Improving Your Ability to Letting Go

I’d like to convince you to improve your ability to let go. This is a powerful tool to help you improve your leadership.

The stoics say we can’t control what has happened, but we can control how we respond. This helps us show up better and be like our best selves, and thus perform better as leaders. When I say letting go, I mean reducing something you don’t want or reducing attachments to something desirable.

There’s a simple formula to make this more clear:

Suffering = Pain X Resistance

Suffering is the impact to us, including our outward reaction: sadness, frustration, defensiveness, anxiety. All of which are counterproductive to our leadership. This is what we are trying to reduce.

Pain is the undesirable event. Something we don’t like. Usually, something we don’t control. A difficult coworker, unappreciative boss, bad weather on vacation.

But resistance is how we think of the event, how we interpret it. Is it good? Is it bad? This is where we have control.

If we lower resistance, reduce our suffering because suffering equals pain times resistance. I’m not just suggesting this is a way to reduce suffering, which is great, but also and more importantly, as a way to improve performance.

By getting better at letting go, we leave space for alternatives. We show up better. We’re more flexible, more resilent, and thus better leaders.

There are lots of ways to get better at letting go. Just remembering this formula is one of those ways suffering equals pain times resistance. Better leadership makes a world of difference. Showing up better takes work.

What is your plan?