The Mindset (and Skillset) of Letting Go - Christine Kane

As I’ve followed my passion since 1993, I’ve gone through several evolutions from musician to solopreneur to a full-time team of 9 employees, and I’ve learned three key lessons about letting go.

The support, things, and people we need as we grow requires us to release what is no longer serving the direction we’re heading.

To stay aligned with your intention and build a business full of vision and desires, you must be present. And to do that, you can’t hold onto items, beliefs, or old mental patterns. You gotta let that shit go.

Endings are not failures. Explore these three points with me today and embrace you’re not a bad person or doing anything wrong when you let go and move forward. You’ll hear questions to ask yourself and ways to practice with small everyday things to build up that “Let it Go” confidence. You’ve got this!

Episode Transcript

Letting go elimination, whatever you want to call it, release is a key skillset of any successful business owner.

Welcome to The Soul-Sourced™ Podcast, unconventional business advice for the highly creative, secretly sensitive and wildly ambitious entrepreneur. I’m your host, Christine Kane. Let’s do this.

Hello my friends, and welcome to episode number 62. And we are going to talk about the all important activity and mindset and skillset of letting go. And this applies to letting go of stuff and things as well as letting go of people and emotions. And I do think that this is one of the key skillsets and mindsets that you can have as a business owner, because you are constantly, as you move in your trajectory in your business success, you’re constantly having to release the things that no longer serve where you are going. And this is a tough skill set for a lot of us, not everyone, but there are some people who really struggle with this one, which does not mean that you’re not good at business. It does not mean you should not have a business. It just means that some of the people who are willing to let go and move faster and not be bogged down by all the little emotions and barnacles that letting go sometimes brings upon us, It means that they move faster and moving fast is sort of the name of the game when it comes to business and growth and scaling, and being able to do that without getting bogged down, weighed down by those what I call business barnacles, but I’ve spoken about that in another episode.

But this, this particular topic came up because it’s something I’m going through personally right now. Um, I, a lot of, you know, that many years ago before I started Uplevel, as it was getting started, I made the bold move of purchasing a 3,500 square foot office space in downtown Asheville where I live and the vision behind that was that we were going to, or I was going to, it was me and one other person on my team at that point, I was going to really, I made a decision from where I wanted to be, and I wanted to grow this company called Uplevel and move into having a team. And within about a year, I think we had nine people on our team. We had full-time staff and, and all of that came to pass and I didn’t want to be spending money on rent. And it was just this wonderful confluence of events that made this possible and doable. I paid cash and did a really beautiful build out on it. And so it was a great move at the time. And then before, it was pre COVID, we started to realize we all loved from home. So we started having a work from home day, and then we had two days a week and right about the year before COVID happened, uh, we went fully remote and I leased out the bottom half of that office space, and I held onto the top half because we were still doing events downtown. We still wanted to be able to have meetings upstairs and all that kind of stuff.

And my current tenants were kind of hit by COVID. And so they are breaking their lease early, which means that the place is now about to be leased out to a company who was going to take over the whole place, which means I am with Amanda on my team. We are going through the stuff that’s in the upstairs. And there is a lot of stuff, you know, seven years in a place having a business, and actually now it’s more like 10, really makes for a lot of accumulation. And though we’ve pared down there is I wouldn’t call it clutter, It’s just the normal stuff of having an office in each and every item in each and every category of item requires a decision on my part. Where’s this going to go? Are we going to store this? Are we going to recycle this? Are we going to give this for free to the, we’ve given a lot of stuff away to schools here and teachers and that sort of thing, but there’s a lot of decision-making with it.

And it is all at once, you know, painful and it brings up some nostalgia. It makes me look at, you know, some of my music stuff, and everything’s kind of in front of me as I go through this. And I was talking with my friend, Kathy, we had dinner together and she has obviously, we’ve all been through many moves in our lives and all, you know, business shifts, work shifts. And she said something that was very comforting to me. And that is, she said, the activity that you’re going through right now is one of the most emotionally and physically draining that I think anyone can go through. And this obviously precludes the ideas of sickness and death and all that kind of stuff. But there is a certain amount of letting go and dying that goes with the process of moving out of letting go of getting rid of stuff.

