In Life Management, Tips and Tools

Six signs you are too attached to outcomes.

Are you too attached to outcomes? The ability to let go of your attachment to the outcome is so important to your success with any personal or professional goal. You can still be focused on your intention and be ready to take the necessary actions, while at the same time letting go of your attachment. Keep reading to learn how these two things can peacefully coexist.

My friend and colleague, Robert MacPhee, has written a wonderful book, Manifesting for Non-Gurus: How to Quickly and Easily Attract Lasting Results. In his book, he provides a list of six signs that help you determine if you have an attachment to the outcome of a situation:

  1. Needing to know how. How often have you been so attached to the need to know how to do something, that you never got started? What would be possible if you focused on your ultimate intention, took some kind of action to get started, and figured out the how along the way?
  1. Needing something now. When you become attached to the timing, this can also become a barrier to moving forward. What would be possible if you focused on your intention and allowed something to unfold in its own timing? One of the best examples I can think of for this is getting pregnant. I know three women who tried hard to conceive a child, did not get pregnant, and when they finally gave up and started adoption proceedings, they got pregnant. (In two cases, the adoptions went through very close to the delivery date!)
  1. Hooking into the judgments of others. When you become attached to other people’s judgments and you allow their opinions to inform your decisions, your own intentions and desires may fall by the wayside. We all know people who selected a career path they did not want, based on the judgment and strong opinion of a parent or important role model in their life. Are you doing something because you “should” (a judgment word) or because you choose to?  If this happened to you, check out last week’s blog, How I Discovered My Purpose.
  1. Hooking into your own opinions of others or yourself. Your attachment and need to control what someone else does (or doesn’t do) can actually create resistance that prevents things from changing. As a parent, I recall many times when I wanted my daughter to do something. The more I focused on what I wanted her to do, the more resistant she became to doing it. My attachment–and the ensuing power struggles–actually fueled what I didn’t want. The same holds true when you are consumed with comparing yourself to someone else, which can get in the way of you moving forward with your own intentions. An instructor once advised each of us participating in a group yoga class to “Keep your eyes on your own mat!” That’s good advice for all walks of life.
  1. Hooking into guilt. Have you ever felt so guilty about something that it paralyzed you from moving forward? What’s possible when you learn from a mistake–let go of the guilt and put it in the past where it belongs–so you can move forward with intention?
  1. Hooking into fear. How often does fear of repeating the past get in the way of you moving forward with intention? FEAR is often fantasized experience appearing real. Simply recognizing that some fear is made up can help us to get beyond it. Instead of remaining attached to the fear, focus on future possibilities! Here’s an acronym to help you overcome the paralyzing effects of FEAR:
  • Focus: What’s most important to you? What does the end result look like? What steps are required to get you there?
  • Explore: What are you resisting? What warning signals are present when you resist? What’s the ultimate fear behind these warning signals? What’s the worst thing that could happen? Even if the worst thing did happen, could you live with it?
  • Assess: What are your options? What action do you choose to take? What’s next for you? What support could you get to help you move forward?
  • Respond: This is where the rubber meets the road–where you choose to say “yes” to the action you have chosen for yourself. If you aren’t ready to act, repeat this process until you’re ready to move forward.

A few more tips to help you cope with fear…

  1. Recognize that when you procrastinate or avoid taking the next step, you are probably trying to avoid fear. Often this results in missed opportunities.
  2. Shift your perspective. Fear is not a problem to be solved, but rather a natural certainty that comes with living life. Think of it as your friend. Fear of failure can be a great motivator to get you out of bed every morning. It’s also closely aligned with instinct and intuition, so pay attention when you feel fear and listen to your inner wisdom so you don’t put your overall safety in jeopardy.
  3. Lean into the fear. Renowned psychotherapist Susan Jeffers has written a book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, which tells you how to get what you want in spite of your self-sabotaging fears, turning passivity into assertiveness.
  4. Take the next step as you feel the fear. Use the adrenaline from the feeling to help you get energized and in action.

At the beginning of this blog, I mentioned the value of letting go of your attachment to the outcome. One way to determine if you are attached is to ask yourself, “Am I giving to give, or am I giving to get?”  More about that next week!

What outcome are you attached to in your life? What are the possibilities if you were to let go or your attachment to something?  Please comment below.

If you’d like some additional help, check out these resources:

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