Desperately wanting, or needing a specific outcome in any given circumstance--to the point of stressing out about it--is harmful to your health and happiness. Literally. Stress headaches, anxiety, upset stomach, and shortness of breath are all symptoms of becoming overly attached to an idea or specific outcome. To be overly attached to your definition of success, the purchase of a new house or car, and especially to someone else's actions, will keep you trapped in fear and a continuous state of unhealthy desire and lack.
People who can successfully detach from the outcome will not be affected or daunted by obstacles or failures; they always bounce back and try again. Those who are overly focused on getting exactly what they want and how they want it to happen fall into patterns of self-pity and concern about failure and missed opportunities. The person who manages healthy detachment is always innovating and moving forward. A state of healthy detachment helps to redefine failure and shifts the focus to positive, solution-based thinking.
Becoming overly attached gives away your power.
Last week I purchased a fabulous new car. Most of us see this process as a frustrating and stressful ordeal. I made a conscious decision to have a positive purchasing experience with an outcome that was exactly right for everyone concerned. I did not, however, define the outcome. Instead, I conditioned myself to become completely detached from it. Please don't confuse detachment with giving up or not caring, this is very different. This is about acceptance, gratitude, and creating a positive reality for yourself. It's not at all that I didn't care whether I got this new car, I simply knew that if I allowed emotion to lead the negotiation, I would not get what I wanted.
So, I asked myself, what is the worst-case scenario? Simple. I wouldn't get the car and I'd remain in my current vehicle for a while longer. I loved my car but its mileage was adding up. Yet there were many benefits to keeping an SUV-sized vehicle rather than going to a sedan. And who doesn't like being payment free? Either way, I told myself, I win. As a result, I negotiated the price down by two-thirds. Yes, you read that right. In the end, everyone was happy: The dealership made a sale and I drove away in a fabulous new car--all because I remained detached from the outcome.
Detachment allows you to make positive choices.
For an entrepreneur to become overly attached to the idea of success, to the point of living in constant stress and pressure, puts an intangible in control of your life. What is success really? Success in and of itself is not concrete.
As I speak with entrepreneurs and coach my clients, I find that those who define success in terms of large amounts of money, power, and the need to prove something are those who live in fear and angst. Again, I am not suggesting that you shouldn't care; I am suggesting that you re-assess your current situation and realize the upside of your existing circumstances. When you live in appreciation for what you have, you are in better control of your future.
Attachment drains your energy.
I have found that when people form a strong attachment to an outcome, they see it in one way only. They don't consider that things may turn out differently than they'd imagined but still offer a positive outcome. These people become drained and exhausted. Imagine the energy that goes into worrying about exactly what you believe you want being funneled into something more empowering and productive. Do you worry to the extent of nearly constant preoccupation? That's an energy suck. Assess the positive attributes of what you already have, instead of what you so desperately want, and you will certainly see an uptick in your creativity, energy, and results.
Here's how to know if you are overly attached.
Pay close attention to how you feel, both emotionally and physically. Keeping a stranglehold on an outcome is disempowering. You will feel tired, anxious, perhaps hopeless and frustrated, sometimes angry. Just pay attention to what your body and mood are telling you. Feeling out of whack, achy, even ill, are all signs that you are holding on too tight. Conversely, a positive focus on the now, and a healthy vision of your future will feel empowering, energizing, and hopeful.
All in all, attachment begets panic, fear, and disempowerment. Moving from this state of struggle and resistance will allow you to detach in a healthy way. Detachment offers peace of mind, greater happiness, confidence, and empowerment.