Entrepreneurs often confuse focus with attachment. One of the common pitfalls for entrepreneurs is getting attached to a particular outcome rather than letting the universe unfold as it will. When you become attached to something, the energy stops flowing.
I see this all the time working with my clients. They get attached to a particular outcome that has to look and be a certain way rather than letting it unfold as the universe intends it to. This can be a huge roadblock because you’re being a stubborn bull. It’s your way or the highway. Not only does that leave you frustrated and stuck, it leaves the people working with you and for you stuck. You close yourself from anyone else’s perspective and only see one road leading you to the finish line.
Letting go doesn’t mean losing control
I think what most people fear is that if they let go they’ll feel lost and uncertain about what to do next. But that’s never the case. You will always have your purpose, values, and what’s important to guide you in the right direction. You can stay focused and intentional, but you keep open the possibilities.
If you get too attached to a specific outcome, you’ll often miss great opportunities appearing in front of you. Or if your expectations are too high, you might feel let down in the end – even if the outcome is amazing. In fact, by holding specific expectations about an event in life rather than staying open and aware of the good that life creates, you become frustrated and stuck.
Being attached to our expectations: Losing perspective in Starbucks
A perfect example of this is my recent experience at a Hungarian Starbucks. As a professed coffee addict, I knew the drill. I went up to the counter to order my grande café latte (my drug of choice – two raw sugars, please) and waited patiently to pick it up. Well, Starbucks is a somewhat recent phenomenon in Budapest and this one had just opened. But still I expected it to be the same experience I’d always had in the States.
Standing in line in front of me that morning was an older, obviously confused Hungarian woman trying to order. She and the barista got into a heated discussion. I don’t speak a lick of Hungarian, so couldn’t quite figure out the issue. But the woman eventually left, looking upset and confused about what was probably a standard Starbucks-issue cappuccino (much larger than a typical European shot-sized cappuccino).
When I ordered my coffee just like my zillions of other Starbucks orders, I definitely saw the sense of relief on the barista’s face. He saw that I knew what to do in this place. He then asked for my name – Drew. Uh oh. “What?” he asked. The name “Drew” was nowhere in his experience and he was perplexed trying to figure it out. Not only that, but the confused Hungarian woman returned to the counter to continue ranting. That’s when things got interesting. The whole staff came scurrying to see what the problem was and the barista seemed to be having a mental meltdown.
At that point, I stepped out of the way until they worked it all out. But I knew this wasn’t how it was supposed to work! You order your drink, they take your money, and then you proceed to pick it up at the counter. Didn’t these Hungarians get the memo? Eventually, the eager barista, who was not so eager anymore, was so flustered that he didn’t even look up to hand me the receipt. This was definitely not the Starbucks experience that I know and love.
But here’s the problem. Everyone in this situation was attached to their expectations. The older Hungarian woman was so fixated on what she expected she couldn’t simply enjoy the coffee without disrupting the rest of the service. The barista and the rest of the Starbucks team were so attached to trying to please this one woman that the awesome customer service that Starbucks is known for got tossed out the window.
And I recognized that my own attachment issues were alive and kicking. I know exactly how I like my coffee and have been a dedicated Starbucks customer for what seems like forever. Just like that old Hungarian woman who wanted her traditional cappuccino, I wanted my grande café latte without any drama.
By being so attached to how it was usually served, I completely forgot about my commitment to always being great with people in any given situation.
When you get fixated on a specific result, you lose sight of your most important commitments
If you focus on your purpose and commitments, the correct and perfect results will appear. But if you focus on specific results, your original purpose and commitments tend to get lost.
What we need to do as entrepreneurs is to show up, give it 100%, play the game fully, and accept what we get.
When we are attached, we show up but we are not really giving it 100%. We’re wearing the blinders that our expectations created and we are not seeing the whole perspective.