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Letting Go – Releasing Bad Habits and Poor Decisions

There’s a story about monkeys in the jungle who were captured by the natives by filling big heavy jars with berries. When the monkeys reached in to grab the berries they’d get stuck because their clenched fist (full of berries) would not come out of the mouth of the jar.

Those monkeys who were unwilling to let go of the berries would be captured because they could not carry the jars. They were trapped by their combination of greed and stubbornness. They were unable to see the consequences of their actions and, therefore, unable to change their behavior in order to avoid disaster.

Whether or not the story is factual, it illustrates some important points. We hang onto things (e.g., people, ideas, and beliefs) that hold us hostage. We cannot escape our current situation and move into a better future unless we are willing to let go of those “berries.” We humans have an advantage…we can evaluate the consequences and have the opportunity to make a choice.

In your defense, when you first grabbed the berries (e.g., your job, spouse, boat, house), they looked delicious and you really wanted them. You were hungry and the berries were right there. Have you ever said to yourself “it seemed like a good idea at the time”?

Chances are it was a good choice at the time and made perfect sense. Then things changed. Maybe you gained new information, learned new skills, or adopted a new vision or mission for your life or your business. Suddenly, those berries were no longer attractive or appealing. They didn’t align with your new goals. They were now creating frustration and actually putting you or your objective in danger.

And still, you held on to those berries…which at this point started to look, feel, and smell pretty bad. Yet you stubbornly hung on, out of habit, out of misplaced loyalty, or out of fear. Part of you knew it was time to let go…but the uncertainty was too high. The fear of the unknown was scarier than the disgust you felt about those soggy, moldy, slimy berries.

It’s time to take your hands out of the jar, wash them off and start fresh. What are the berries in your life that are keeping you trapped and unwilling to move forward? What’s holding you back from:

  • speaking up for yourself
  • leaving your job or a toxic relationship
  • going after a promotion or asking for a raise
  • going back to school
  • living the life you want

Action Challenge: List three things that you can do within the next 24 hours to escape from your past experiences and current beliefs that are getting in the way of your success. What can you stop doing? What can you start doing? The smallest of steps still count. Be aware, make a plan, take one step to get yourself headed in the right direction.

Leverage Your Strengths for Greater Success

We spend so much time focused on our shortcomings and what we want to improve, that we don’t give ourselves credit for or celebrate our strengths. So, I invite you set aside some quiet, reflection time (15-30 minutes) to list your inventory of skills (not just the work-related ones).

List at least 10. If you have 30 or 50, that’s even better. There is nothing too small. Use these questions to help you get started. Write in bullet form and don’t sensor yourself. No one else has to know about the list…so brag a little, take credit, and be proud.

  • What are you good at?
  • What do others come to you for?
  • What abilities do you get compliments about?

Some examples might be: learning quickly, making everyone feel at ease, throwing parties, public speaking, reading people, explaining complex ideas, etc.

Once you have your list, take two more steps. First, take time to enjoy the positive feelings. We are often so busy beating ourselves up for what we can’t and don’t do, that we forget to praise ourselves for all that we do and can do. It’s a good self-esteem boost to remind ourselves of our strengths and accomplishments on a regular basis.

Second, think about how you can leverage those strengths in the various areas of your life. How can you use those skills to improve your relationships, profits, financial security, career, peace of mind, etc.? This way of thinking is counter to our usual approach which is: “how do I overcome my weaknesses?” When you play to your strengths, you’ll find that you:

  • don’t have to work as hard
  • are more efficient and effective
  • you accomplish amazing things effortlessly
  • you have more energy
  • you’ll be having fun

Stay tuned to my blog and website to receive more valuable tools and strategies to help you build your skills, grow your business, and increase your personal and professional sanity!

Empowering and Energizing Words

In my training events and private coaching sessions, I often talk about the impact that our self-talk has on our current and future levels of success. We can be our own best friend or our worst enemy by the words and thoughts we choose.

To get you on the positive path, I challenge you to come up with at least one word for every letter in the alphabet that makes you feel good, encourages you, and/or gives you an energy boost. It could be a quality that you already possess or something that you admire in others (that you are striving toward). Maybe you just like the sound of it or it brings back a pleasant memory.
Here are a few examples from my list (just the vowels) and some brief explanations that may inspire you to create your list.

A – “Action” – I feel better when I take action and get things off my to-do list. I making that checkmark or crossing the item off the list. I know that I’ll achieve more, in all facets of my life, if I take action rather than sitting back and waiting for things to happen. Momentum starts with movement!

E – “Exceptional” – I like the fact that the word “exceptional” implies high quality and uncommon at the same time. It packs a two-for-one punch.

I – “Interesting” I don’t want to be boring or live the same life as everyone else. I want to have a wide variety of experiences and adventures to look back on. So far, I’ve flown and jumped out of an airplane (not the same one), fed sharks, stingrays and giraffes, climbed a waterfall, sipped from an Alaskan glacier pool, rode an elephant, held a jellyfish, alligator, and python, climbed Mayan Ruins, gone scuba diving at night, and eaten termites in Costa Rica. I plan to add a lot more to that list.

O – “Opportunity” – I love the possibility that lies within an opportunity. I have the chance to take on a challenge and succeed. When I’m consulting or training, I can share information with others to create opportunities for them to change their circumstances.

U – “Unlimited” – When I chose my company name (Kammy Haynes Unlimited), I liked the idea that I could do and be anything. The possibilities are limitless; without constraint. Every time I read it or say it, I smile and get a little zing of anticipation.

Have fun coming up with your list. Don’t make it a chore…if you get stuck on a letter come back to it another time. You can also have multiple words for a letter…the more the merrier. That way you can choose which one strikes your fancy on any given day. The point is to get your brain focused on POSITIVE, motivating, and encouraging words (rather than dwelling on the negative and energy-draining words that keep you stuck and unable to move forward).

What’s your word for today? Click here for your ENERGY WORD template to help you get started.