When was the last time something didn’t go as you expected, and you had a strong reaction?
In our chaotic world, our days can shift dramatically from what we expect when we wake.
It doesn’t take a significant shift to put us off-kilter. Even a small change or disruption can unbalance us, especially if we’re attached to what we expected.
If we don’t manage it, it impacts how we show up, which trickles over to everyone around us.
I was reminded of the value of letting go of attachment to our experience twice in the past 48ish hours.
The first was when I went to teach my Sunday night yoga class.
When I got there, the parking lot was full of heavy equipment. Apparently work was starting on the building that night … and they were cutting the power at 5:00…My class started at 5:00.
We had 8 people registered, so we decided to move ahead. It was a candlelight class anyway. We did have power until about 5:40 but finished the class in only candlelight.
It wasn’t the only disruption of the evening. My Spotify account went haywire, so I turned off the music and we practiced without, a very different practice for this studio.
When the students arrived at class, they came with certain expectations of what the experience would be, just like I had expectations of what I’d planned.
As I said to them multiple times during class, the evening became an opportunity to practice letting go of our attachment to the expectations of our experience.
I was already planning a post on this topic when, a little over 12 hours later, I was about to board a flight to a client meeting when I was notified it was canceled due to extenuating circumstances.
Rather than getting off-balance, I recalibrated. Made calls. Canceled my flight. Offered support. Maximized the unexpected time.
I remember when I wouldn’t have reacted with equanimity. I would have swirled around what it meant and what might happen and wallowed in disappointment. I would have been attached to the outcome of my experience.
It would have benefitted absolutely no one.
As Judith Hanson Lasater writes in Living Your Yoga, when we react out of attachment, “You are reacting to the way you think something should be, not the way things actually are.”
In work, and in life, we get hit with disruption to our plans and expectations without fail. And each time, we have a chance to not react and practice letting go of our attachment.
It’s not easy–I fail more often than I succeed.
But as Lasater suggests, the magic is in the practice of observing your thoughts and reminding yourself “Things are as they are, and I have a choice about how I’ll react to them.”
When we do let go of attachment, the result is so sweet: a sense of ease. Ease in our life. Ease in our leadership.
And wouldn’t we all like a little more ease?
What attachment can you let go of today?
Hey there, I’m Cynthia. I’m a leadership team whisperer, executive coach, and speaker. I guide leadership teams in high-growth companies to achieve rapid growth in a healthy, sustainable way. I coach senior leaders to discover the path to lead with ease.