The Art of Abandonment

"The most rain we've had in about 80 years!" That's what the news reported, expediting my lesson regarding the downside of having a fully finished basement. Homeowners in the New York area began the task of assessing damage and pumping hundreds, sometimes thousands of gallons of water out of their basements.

Now, I'm only in my new home for five months. When the movers first arrived with our life that was in storage for over a year, I couldn't believe how much "stuff" we had accumulated! Stuff that I've lived without for 13 months. At one point, Eddie, my mover, said, "You'll probably wind up throwing most of this out."

Dozens of boxes later, we found a home for everything that Eddie was kind enough to bring back to me: in the garage, the attic and the basement. Not five months after moving in, this flood came and forced me to throw out at least 80 percent of these boxes stored in my basement, the same boxes that I paid to have in storage for 13 months.

Being the eternal optimist, I knew there had to be some jewel that I can walk away with from this experience. It was around the 25th box we had stored in the basement and the 40th construction bag filled with debris ranging from furniture, clothes, artwork and the drenched sheetrock from the basement walls, when the lesson started becoming evident.

I needed to give up. I needed to quit. Without the flood, it would have been safe to say that these boxes would have remained quiet and undisturbed for years, simply taking up space and adding to household clutter. Because of this natural disaster, I was forced to clear out this clutter of things that I did not use or no longer served me anymore.

Master the Art of Abandonment

The fact is, there are things you are doing right now which are creating the very results you want to avoid. Yet we still hold on to things that are not working: the toxic people or relationships that we're better off without, the strategies we keep thinking will eventually work, the philosophies about selling, serving our customers as well as developing and retaining our staff.

The most productive people on the planet have mastered the art of abandonment: the ability to let go of the stuff that no longer works. This is not only limited to what you do but also how you think; the limiting attitude that keeps you prisoner and stalls your progress.

Here I am spending time, money and energy on protecting, saving or holding on to old things that simply don't work for me. But we still hold on thinking, "Well, maybe one day I'll use that again."

We all have a place in our home that's packed with stuff, so packed that you can't fit another item. Consider that our lives are often set up this way; overflowing with to-do lists, appointments, projects or trying to keep up with overloaded schedules that keep us buried in tasks.

If your life is cluttered with these things, you can't add the things you really want. Your life is already filled with old baggage that shouldn't be there in the first place. As such, the ability to attain what we want is compromised.

We spend so much time identifying what we need to get or bring more of into our lives and our careers - more training, more technology, more planning, more systems - that we often forget to identify what we need to let go of that would propel us forward faster than any new technique or strategy.

So, before you run out in search of the next best thing, the next greatest marketing tool, the newest "secret" to attracting top talent or bringing in more business, see what you can give up. Make a list of the things you've been holding onto, physically or mentally, that are not working for you.

In order to get more of what you want, first let go of the things that are clogging up your life to create space. Space creates choice. What can you give up on today?