And what’s fun is that a lot of my clients have come to me with their own versions of shifting their business, letting things go, moving out of a certain house, going to another place and just releasing. And it’s brought up a lot of conversations about letting go and moving on. And I wanted to bring this to the forefront because we’re at a point where the year is sort of ending. And by the way, for those of you who are like, well, screw it, the year’s over my intentions didn’t happen. I want to remind you the year is not, at least as of the recording of this, the year is not over. I don’t know when you’re listening to this, but there is still some time. And I think a lot of times, if a year hasn’t gone the way we wanted it to, I’ve just seen a lot of people kind of give up, like just okay, who cares about my intention? It didn’t work out.

I am, I’m going to challenge you before I go into this topic, not to drive forward and work hard, and you can still do your intention, but I I’m going to, because we’re going to talk about intention here. I’m gonna challenge you to stay aligned with the intention you set for yourself this year. Too often, when it comes to the last quarter of the year, I see entrepreneurs who haven’t, you know, kicked ass taking names and exactly the way they want it to. They kind of drop their intention and, oh, well, I’ll start on January 1st, next year. My thing is stay fully present to the intention you set for this year cause you never know what could happen with your presence and your attention on your intention. That’s just a little side note there.

Um, but moving into this, a lot of times, we come to an end of a year and we’re really looking towards our intentions for the coming year. And we’re asking ourselves who we want to be. And that requires above all else, this idea of letting things go that are no longer serving their purpose, that are no longer serving your intentions. And if you’ve done my Uplevel Your Life program, you’ll know that the first step of Uplevel Your Life is intention. And the second step is elimination and it doesn’t go right into manifestation. It really is elimination as a key part of the process. And so this is a really good time to consider letting go. Elimination. Learning how to do that and practicing with yourself.

And so I have three main points that I want to make here. I always like to keep it to three because I think it’s something our brains can actually handle. And the first one of those points is that letting go, elimination, whatever you want to call it, release, is a key skill set of any successful business owner. In fact, as I thought about this topic, and really I kind of go deep when I get ready to do any episode or, or teach anything, I kind of go into the energy of that topic. And what I’ve seen is that people who are really super successful at business, regardless of other things they’re good at or not good at, or, you know, not having compassion or empathy or whatever they might have. But what I do know about them is they’re very good at letting go. They are very good at releasing. And I remember in Alan Weiss’s book, The Million Dollar Consultant, and I’m paraphrasing here, I didn’t go back and find the book and, and see where he said it. But one of the things he does encourage entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants to do is to prune their client base and expect to have it pruned by 25%, every single year as you keep, to use my word, Upleveling, meaning your, your, your intention, your vision of your company and your business continues to grow. And so naturally there are going to be people who are not attracted to that anymore, or no longer in alignment with that anymore. So whether it is your choice to prune them or whether they simply self prune, the self pruning client, client, it’s self pruning client, it’s a new book, regardless of whether it’s your choice or their choice, It’s something that’s really good to see somebody like Mr. Weiss, who is very clear and probably a little bit more, um, clear than some of us are more gruff than some of us or more business focused and minded than some of us feel.

But being able to say, Hey, expect this, Hey know that this is part of growth. It takes some of the sting out of it. It takes some of the, uh, self-flagellating out of us. I think some of us, especially those of us who, as I mentioned in the title of my book, who are secretly sensitive, we kind of get a little addicted to our sensitivity, to our emotionality, to our patterns around people. And we think everything should stay as it is. And this is actually not a great mindset to have. It is so much better to be able to say, Hey, I’m continuing to move forward. It is natural that things will fall away. And that is the nature of business. It’s also the nature of life. As we continue to move forward in our trajectory, as we continue to become more successful, more clear, more honed in on our skillsets, more clear about our ideal client, guess what things are going to fall away.

That doesn’t mean that if you feel more sensitive and that you feel more deeply, or you have grief around letting some things go, that you are not qualified to have a business, it just means that this is going to be your blind spot. It’s going to be something that you work through. I will say that this has been one of the big things for me to work through. A lot of the stories in my book, speak to this and the process of letting go and anchoring to that intention into that vision of where I am going, where I have been going. And that’s been what has allowed me to first leave my cubicle job and become a musician. It’s been what allowed me to, you know, stop playing in certain bars and gigs that were no longer serving me and really set my sights on something bigger and moving into theaters and coffee houses that were more aligned with me and each and every time there are people you’re saying no to.

