Why I’ve been “letting go” instead of setting goals

Why I’ve been “letting go” instead of setting goals

Happy Lunar New Year (aka Chinese new year)!

Traditionally this is a time of “cleansing” to sweep away any evil spirits lurking from the previous year so this is a really great week for letting go of anything that no longer serves you so you can flourish in 2017.

And this is exactly what I’ve been doing.

Instead of my usual process at the turn of a year of creating a vision for my life and business in 2017, and setting goals to achieve that vision, I’ve found myself in a very different energy – one of letting go.

Letting go

I didn’t even know I was doing it at first, but I soon noticed a theme:

First I said goodbye to my biggest programme
The letting go process started in November when decided to stop running Business from the Heart, the 12 month mentoring programme that I’ve spent 4 putting my heart and soul into. My vision was  to create a group business mentoring programme that delivered value and results – something that I saw was lacking in a lot of “high ticket” programmes I’d experienced.  And I’d worked hard to do just that, and then to make it “leveragable” – so that instead of 20 members I could have 40, or 70 – or 100 – without compromising the value.  And last year, with the introduction of accountability coaches, and some tweaks to the structure, I felt I’d achieved that.  Yay!

Just in time to decide not to run it 2017!!   I don’t know about you, but that sounds crazy even to me!

After all for the last 4 years that programme has represented 2/3 of my overall business revenue, not to mention all the work that’s gone in to getting it this far.  But it was also clear to me that I needed to let it go in order to make space for other areas of the business that I want to develop, and for new things to come into my life.

Then I decluttered – big time
Next I felt pulled to declutter my office – and I was pretty ruthless about it.  Out went 4 years of paperwork, filled-to-the-brim notebooks, manuals from events I’d attended , and all sorts of items I’d accumulated.   The recycle man probably ended up with a sprained back, and I gained an almost paper free, zen-like workspace.   I’ve always loved my office overlooking the garden, but it now has a totally different sense of lightness and space.

I let go of “being busy”
This one wasn’t easy, believe me.  But for a good 5 weeks I let go of the need to be constantly “doing stuff” in my business. I stopped writing emails and blog articles, I stayed away from social media including my own Facebook groups (boy did I feel guilty about that!). I nag my clients so much about the importance of staying connected with their community that I’m like a broken record. So my logical brain was screaming at me that it was too risky, while another part of me knew I needed to let go of the need to be “doing” for a while.

And so I replaced “being busy” with a luxuriously long break at Christmas and then went off to Goa for a few weeks to do – well, absolutely nothing!

I released old friendships
As the letting go process unfolded  I started to become aware of friendships that have run their course, that no longer feel supportive or aligned with my values.  And I’m starting to gently release some of these (while at the same time feeling even more appreciative of the many beautiful souls who I am lucky enough to have in my life).

I’m letting go of  the need for “certainty”
I’ve always had a strong need to know what is coming next.  At the very least a clear vision and a plan for how I’m going to get there.  And I’m working on letting go of that too.

But of course I haven’t thrown the baby out with the bathwater.   I still have my programmes and solid foundations to my business, and I did launch a brand new 3 month online mentoring programme and took on a small number of clients for private mentoring.  So I’m still supporting my clients – it just looks and feels very different to last year.

Creating Space for our Dreams
Experts in Manifesting teach  that there is a clear relationship between  letting go and decluttering  and manifesting the abundance or life we desire.   That when we are blocked by too much “stuff” – whether that is physical, mental or emotional– we can lose our sense of direction, not be open to new opportunities and guidance, and don’t  allow a space for the very  things we say we want to come in.

So it turns out that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Rather than the familiar feeling of setting goals and then “working towards them” I feel like I’m creating space to “allow things to come in”.   It’s a very different feeling, and it requires a lot of trust.

And of course this is all great in theory – but it does take courage.

Letting go is very unsettling.  As humans we tend to like stability and resist change, and even if your Higher Self is hearing the messages that it’s time to let things go, your Ego that likes to keep you safe will be screaming at you that it’s not safe.

But I see the results of letting go all the time in my friends and my clients.

