Not long ago, in frustration, a friend of mine quit his job. He didn’t have another job lined up. He just quit. A few days later he embarked on a related career path and he’s never been happier. Purposeful abandonment opened the door to a richer, fuller life.
My life also gives testament to the power of purposeful abandonment. Or if you prefer, saying no and letting go. About two years ago, the organization I loved and clung to died to me. I crossed a line by saying, it’s better to lose it all than continue along the current path. It was painful, terrifying, and liberating. Saying no initiated a process that radically changed my life and the organization I love.
Personal, professional, and organizational growth begins when you jettison ineffective attitudes, habits, policies, systems, products, or ________ (fill in the blank).
Why is purposeful abandonment important? Because your current attitudes, abilities, processes, or systems are responsible for your present situation. Clinging to them propagates the status quo.
You won’t grow until you let go. It’s futile and frustrating to think otherwise.
First, identify your preferred future. But before setting off to achieve it, determine what isn’t getting you there and courageously, mercilessly cut it off. Now you’re ready to passionately chase your dream.
1. Abhorrence of the past ignites desire for change but it can’t sustain forward momentum. Make the past your platform. Don’t demonize it. Learn from it.
2. Don’t apply this principle to people. Some may abandon you after you’ve chosen a new course. Let it be their decision not yours.
Have you experienced purposeful abandonment? What happened? What dangers are associated with purposeful abandonment?
*Peter Drucker coined the phrase, “purposeful abandonment.”
**Image by Zinsk Creative LLC