“Exhaling” for Excellence
Letting Go for Living Well
Purposeful Pathway is a haven for faith-based entrepreneurs. Part of my mission is equipping faith-based businesses with information that is practical, actionable and Scriptural.
The theme of this post is “exhaling” for excellent results.
Summertime is here in New England, and I am savoring the season! Now that the cold winter months have long passed, my windows are wide open to receive the soft summer breezes. This spirit of openness, of blissfully breathing in and out, has inspired a season of letting go.
It is important to both inhale and exhale for a healthy business, healthy body and healthy life. “Exhaling” for business and life comes in the form of decluttering. It is easy to hold onto things. After all, doesn’t it seem wasteful to let go of things that have value or serve a function? And doesn’t it feel almost irreverent to give away things that hold sentiment and memories? Yet, strong and valid as these feelings may be, the model of holding onto everything is simply not sustainable. This is true not only in our homes but also in our businesses…and in our lives overall. How incredibly freeing it is to simply relax, release and refresh. How beautiful it is to breathe in…and breathe out.
We all know what a cluttered home looks like, but what does a cluttered business look like? One symptom of a cluttered business the to-do list treadmill. Going and going breathlessly with an endless string of tasks is often a sign that there are simply too many to-do’s on the list. This cluttered schedule leads to not only a lack of clarity but also a lack of joy. Being busy does not equate to running a business, and the quantity of our tasks does not equate to the quality of service or value we provide. A cluttered business does not serve anyone well.
Another symptom of a cluttered business is stagnancy. Envision a young plant struggling to grow amidst weeds. It has to compete for sunlight and also for space to extend its roots. It makes sense to weed the flower garden; so too it makes sense to weed our business garden. Experiencing business stagnancy is frequently an indication that old practices, beliefs or systems are stifling the growth of our business blossoms.
What are the weeds that may clutter our business? Often in business we hold onto things that do not serve us, our clients and God in the best way possible because we see those things as having value. Indeed those “weeds” may have some value, but they are taking space away from the blossoms that have greater impact and value. The weeds can range from workspace clutter to outdated business practices to faulty internal beliefs. Specifically and respectively, examples can be out-of-date forms; spending too much time in a marketing routine that no longer bears much fruit; holding onto a belief that one has to labor endlessly to see true results.
Okay, we have looked at what business clutter is and why it is important to remove; but just how do we declutter our business? How do we “exhale” for excellence?
The key to decluttering is detachment by grace of the Divine. Decluttering and detaching are two different things. Decluttering is the action of letting go, and detachment is a state of being. One can declutter without being detached; but decluttering will not be permanent, nor will it bear the same level of fruit, unless decluttering flows from a heart of detachment.
Here are seven steps for detaching in order to declutter your business:
- Thoughtfully and prayerfully list any items, ideas, practices, policies and perhaps clients for which detachment would be for the highest good. Seek God’s guidance and be patient in heeding His voice. Often the items to let go are not obvious. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” (James 1:5) Having prayerfully created this list, commit to yourself and to God to exercise detachment in those areas.
- Ask the Lord what the attachment to these various things has served. Journal about these attachments, as knowing why you are attached will help you to sever the attachment. For example: one may be afraid to let go of a certain marketing practice due to fear of losing clients in the transition (realizing, however, in the long run this marketing practice is not effective). Perhaps posting every day on a blog worked well in the initial stages of business, but this practice is no longer the best use of time.
- Prayerfully attach one’s self all the more to Christ. The more we detach, the more we need to attach ourselves to Christ. The ultimate goal is to be completely detached in spirit to all things and solely attached to Him. This is a critical step and one that will require much prayer. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
- Document a plan of how you will let go and when the phases of detachment will occur. If there are items to clear out of the office, which dates will you sort through these items? Which dates will you drop off items to charity? If there is an employee who is not a good fit for your business mission, when will you have a conversation with him or her? If you will post less frequently on your blog, when will you start the new schedule? When will you notify your following and colleagues, if necessary?
- Implement the plan and do not look back. This is a challenging step! Yet, with the preparation in the previous steps, you will be all the more comfortable with letting go. You will be all the more braced to breathe out. Detachment can be painful and seem incredibly counterintuitive, particularly if there appears to be “negative” fallout at the beginning. Remember that transitions are not easy. Yet also remember why you have committed to detaching from these items; pray for God’s graces to strengthen you. “Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:11)
- Celebrate your success and open your heart to new things! Celebrate that cleaner office, that streamlined process, and that simplified schedule. Open your heart to God’s blessings that flow in the form of items that are better suited to you and your purpose. Letting go of those things that do not fit provides space for those things that do fit.
- Give glory to God! This is the crowning step. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31) Jesus is our all in all, and the process of detachment can be smooth in Spirit when we are filled with Him. Truly we lack nothing, as He is our Shepherd and our Source of perfect providence.
Bonus Step: Journal your successes in detachment, as these success stories will serve not only to reward you but also to remind you in the future of the benefits of taking the time to exhale.
Summer, winter, spring or fall, I encourage you to exhale for excellence in business and in life! You will enjoy the divine bliss and delightful blessing of detachment. These are precious blossoms along the purposeful pathway.
If you need help in exhaling to excel in your business, I would be happy to help in this powerful process. I offer to you a complimentary Boost my Business session. You will walk away with clarity, renewed vision and a completely customized next-step action plan. Simply email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time or click here.
Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, we thank You and praise You for richly supplying our every need. Forgive us, Father, when we cling to things rather than cling to You. Help us to recognize those things from which need to detach and grant us the grace to do so. Allow us to exhale that which we do not need so that we may inhale that which we do need: You. Our one desire is to bring You glory. Bless us with bearing beautiful fruit for Your Name’s sake. We love You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. In Jesus’ Name we pray. Amen.