Women who go through the pain of their children flying the nest only to flourish with a new lease of life.  Women who leave unhappy relationships only to find new love that is stronger and better than ever – sometimes with the very person they left!   Clients who let go of programmes (sometimes whole businesses!) to find that opportunities flow to them that they could never have imagined before.

What do you need to let go of?

What about you?  What is there in your life or business that you need to let go of if you are going to shine even brighter than ever this year (even if there is a transition period of sadness or uncertainty)?

Here are some ideas of things you might let go of for this year:

– Clients that drain you and take the joy out of your work
– Relationships or friendships that no longer support you and make you feel good
– Clutter in your home or office
– Unhealthy habits or addictions (this includes social media or binge-watching box sets)
– A programme or other venture that is taking a lot of energy but not giving you results
– A team member who isn’t contributing or adding value
– Clothes you haven’t worn in 2 years
– Uncompleted projects (either finish them or draw a line under them)
– Old hurts or resentments
– “Distraction” activities that keep you from the important work

I’m not saying it’s easy to make these kind of changes.  But I’d encourage you start at least turning over the possibility in your mind.  My decision to stop running the Business from the Heart mentoring programme was a really big deal, and so it wasn’t an overnight thing.  It was an insistent voice but it took me quite a few months to really get comfortable with the reality of that decision before I took action on it.

Start by asking yourself “What if I did let this thing go, what could happen as a result?” and “What if I don’t let it go, how long am I happy to continue the way I am?”

Let me know in the comments what you are going to let go of to create the space for new magic this coming year.

Happy letting go!

With Love & Gratitude,

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  1. Monica Douglas-Clark on February 1, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Great post, Catherine, I’ve been having a divine declutter this winter too and I’ve just finished running my 8-week online programme which is called the “Creating Space for Abundance Immersion”. I’ve given myself three months to re-focus and it’s has changed my life. It’s given me space and time to write my book The Reap Abundance Guidebook and luxuriate in my retreat space in Barbados. Everything you’ve said in this blog is aligned with where I am right now. It has been many years to get to here but it feel ready for the magic of spirit to flow through my body, heart, mind and soul not only for myself but for my loves ones, community, teachers, peers and the world. Big love Monica x

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Hi Monica
      Thanks for your comment – 3 months, wow, that sounds amazing. And well done for giving yourself permission to take that time. You are right, I think it does take many years to get to the point where you can fully trust that creating space actually leads to better things and that it is safe to let go. Your retreat space sounds wonderful – maybe I’ll even get to visit it one day 🙂
      Big love back to you. Catherine xx

  2. Carol Hanson on February 1, 2017 at 10:32 am

    Catherine – as always a very inspirational post with a lot of great things to think about.

    For me this year is about building on what I have been doing for the past two years, using your fabulous jewellery box full of gems, to help me do that.

    But you’re right there is a need to also let go in order to grow and for me it’s a hard one as I’m a natural giver but this year it’s about not giving too much of my time to projects that while worthwhile are not necessarily in my best interests. Even writing that is hard! I know it will be work in progress but baby steps ….

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:48 pm

      Carol,
      That’s great to hear you are going to stop giving too much of your time to projects that are not worthwhile or in your best interests. Make sure you tell a few trusted friends who can help hold you to it – you might need reminding sometimes!
      With love
      Catherine
      x

  3. Caroline D'ay on February 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

    You’re an inspiration Catherine. Such a lovely, heartfelt and thought provoking blog. It’s certainly made me think about many things. I’ll let you know what goes first.

    All love and well done for setting the example.

    Caroline

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:49 pm

      Thank you Caroline. Yes do let us know what you let go first! x

  4. Hazel Bate on February 1, 2017 at 10:39 am

    That’s very brave of you Catherine to let go of what you have. I confess I haven’t managed to myself but I know I should. Good luck with it all.

