles that are parts of our identity. Granted, those parts are really not us anymore. We have changed. Those old parts of our identity don’t fit well anymore. Or they are faded and torn from wear. We usually don’t even want them any more. But like that faded tattered T-shirt from our favorite band 20 years ago, we are sometimes unwilling to give it up.
Somehow this role feeds us something we think we need. Someone’s approval. A place to belong. Work that feels like purpose. There is often actually nothing wrong with the role – it is just not who we are any more.
One – think about the possibilities. Taste them in your mind. Feel them in your heart. Create mental visions and pictures with vivid details. Have something that you are running towards, not just things you are running from.
Two – create new connections, hang around with different people. People who look and act like those in your visions and people who will let you be the person you see yourself being. Learn their language. Do the things they do. If you want to become an artist, begin to meet artists. If you want to run marathons, connect with others who run marathons.
Three – experiment. Test drive some ideas and new roles – but only as experiments. Once you begin to realize you can test something and choose to let it go, it becomes easier to begin to let loose roles held for longer periods of time.
Four – embrace, don’t run from, the contradictions. There’s a tension found when living in the now but exploring the not yet. It may feel scary, but you know something, you are already different. Actually, truly, already different. Just thinking new thoughts shifts the trajectory of your life because our actions and behaviors are driven by what is going on inside of us.
let go of the past. grab the future.