There are things you’re no longer doing their stuff that you no longer need in your life. And all of that requires this tenacious relationship with your intention and realigning with your intention and understanding where you’re going and who you are. And that means letting go of things that do not serve that. And that’s a skillset of success. It’s part of the deal. And again, does not mean that if you get bogged down, that it, you shouldn’t have a business, it just simply means there’s your blind spot, there’s your learning curve and learn from it, start doing it anyway, and understand that when the pain comes up, it does not mean you shouldn’t be doing this. It just means now you’re growing to another level.

The second point that I want to make, and that brings me to the people who do get bogged down by some of this emotional stuff. A second point is that people erroneous really conflate endings with failure or with a reason to lay blame or to get angsty. And the truth is that whether the ending was inflicted upon you, like, you know, you are laid off or you didn’t get the thing you wanted, or a client leaves or whatever, it might be, endings are necessary, but they are not failure. And I’m going to read you a little section from my book right now, because it’s a, it’s one of the things that my favorite section of my book is the section on interpretation, because I think that those of us who are sensitive, this is where we get super trapped. And I have a whole chapter called Interpretation Traps and interpretation trap number six is a trap that I call avoiding endings. And so a lot of us, we avoid endings by clinging to things. And by making ourselves feel like for anything that doesn’t quote unquote, go right or perfect. And the truth is whether it’s letting go of stuff that you’ve accumulated, or maybe a marriage ended and you’ve been clinging to the stuff from your wedding, because you beat yourself up every time you look at it, because everyone else in your family is still married or whatever it might be, we all think that we have somehow made big mistakes by because endings have happened. And so interpretation, trap avoiding endings. I’m going to read you this little tiny section right here.

You’ve probably heard the expression, what got you here won’t get you there. You’ve probably written it down. Maybe it’s a quote you save in Evernote. And sometimes you spout it off because tidy little quotes like that always sounds so good and make you feel so wise until they’re happening to you. That’s when those four little words, what got you here, get sticky because what got you here might just be something you’re attached to, or some one you’re attached to, or a strategy that used to work so well. And that’s precisely when you stop interpreting and you start clinging, you don’t want to lose anything that’s proven helpful. You don’t want to lose people. You don’t want to hurt people. You don’t want to step into uncharted territory or feel uncertain. You don’t want to give up what got you here in order to get there. The trap is that you’re conflating completions with abandonment or failure. Completions are not endings, or abandonments. A completion is simply something that has run its course and run it so well that this situation is now calling for something new, something different, that can take you to the next level. If business is anything it’s a lifelong lesson in letting go. Upleveling is a lot more about what you release than it is about what you add.

As Dr. Henry Cloud says in his book, Necessary Endings, when something ends in a business, it doesn’t mean you’re doing something wrong. It means you’re still alive. And actually, I don’t think he actually said that in his book. I think I quoted him on a podcast saying that, I just now realized that, but that’s the little section from my book. And that’s the thing that most of us do not understand. And it’s not that just because I gave that to you right now, that intellectually you get it and you’re like, Eureka, I’m good to go. This is a mental learning, maybe an insight you got, but to really get it means that your whole body, you have to get it somatically. You have to really experience it. And that’s the story. Also in my book in a different section where I cleared out my basement, because my coach saw that I was holding on to things because I still had a plan B for in case my music career didn’t work out.

And I’m going to quote, um, Henry Cloud here again, this, this one is actually from his book. He calls this process of letting go, he calls it pruning. And what he says is pruning is strategic. It is directional, and forward-looking, it is intentional toward a vision, desires and objectives that have been clearly defined and are measurable. If you have that, you know what a rose is and pruning will help you get one of true beauty. So I love that. And it really speaks to the rose, the intention, and the fact that an order to, you know, I’m a plant lady, So I don’t have roses. I’ve just plants all around, but any of us know that you always have to prune off the dead leaves, even if they’re on a really big, beautiful branch. And you have to let that go and trust that the nature of life is that something else is going to grow there. Something more beautiful than was there. But if you leave that dead leaf there, it’s going to attract insects. It’s going to attract things that you don’t want, and it’s going to harm the whole plant. And that’s where letting go is so key.

