<< Back to Newsletter Archive

Cutting Edge Ideas from 2500 Years Ago )
 Helping Managers and Salespeople Thrive in Turbulent Times Vol. 1, #2, February 2003 
in this issue
  • Are You Ready to Surrender?
  • About Jim Schaffer & Associates

  • Greetings!

    This month we explore why "letting go" may be the best way to keep moving forward.

    Just click "reply" to send along your comments at any time.

    Best regards,

    Jim Schaffer
    President, Jim Schaffer & Associates

    Are You Ready to Surrender?

    It's no dirty, dark secret that there is a lot of pain out there in the corporate corridors of this great nation of ours. In my travels these past months, I hear a theme arising which is beginning to sound as familiar to me as the chorus of "Satisfaction":

    Most of us, even in companies that purport to be doing well right now, have more and more days when we'd like to lay down our laptops and simply "give up".

    My advice: DO IT! No, I'm not suggesting you lock yourself in your office with the collected works of Marcel Proust. The surrender I'm speaking about has to do with letting go of trying to get a grip on all that is spinning around you and paying more attention to the quality of the present moment. You're not going to control this wave anyway; you're only going to ride it. (You didn't control the last one, either, it just felt like you did).

    Pema Chodron, Buddhist nun and author of When Things Fall Apart, counsels us to: ". . train in letting the story lines go. Slow down enough to just be present, let go of the multitudes of judgments and schemes, and stop struggling."

    We spend so much energy wishing things were different, that they looked more like 1999, or that we had less work to do, or that the stress were less constant (and I sometimes wish my hair were still brown and that I really did turn out to be Fred Astaire instead of Jim Schaffer). But that's not "things as they are." The result of all this clinging to our idealized vision is we try to mold the chaotic swirl of events in front of us to fit the fantasy and, more often than not, we feel frustrated.

    But if we can surrender to life as it unfolds, we won't be cheating ourselves of the very rich experience that is available to us right now. In business, that might mean the difference between spotting an opportunity or missing it completely as you try to blast your way through to the end zone.

    With so much demanded of us, so much pressure for delivery of results, how can we let go for even a second? Here are three principles that require practice, but which will help you cultivate a shorter path to the success you are seeking and leave you feeling vitamin-enriched rather than deep-fried.

    1. Give Up Your Goals. I know our paychecks, reviews, even our ability to keep our jobs are based on what we achieve. And I think goals are worth having. But these are not linear times. You won't even see the openings that will allow you to get to your goals unless you can loosen your grip on them and try to experience more fully what is going on moment by moment.

    2. Let Go of Your Judgments. I know you get paid well because you're the one who can dive in and size things up quickly. But try not to be too attached to those judgments - they may be killing you. The truth is, you don't really know what's going on a fair amount of the time. It is more effective to stay open for longer than your instincts tell you to, to adopt a spirit of inquiry, to say "What is this; what is it's nature?" than to let your ego spring into action.

    3. Work for Mastery, Not More. This is a businessperson's most poignant paradox. As we are called upon to deliver more and more with each passing quarter, we must understand that real achievement doesn't happen that way. It is only by showing up each day, by practicing and honing our craft, and by doing all of this in a spirit of service that we can rise to the next plateau of accomplishment in a way that energizes rather than destroys us.

    By surrendering to "what is" and practicing these principles, your work days will have the excitement of a darkened theater as the curtain opens and the stage lights come up. There may be things you need to accomplish, judgment calls you ultimately have to make, but in times of great change it is often better to take a few moments, as Lennon & McCartney were instructed so long ago, to simply "Let It Be."

    Now - get back to work.

    Click for more on Pema Chodron's book

    About Jim Schaffer & Associates

    Jim Schaffer & Associates helps management teams & salespeople stay focused, get results and keep high morale — regardless of what may be going on around them.

    Copyright 2003 by Jim Schaffer & Associates.


  • Mindfulness Consulting

  • Advanced Sales Training

  •      email: jim@jimschaffer.com
         voice: 617-332-9105
         web: http://www.jimschaffer.com