Our theme this month at COR is letting go and the death of our ego self. One of our Leadership Development Training graduates, Leah, shares her experience of how letting go of old stories of herself allowed her to step into a bigger version of who she is.
It used to bother me when people said that if you want something new in your life you have to “make space for it.” I believed that if I wanted something, I could just figure out how to get it and make it happen. Having space for it seemed irrelevant.
Then, a few years ago, I found myself feeling dissatisfied and stuck in my life. I was unhappy in my job but didn’t know what I wanted to do instead. And I was too afraid to let anything go without knowing what would replace it. For the first time, I couldn’t rely on the “just figure it out and make it happen strategy.”
Eventually, I realized that I had developed such a tight grip on my life that it was keeping me from knowing what I wanted, from stretching and expanding, or even imagining, the bigger version of me I knew I could be. I realized that I had to let go of that grip, and the safety of certainty, in order to allow for a new vision. As much as I hated to admit it, I had to actually “make space for it.”
So, first I purged my house. Then, over six months, I purged my life, clearing out what made me feel tied down and constricted. I put my stuff in storage, packed some suitcases, rented out my house and car, and quit my stable job. And just like that, I was free of all of the things that had tied me down and governed my life. It felt so good, but I also suddenly felt naked without any of the labels that had defined me and my life for so long.
And then I started the Leadership Development Training. During the first module, I got to know my internal labels—the stories I had told about myself that I thought were facts of my personality, about the kind of person I am, what I can and can’t do in the world, where I do and don’t belong, and who I have to be. I got to see that these were not facts but stories I had created and held on to tightly, in order to keep me safe, small, and secure in my little fortress of self-sufficiency and control.
I realized I could choose to keep believing and living out those stories or to let them go, much like I let go of all of the external pieces of my life that were holding me back. I wanted out of that fortress, so I chose to let the stories go too, to clear space for new stories about who I am and what I’m capable of.
I then saw that between me and who I was capable of being was a window covered in layers of dirt. During Module 1, I got to know each layer of that dirt, wipe it off, and let it go until I could see through the window clearly to what was possible for me. I finally had the space and freedom to turn towards this bigger version of me I had been looking for.
The rest of the LDT course, along with traveling around the world for the year, helped me keep that window clean, even as the dirt kept coming back (because it always does) so that I could keep the bigger version of me in sight. My LDT tribe’s belief in me and my ability to be so untethered and undefined allowed me to embrace that way of being even more fully. I stepped into roles way beyond what those old stories told me were possible and it felt great… unfamiliar and uncomfortable, but so liberating.
A few months ago, a year after I started this epic let-go process, I came back to staff Module 1 for this year’s LDT. As staff, I didn’t just see my true self through the now clear window, but I saw the window dissolve as I stepped into the version of me I had been eyeing from the other side for so long.
At the time it felt so easy, but I know that was only because of all of the letting go I had already done—of the material pieces of my life that held me back and the stories that took up so much space in my understanding of myself that there wasn’t room for any others.
Now I’m a believer in needing to create space in order to allow for newness and growth and in the power of loosening the grip and letting go.
What bigger version of yourself are you ready to step into and what would you have to let go of in order to do so? We’d love to hear your insights, breakthroughs, and challenges on our FB page!
Leah and the COR Team