And one of the key pieces to understand about this, is that your preferences and your needs and your decisions do not make you mean or bad or horrible, or even to blame. That’s just the game that we all play that ultimately keeps us stuck not letting go because we become so fixated on these old patterns and these old, oh, am I a bad thing? And, oh my goodness, I’m, I’m so horrible. And we get all caught up in why I’m so horrible and what makes me bad and why did I make this mistake? Whereas we would do so well to learn from, from what Alan Weiss says, or from what Henry Cloud says and to just prune and just be willing to accept that we’re now in uncertain territory, we don’t have the branch with that leaf on it that we were so sure of, even though it was shriveled up, we now have to wait and see what does come there instead. And you’ve experienced I, I’ve experienced it, when you let go of things that don’t serve you, It’s amazing. Nature, abhors a vacuum. Things do come up to fill that space. But our job is to just stand in faith in our intention.

And the last thing I want to talk about here is that the best place to start practicing this idea of letting go is with physical stuff in our lives. If you have worked with me as your coach, in my Uplevel Your Life program or in Becoming 360, when I used to do that program, or even in our masterminds, I talk about how, you know, too many people want to make these big, huge leaps like, oh, I just have to let go of this person or let go of this, you know, horrible situation. And they’re asking themselves to go from zero to 120 without really understanding the practice of letting go, which is why I told that story in my book of my coach, forcing me to clear out the basement because it was this stuff that I was holding onto and it had so much energy attached to it that was old. It was old patterns. It was old beliefs that I would fail. And so the best place to begin practicing this, and you could do this now is like pick a closet, pick a drawer, pick your office and just letting go of things that do not serve your intention, things that you do not use, or that you do not find beautiful. As Cheryl Richardson so beautifully has put it so many times, if it’s not an absolute yes, it’s a no. And that’s a great thing to say.

And another way that I encourage my clients to look at this, is to ask yourself, would I pay money for this Now? One of the best coaching moments I had was one of my coaches when I was in a, in a mastermind that met at MIT for three years, it was a big program called the Entrepreneurial Masters Program. One of the things they have you do when you’re looking at your team, and this is for those of you who have bigger teams, is to say when you’re struggling with somebody in your, like, in that, you know, back and forth process of a need to fire them, but I can’t fire them and they aren’t doing their job anymore is to say, would you hire this person now? And almost always a hundred percent, actually a hundred percent of the time people who are in that position would say no. And so with if with an item, you can say what I pay money for this now. And if the answer is no, it’s a, it’s a key indicator that you can let it go. Now, I know a lot of you are holding onto things for nostalgic reasons, and it’s not necessarily about the money you paid for it, but we hold onto things because we feel guilty because it was somebody, you know, someone in our family, they had it and we should love them enough to keep their stuff.

And, and, oh, someone gave me this thing and I would be a horrible person If I let it, like all of this trash talk in our heads and we keep this energy, this patterning around us. And I, it, it makes me think of when I saw Natalie Goldberg, she, the author, Natalie Goldberg, she came to Asheville at one point and did a talk at Malaprops Bookstore, shout out to Malaprops. And she talked about how she, at one point in her, her Zen Buddhist training, she burned all of her old journals. Like she literally let that identity of her past self go. And it was her own process, but she let them all go. She let her past go. And I remember being blown away by such a bold move, but it’s literally saying, who is this anyway, why do I need this around? Why do I need things around that point to this old identity? And I think, I’m not saying burn your journals. I’m not saying do anything. This is your relationship with you, but it’s really good to look at these patterns in these, these things that keep you holding on and clinging and creating these barnacles that you drag with yourself to remind yourself of either who you were, how bad are and it’s things we cling to. Whether it’s things that are emotions, things that are beliefs about ourselves, things that are, oh, my, you know, old aunt Edna will look back from heaven and hate me for not holding onto the sweaters she made for me 25 years ago. Like all of that stuff, it’s just games we play. And we think it makes us a nice person or a real person or a true person. And the truth is that any time you cling to anything that needs to be released, you are sending or giving or draining more energy into the past and into emotions and fears than you are into your intention or even into who you are right now and who you are becoming.

And this is of course true for business, but it’s also true across our lives, everything. And I have often noticed that the people who still have the most emotion, holding them back and holding them down on the shame and that sort of thing tend to be people who refuse to let go of anything cause they tell so many stories about who they are, if they were to let that thing go.

