When willpower isn’t enough

Posted by on May 24, 2016 in Achieving Goals | 1 comment

Have you ever set a goal you didn’t achieve? Maybe you didn’t get a job you really wanted, or didn’t make a sale you were certain you would close. Perhaps you failed to hit your exercise or weight loss goal.

Yeah, me too.

Here’s one thing I’ve learned. Willpower isn’t enough- ever.

I’m not in control. In fact, I’m powerless over people, situations, and outcomes.

I hate that.

I want to believe that I can do anything I set my mind to…. only, I can’t.

Even worse, when I attempt to force an outcome, I tend to make myself miserable. Basically I end up a miserable failure.

But I’ve learned in my life and my career that I am more successful in all that I do when I stop trying to get my way.

To be truly successful in life, I have to take action and let go of the result.

I experienced this recently when I realized I wasn’t going to meet my business goals. I thought about giving up. I gave myself permission to give up. I decided it was okay if my business failed completely, and I continued to move forward in my business, taking action every day.

As soon as I let go of the outcome, as soon as I stopped focusing on getting a specific result, I noticed I actually made greater progress on my business goals. I got 9 referrals in one week, I had 3 sales calls, and I signed a new client.

Once I was no longer trying to force the outcome, I allowed success to happen.

I had coffee with a friend who was stuck in her business and told her how I had let go of the results in my business. She decided to give it a try and she let go, too. Within days she got $30,000 from an investor.

When we try to force solutions, we become irritable and frustrated. When we try to willpower our way through, we close our minds to alternate paths to success. When we focus on getting the outcome we want, we set ourselves up to fail. When we let go, we allow success to happen naturally.

let go to success
How to let go to success

Get clear

Focus on what you want to create, not what you want to get. What is it you really desire? Know why your goal is important to you.

Make progress

Take small, consistent actions that make progress on your goals. Celebrate your progress.

Be curious

Remain curious about the process of achieving your goals. What are some of the different outcomes that might result in what you want? What might you do differently to get there?

Let go

Let go of your assumptions and judgments about your goals. Let go of your fear of failure. Let go of your attachment to the outcome.

Have fun

Enjoy each step as much as you can. Don’t focus so intently on your end goal that you forget to enjoy this day. Have fun with the process!


Don’t be afraid to fail. Chances are you will fail, and it will be part of your success.


Keep making progress. Learn from your failures. Adjust your goals as necessary. Let go of the outcome. Pretty soon, you will succeed.

What goal are you holding onto that’s keeping you stuck? What outcome can you let go today? Tell me about it! Share your experience in the comments below.

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