Letting Go and Allowing Your Career to Flow

natalie macneil

Contributed by Natalie MacNeil of She Takes On The World

I am a recovering control-addict. When I started my company I tactically planned my annual accomplishments, month-to-month goals, weekly milestones, and daily to-dos.

I wanted to know what was coming. No curveballs.

When I checked one thing off my to-do list or accomplished something big, I swiftly moved onto tackling the next thing.

When my business partner and I received our Emmy Awards for co-creating the world’s first 360 degree, interactive, full-feature documentary we didn’t really celebrate this huge accomplishment. With my golden statue on the shelf in my office, I wasted no time getting to work on something I thought was bigger and better.

The problem with that is you’re never satisfied. Your career ends up being a game of chase, always trying to get to the next milestone, the next promotion, the next raise, or the next award, without stopping to celebrate where you are right now.

My need to calculate, plan, and control every accomplishment and every outcome was seen by many as respectable ambition, however, when I look back I recognize it as a limiting belief instead.

Embrace Serendipity

There is a zen saying that you should never have a full cup. Planning every block of time in your day leaves no room for unexpected opportunities and beautiful surprises to show up.

The funny thing is that I knew the value of beautiful surprises because my website, SheTakesOnTheWorld.com, was born out of one. I was on a little road trip in the Czech Republic deciding whether to start my own business after college, or take a corporate job instead, which was the route many were encouraging me to take.

While listening to David Guetta’s song, “The World is Mine,” I drove by a globe that was two-storeys high that said, “THE WORLD IS YOURS.” The air sucked out of my lungs, and I pulled over on the side of the road to snap a photo of what seemed like a giant sign from the Universe to follow my heart. That moment was a turning point for me, and I chose to start my own business.

You can hear me tell the whole story in this speech.

In that moment the seed of inspiration was planted for SheTakesOnTheWorld.com too, my blog-turned-company that I still call my “accidental business” because I didn’t expect it to become more than a blog that I posted to sometimes while building my media business.

The Universe had other plans though, and SheTakesOnTheWorld.com has been listed by Forbes the last three years in a row on “Top 100 Websites for Women,” and I raised a round of angel funding to grow it last year. It’s a reminder to me that it’s okay to not have a plan for everything, and be open to new opportunities and surprises that you don’t expect.

Does that mean you should just stop planning your life and your career? No.

There is definitely a place for goal setting when it comes to building a business or a career, and work days often require planning and structure. I’m not anti-planning at all. I’m telling you all of this because sometimes the need to plan and control outcomes is a trust issue with the Universe that blocks you from achieving your fullest potential.

Maintain Your Intentions

One of Deepak Chopra’s spiritual laws of success is the Law of Detachment, which means holding your intention while letting go of the attachment you have to the outcome. You can still hold a space for your goals and deepest desires while trusting that everything is flowing in perfect orchestration.

To my fellow over-achievers out there, and anyone who needs some help working through other limiting beliefs when it comes to your career, stick with me for the next few minutes as I help you let go of them.

 Let Go of Limiting Beliefs

Grab your journal and a pad of sticky notes, and together we’ll get you into the flow:

First we’re going to look at the effects one limiting belief can have on all areas of your life. I have a little section in my journal called “Limiting to Limitless Beliefs” where I work through fears, self-doubt, and worries. There are three columns: Limiting Belief, Effects, and Limitless Belief.

1. Limiting Beliefs - In the first column, declare your limiting career belief. The first step to crush any limiting belief is to recognize it’s there, and be willing to work through it.

2. Effects – In the “Effects” column examine the emotions and outcomes that stem from your limiting belief. When I was working through my addiction to planning and control, the effects looked like this: 

I feel the need to plan and control every element of my career:

  • When I plan everything, I measure my success by hitting the milestones and goals in my plan
  • If I deviate too far from the plan I start feeling out of control and unsuccessful
  • When I start feeling out of control and successful I tend to start comparing myself to other people and what they are achieving
  • When I start to compare myself to others I disregard my own accomplishments

Let me give you another example of a common limiting career belief I’ve worked through with many of the entrepreneurs I’ve mentored: the fear of failing. Here is how your “Effects” column may look if you’re afraid of failing:

I’m worried I will fail if:

  • I don’t take action towards what I really want because I’m afraid of failing and criticism
  • I feel like I’m in a stagnant place in my business because I’m not taking action towards what I really want
  • I’m frustrated because I’m not moving forward
  • I take my frustration out on the people I love
  • This puts a strain on my personal relationships

 Isn’t it crazy how just one limiting belief can spill into so many areas of our lives?

3. Limitless Belief – You’ve declared your limiting belief, and you’ve worked through the effects it has on your work life and personal life. Now it’s time to replace your limiting belief with a limitless one in the third column. When you’re done, write this limitless belief on a sticky note too and put it somewhere where you’ll see it often. 

I turned to this passage from Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love into my limitless belief to replace my limiting belief of needing to control every event and situation:

“When we stop trying to control events, they fall into a natural order, an order that works. We’re at rest while a power much greater than our own takes over, and it does a much better job than we could have done. We learn to trust that the power that holds galaxies together can handle the circumstances of our relatively little lives.”

It All Comes Down to Trust

Trust that right now you’re exactly where you need to be, completing the assignments that are just for you, on your journey to achieve your greatness. 

The more I surrender and detach myself from the outcome, the more I’m realizing that the Universe has a bigger and better plan for me than I ever had for myself. Once you let go and get in the flow you’ll probably realize that there’s a bigger and better plan for you too.

About the Author
Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur. She is the author of She Takes on the World and most recently, Conquer: A Manifesto for Achieving What You Want Most. For her weekly dose of inspiration and practical advice for your business + life visit her at SheTakesOnTheWorld

Image source: Suitcaseentrepreneur.com


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