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      Hazel,
      In the end the voice telling you that this thing has to go, or to change becomes so strong ignoring it becomes too uncomfortable. You will know when it’s time. And sometime the uncertainty of the unknown is more comfortable than staying how we are.
      With love
      Catherine x

  5. lesley adams on February 1, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Thanks for sharing Catherine – your sense of self, and ability to listen to and trust your inner self – is inspiring…
    I can relate to this – after a long January break I feel like I have come back into a different world… A difficult world… So, it’s a time for quiet, unhurried but purposeful reflection, and making space for new bulbs and seeds and new shoots from the old plants I love …

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you Lesley,
      And Thank you for having been such an important part of that journey over the past 2 years.
      It is a different world. Change is everywhere. Enjoy your own period of reflection and making space.
      With love
      Catherine x

  6. Irene on February 1, 2017 at 10:53 am

    Catherine, three months ago I got a fantastic part-time promotion at work. Everything was going well when, on one of my day’s off, I read a line in a writer’s blog about living a true life and burst into sobs. I suddenly knew I had to leave even though it would cause annoyance and disappointment to my employers.

    I was mystified about the feeling but it was so strong that I couldn’t ignore it. Believe me, I usually do ignore these feelings and keep working. I hate to disappoint others and had to practise with my husband telling my boss I was resigning as I knew they would try very hard to persuade me to stay and I might cave in. Not disappointing others is my achilles heel but I knew I mustn’t disappoint myself. It all went okay and I worked through people’s disapproval as I worked my notice. Then, out of the blue, my dad was rushed into hospital.

    Going with my gut and resigning meant that I was free to spend every day of my dad’s last two months of life by his side. I will never forget those days with him.

    I have learned that going with your gut about any decision is the right one. I learned that listening to yourself and honouring yourself is the most important thing.

    I, too, have started decluttering this week. I don’t know what my life holds workwise, but that is fine. Good luck for your future choices and all the best to anyone who reads what I’ve shared.

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm

      Irene,
      Wow, what a story! Thank you so much for sharing that I’m sure it will be inspiring to many others who read this. I admire you for the courage it must have taken to leave that job even when you didn’t understand what was behind the feeling. And how wonderful that you got to spend that precious time with your father.
      Thank you for inspiring us all
      Catherine
      xxx

  7. Silvia Meredith on February 1, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Thanks Catherine, this post came the right times, it so resonates with me. I am letting go of trying too hard and I just want to allow rather than having to keep pushing hard.
    All the best
    Silvia

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      Silvia,
      I wish you all the best with this – letting go of trying too hard is a journey, and I think it’s like a muscle, we get better at it the more we use it. And learning to trust the unknown is also a process.
      I wish you a wonderful, in-flow 2017
      Catherine
      x

  8. Margie on February 1, 2017 at 1:36 pm

    Lately I have been getting a lot of these e-mails. The e-mails that talks about walking away from jobs that are unhealthy or that make you unhappy. Letting go of the negative in your life, which for us is my husband’s job. We also have a farm and are moving in the direction of it being our complete source of income. Perhaps if we had more time (if my husband wasn’t working) we would be able to make a living off of it now. I feel as if the Lord is talking to me through these blog postings…I am seeing them everywhere. I have told my husband that we are being spoken to, that is why we are receiving these…it is our time. But the fear of buying health insurance and the uncertainty of no sure income is terrifying. Having many kids, it doesn’t feel as easy to do, like if it were just like him and me…the uncertainty is so hard to handle. I wish everyone the best on their ventures and pray that we are all able to follow the direction we are meant to take! 🙂

    • Catherine on February 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Margie,
      You are so right the uncertainty is so difficult and I have always struggled with that myself. A former mentor of mine used to talk about how we cling to the riverbank and sometimes we have to be prepared to let go of the bank in order to be able to get into the centre of the flow in our life. But I have a very practical side to me too and it’s never easy to let go of security.
      Saying that, throughout my life, on many occasions, when the voice has been strong enough I have always taken the leap – because in the end staying the same becomes more uncomfortable than risking the new and the unknown.
      I wish you all the best and trust that you will be guided to the right decision for you and your family – and with the right timing.
      With love
      Catherine x

  9. Linda Duff on February 1, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Thank you Catherine for your refreshing authenticity about getting real and listening to the messages life gives you. I commend your courage in giving up your ‘baby’ and opening to the flow – and the unknown of what is waiting to come to you. I am sure you will be delighted with the mystery of life and what it brings.

