The Mindset Shift to Releasing What’s No Longer Needed

During a move several years ago, I found boxes of outdated documents I had been holding onto far longer than needed.

Knowing the documents were taking up space, I made a plan to start getting rid of them over a three-week period by taking them to a store for shredding.

I let go of 27 pounds of documents the first week, 32 pounds the second week, and 35 pounds the third week! 

Over a three-week period, I cleared my personal space of 94 pounds of documents that were no longer serving me—old bank statements, tax documents, and other outdated information.

As I walked away from the store each week, I felt free. It may sound odd, but I actually felt lighter in my step after letting go of what I no longer needed. 

  • A grudge towards a boss or co-worker
  • Bitterness from an unresolved conflict 
  • Resentment for a wrong done to you that was never acknowledged  

One of the leaders in my book entitled, “How Did My Family Get In My Office?!”, shared how holding onto unresolved hurt from his upbringing impacted his daily mindset until a co-worker said to him “Ryan, you’re always so negative.”

“It was like somebody took a 2×4 and BAM, hit me upside the head with it. When my co-worker said it, it went right into my soul. In that moment, I realized he was right. I could see how my negativity was working against me.”

When I asked, “How did you turn around the negativity?” Ryan responded, “The phrase ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’.”

“That phrase made me realize the negativity I was holding onto stemmed from feeling overlooked in my family and having little to no emotional connection to my parents and siblings. I began to understand the hurt inside of me and that my parents had done the best they could given the challenging life situations they faced when raising me.”

Ryan said, “That experience helped me recognize that everyone has stories of something they’ve gone through that was difficult. No matter how much money you have or don’t have, or the color of your skin or your religion or whatever, we all have to deal with difficulties that influence how we treat others or trigger a rude or hurtful comment. 

Now, with everyone, including in my leadership, I strive to consider that how we react to things is often influenced by our experiences. And, despite what happened to us, we all have the choice to recognize the baggage we’re holding onto and change for the better.”

By gaining self-awareness, Ryan came to realize the internal hurt he was holding onto was coming out in negativity towards others. As a person, he had become the opposite of who he wanted to be.

Just as I released the useless documents at the shredder that were no longer needed, what would it take for you to let go of “useless” burdens that weigh you down and take up space?

About the author 

Bonnie Artman Fox, MS, LMFT works with executive leaders who want to gain self-awareness about the impact of their words and actions and up-level their interpersonal skills. 

Drawing from decades as a psychiatric nurse and licensed family therapist, Bonnie brings a unique perspective to equip executive leaders with the roadmap to emotional intelligence that brings teams together. 

Bonnie’s leadership Turnaround coaching program has an 82% success rate in guiding leaders to replace abrasive behavior with tact, empathy, and consideration of others. The end result is a happy, healthy, and profitable workplace…sooner vs. later.

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