Learning Lessons of Letting Go From the Puppy

Sometimes we have a problem letting go. When we do it can be a gentle journey or a big old smack in the forehead.

I have a client who works exclusively with government agencies but he is wanting to transition to the corporate world. We are working through transitioning not only his resume but also his mindset. He’s been in government work for a very long time and is having a hard time letting go of the comfort in explaining things in “government” speak. We’re getting there. It is a delicate process; I have to be very gentle yet firm in keeping him to task and easing him into a different mindset. It takes a lot of patience and reassurance but in time it will net great results for him.

Last weekend I was working in the garage and apparently my dogs got bored in the house. When I came in for the night I found that the puppy had knocked over and destroyed something of great value to me. I had a glass container filled with the flowers from my arrangement for my dad that was on his casket. It has been 15 years since my dad passed away. I froze with tears in my eyes and a sunken feeling in my stomach and there stood my puppy wagging his tail, ears propped up and goofy puppy-face standing over the shattered remnants. Hard to get mad at goofy puppy-face. I think he does it on purpose. Oh yeah, and the little one standing behind him as if saying, “He did it, I’m innocent here!”

I realized that the arrangement wasn’t my father, it wasn’t what held my father to me; it was a bunch of dead flowers. My puppy forced me to let it go, my dad wasn’t there – he is in my heart, not a glass bowl.

I wonder if I was holding on to that bowl because it was something physical, or because I thought I needed to or had to as a “good daughter”; whatever reason it does not matter. I think sometimes we hold on to things, big or small, because we feel we should or it is expected. Well, guess what: that is just silly. If you don’t want to hold on then for crying out loud don’t!

Sometimes we mourn the loss of something whether it is a job loss or breakup because we feel we should. We tell ourselves that it held value, it was an important relationship, we should feel sad. But deep, deep down we are really relieved that it is over or that we are no longer employed at the company, we just don’t want to admit it because it might “sound bad” or others would not understand how grateful we are that what everyone else thought was a great situation in actuality really sucked, we were just too polite to say so.

So if your job stunk and you are actually relieved to be looking for a new one – celebrate it, be honest and stop worrying about what anyone else thinks! If you are trying to transition into a new industry, embrace where you want to go rather than dragging your present along with you like a ball and chain. One small glass bowl full of dead flowers such a big lesson, and I can thank my dog.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.

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