    • Catherine on February 4, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Thank you Linda
      And yes it was my baby, very much so for those years. And it’s given me so very much – growth, learning, it’s forced me to accelerate my own expertise, and wonderful clients. But I’ve also realised that continuing with it is going to limit me in longer term – on many different levels. And of course my other “baby” Get More Clients Saying Yes! isn’t going anywhere!
      xxx

  10. Ashley on February 1, 2017 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Lovely Catherine!

    Happy New Year! It’s so wonderful to hear from you and in such an inspiring and refreshing way. I have to laugh that TODAY is the day that you are sending this and I am reading it. After more than a year of hemming and hawing and wanting to end a relationship with a client who hasn’t been good for me and my business for quite a long time, I have made TODAY the day that I am giving them my notice! I am taking huge leaps of faith in me this year and investing in my business like I never have before. I’m also walking away from some investments I made last year that don’t suit me and know that I will come back to them if and when the time is right. Thankfully the excitement, joy, and gut feeling that this is the right path for me are far outweighing the fear and doubt at the moment, and I have faith that taking these steps will allow me to make more important steps in life and business… including more ‘decluttering’. I wish you all the best on your journey and can’t wait to follow along as it unfolds. Thank you for sharing.

    Lots of love,
    Ashley

    • Catherine on February 4, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Hi Ashley!
      Lovely to hear from you! Well done on your decision to end the relationship with that particular client – I’m sure you will feel such a sense of relief and space from doing it – which doesn’t mean to say that the actual “doing” will have been easy.
      You are right, when you follow your gut feeling it can actually lead to LESS anxiety and more excitement – because it is easier to trust what just “feels right” than what you “should do”.
      With much love
      Catherine
      xx

  11. Helen on February 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    Having a fab chuckle here… my intuition must be ramping up… what I got you for your birthday before Christmas was all about this topic. Word for word. 🙂

    • Catherine on February 2, 2017 at 8:16 am

      Hi Helen
      Ha! So maybe it’s time I came to get it from you…!! 🙂
      Hope to see you soon – and of course seeing you is more important than collecting a pressie – but may as well do both together!
      xxx

  12. Vicki Raven on February 1, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Wow Catherine! I can totally imagine how difficult giving up Business from the Heart must have been for you. I am sooooo grateful that I was able to be a part of it and that you were instrumental in getting Well Kids born for me. I have learnt this year that just because I can do something it doesn’t mean I have to and I’m feeling very grateful for everything I have and all the things I don’t have to do. Which of course means that Well Kids feels quite different to me. I am both embracing being a supporter and still finding the challenges in not supporting to my own detriment. good luck with all your ventures this year x

    • Catherine on February 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

      Hello lovely Vicki
      Thank you for having been such an important part of that journey for a couple of years – it wasn’t the same without you last year 🙂
      Good luck with continuing to nurture Well Kids and all the families you impact through it – and it’s not a race, and there are no rules about how many people you reach or how quickly, what matters is the impact you have on every single family who you help make happier through your work.
      With lots of love
      xxx

  13. Aly Harrold on February 3, 2017 at 5:53 pm

    Hi Catherine,
    Congratulations! Huge step to let this go, and whilst I look on and think “OMG are you mad?” I of course know very well after spending two years with you on your programme, that you are far from mad and I love the idea that you are trusting what will come next. Like Vicki, I feel blessed to have worked with you and you have made a huge difference to my business success.
    Sending you lots of love and all the luck you deserve for the next amazing thing.
    Much love Aly xx

    • Catherine on February 4, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Hi Aly
      Thank you for this comment. It was a huge step but at the same time strangely easy. I still haven’t had even a passing moment or shadow of doubt about my decision – so that tells me it was the right one. Of course as you know I let it go so that I can put my full energy into another part of my business. But interestingly the process of letting go – of so many things – has caused me to realise that there might even be another path that I wasn’t seeing, so I’m being patient and open to that. Even I am interested in seeing how it unfolds!
      And I too will enjoy watching your speaking business continue to go from strength to strength like it has been these last 2 years.
      Catherine xx

  14. Rosie Slosek on February 10, 2017 at 10:44 pm

    Letting go is right on about sales too. It’s having the ‘stuff’ in the way.

    PS. How did you know that my oracle card for this week was Letting Go? 😉

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