And the last thing I’m going to leave you with, and this is what I said to a client recently, who is moving and letting go of things and going through this process. And she asked me about that, the moment in my book, where I talk about my, my basement story, and I’m not going to go into the basement story. If you want to get my book, you can go read it. But the key thing I said to her to ask yourself is when you’re looking at an item and then you consider your intention, you just want to simply say, does this item, this thing align with my intention. And I’m going to sort of unpack that a little bit because I look at intention a lot differently than most people teach intention.

I look at intention as not just words we say. So if you really let yourself explore an intention that you’ve set, whether it’s a number in your business, a number of clients, or some level of success, or the, I don’t know, some physical thing that you want to reach or, or have in your life. If you look at that deeply, most likely, you’re going to find that there is a sense or a feeling, some kind of sensation or feeling that accompanies the vision that you have for your business and how you want it to function and feel and be. It’s not just words, it’s not just a number, but there is some kind of sensation, some kind of feeling, and most likely, it’s a bit of a stretch. It’s not a feeling or a sensation that you’ve known regularly for long stretches of time. And what that means is that it’s very easy to just default to the feelings and sensations that you’re used to experiencing. And what that means is that it requires that you create some intentional space to really align with the intention that you have set to the business or success that you are creating, because most likely it’s unfamiliar territory. And when you align with that, like really truly aligned with that, more often than not, you’re going to see the disparity between this thing that you are holding on to out of guilt or punishment or some other emotional fixation and the freedom of just releasing it, of who you truly know yourself to be without all that stuff that cleans to it.

So like the, you know, I go through that with my, with the office space. And, and when I see, like, let’s say some, some tool that I created in 2013 and we’d held it onto it, the printout version, and even though we have a digital version, I’m like, oh, we could use that some day. You know, all those little, oh, that energy is this little clingy clamoring, Oh, I was so great back then or, oh, I was so this, oh, no one ever used this or whatever it is. Those are stories in who I am becoming. Like, if you really look at what’s happening here, it’s something that I’ve intended for a long time. And there is passive income that I’ve created by purchasing this space. And I’m moving into this ability to live with so much freedom. And I still want these old barnacles of these old things. I’ve created an oh there So, and I can just let them go and take them to recycling and that’s fine. You know, that’s how it is. And there’s just a real difference of energies of these, you know, the intention versus the fixation and all of that is because underneath the noise of the mind and the ego and the cleaning and clutching there is almost always, and you can check in with this to see if this is true for you, but there’s almost always a knowing. And that knowing comes from a deeper place than the tumultuous surface of all those emotions, all those fears and those patterns and the paranoia. And many times, that knowing is truly the place of your intention. So the practice is always to access that deeper place and to release and just let go from there.

And I use the word practice intentionally. A lot of times, I was just talking with my coaches about this. Um, we had a coach meeting on my team and one of the things you constantly face, and for those of you who are coaches, consultants, or trainers or anything, or healers, the work, everyone, everyone, who’s your client, always we all have those moments of, we just want it to be done. We want to be fixed. We want it to be, you know, I want to let go of all this discomfort. I don’t want to have these feelings anymore. And this is where the it’s like this growth work is cumulative. And it’s why, you know, people have stayed with me for, as my client for eight years, seven years, five years. It’s because it’s not about like, they might’ve gotten into it for the quick fix of the first year and I’m gonna make billions in that first year, and they realize, oh, this is so much more subtle and so much more beautiful when my, when I just cumulatively continue the practice. And it’s the same thing with letting go. Letting go is a habit. Letting go is a skillset, letting go is a mindset. And it’s something that the more you do it, the more you trust and the more you have faith in your intention, more than in your fixations and pain, the more you realize and see clearly through the noise of the fixations and pain and the noise of the guilt and the shame and all those stupid things we’ve always carried with us and believe to be true.

And so I’m just going to leave you with letting go as a practice. And as we wind down this year and you consider your intentions, step back into your intentions that you set for this year, be with them instead of avoiding them and saying, oh, I didn’t do it or whatever you’re going to tell yourself, ask yourself, well, what, what can I be letting go of now, if I’m going to stay in relationship with this intention, what kinds of things can I let go of? What kinds of practices, habits, what kind of clutter can I let go of? And remembering that clutter is one of the easiest things. What people are no longer serving my intentions and really see it as a spiritual practice, not as some cold hearted thing, it really is truly part of the success that you’re going to be creating in the coming years. For sure. And I’m just going to leave you with that and simply say you guys, thanks for listening. And I will see you on our next episode. Thanks. Y’all.