Making It Happen Vs. Letting It Happen

Let GoI’ve had “host a telesummit” on my list of things to do for over a year now. A telesummit is when one person interviews a bunch of other people about a particular topic on a series of phone calls, and everyone involved promotes the event to their people. It’s a great way to build your list of subscribers and offer a lot of insight and points of view in a way that’s free and convenient to listeners. Overall, it’s a win-win for everyone involved, and I am a huge fan of win-wins!

But everytime I looked at that item on my to-do list and went to write it in on my calendar, a big part of me said “Ugh.” It just seemed like so much work. So many details to coordinate. I didn’t want to make all those little details happen. So I blew it off.

Then one day I was on the phone with a colleague. We were just chatting – sharing what we were up to, cool things we wanted to do. I was lying on the floor at the time with my legs resting on the coffee table. I was totally relaxed. So when the idea of the Virtual Chill Tour bubbled up during the course of that call, I was ready to let it happen.

I asked that colleague, Danielle Watson to be a speaker and voila, The Virtual Chill Tour was born. I set my intention right then to be chill about the whole planning and it has been so simple. Speakers lined up effortlessly. My virtual assistant took care of those details like she’d been doing them all her life, even though this was her first telesummit too.

And now we’re half-way in to the Virtual Chill Tour, hundreds of women are signed up, and the conversations I’m having with my guests are generating a ton of great information on how being chill is actually a recipe for effortless productivity. (Have you signed up yet? There are still four calls to go – plenty of goodness there for the taking!)

The evolution of the Virtual Chill Tour is a perfect example of Letting Something Happen versus trying to Make Something Happen.

We live in a make it happen world. Heck, the American dream is all about making it happen: figure out what you want, then work like a dog ‘til you get it, letting nothing get in your way.

The problem with making it happen is that it’s exhausting. And it’s so focused on one particular result – nice car, nice house, steady job – that it’s too tempting to make unsustainable sacrifices – paying too much for that house, or working so many hours that your health and relationships suffer – to get it.

But what’s the alternative? Being lazy, unproductive, and reliant on handouts?

Well I suppose that’s an option. But not one I believe people truly want to make in their heart of hearts – it’s just that making it happen can seem so danged unappealing, and what else is there?

Letting it happen is the middle path between going balls-out and doing nothing at all. You may hear “let it happen” and hear “be lazy, unproductive, and reliant on handouts,” but they are two wholly different animals.

Making it happen:

  • Controlling
  • Nagging
  • Being hyper-vigilant
  • Second-guessing yourself
  • Spending lots of time on research, polling friends, trying to scheme the one right or best way to get what you want

Letting it happen:

  • Giving yourself time to be quiet so you can hear what’s true for you
  • Releasing the need to label things as “good” and “bad”
  • Saying yes to offers of help
  • Delegating
  • Knowing instinctively when to push on something and when to take a step back
  • Trusting that problems aren’t really problems, they are highway signs pointing you in a better direction
  • Consistently taking action that reflects your true feelings, not necessarily some external prescription for how things should get done

When you let things happen, you are paying calm attention (“calm” being the key word in that sentence fragment), so that when someone shows up from out of the blue and offers to help, you can say yes. So that when pains in the butt happen, you can see the solutions that are just sitting there waiting for you to notice them, instead of being so busy strategizing in your own head that you miss the clues that always, always show up.

A crucial piece of letting it happen is releasing any specifics – that one particular car, job, lover, or date. Instead, keep your eyes fixed on the feeling you’re going for, keep taking the small steps that lead toward that feeling.

For example, you might wake up in the morning and think, what’s one thing I can do to work toward financial security today? Or create a job where I’m excited to start work in the morning? As opposed to, “ Where can I get $5,000?” Or, “How can I get that one particular job I know is open?”

What do you want and need to let happen?

P.S. If you are feeling trapped in “make it happen” mode, I can help! Email me and let’s find a time to chat in a free sample coaching session. It’s all support, no strings. J

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3 thoughts on “Making It Happen Vs. Letting It Happen

  1. I love this topic, as it applies to almost all of us. I felt compelled to add some thoughts from my own experience. I lived the whole “make it happen” style of life until 2008. I was actually quite successful at it (dream house, dream job, family, dog, beautiful community, lots of money, etc.) But I was not happy at the completion because my making it happen mentality caused me to miss many opportunities that would have cultivated REAL happiness. Real happiness is based on whether I feel good about myself, which is based on how well I listen to my conscience/inner spiritual guidance. My wife (now ex) and I put more priority on our American dream than we did on our relationship. I went hugely into debt (leaving me trapped and polluting my previously care free work attitude). I missed many chances of random acts of kindness, because I was wearing “make it happen” blinders. 🙂

    After reassessing my life, I realized I needed to make many changes. I had a strong desire and a strong goal, but what has been different, is HOW I have gone about it. Relationships take first priority. I always stay within my financial means. Any chance for random acts of kindness, always deserve my attention, even if it pushes my “finish date” back. My biggest goal has been to change my career. After 5 years, my limits have been pushed. But now that things are finally maturing, I have a healthy mind and happy heart. I feel that I have earned this accomplishment, and it has not been at the cost of anyone else. In fact, working towards my goal has had an uplifting effect on many other people.
    The big difference between making it happen versus letting happen for me, is maintaining spiritual integrity 100%, or the goal needs reconsidering. <3

  2. I just want to say that these are great tips for letting it happen. I am a planner, and its very hard to just let things happen. It is very upsetting when you plan and then it gets a curve ball…lol need to work more on the letting it happen.. sounds a lot less stressful 🙂

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