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Mindful Leadership

What Does it Mean to Live with Non-Attachment?

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The cartoon below pokes fun at one of the most difficult states to achieve.
Thanks to Mary Vachon for sending along the cartoon.

Meditation cartoon

Non-attachment is often misunderstood. It does not mean lack of caring or giving up. In fact, it means you care and trust so deeply that you do not aim to manipulate or control the outcome of a situation or another person.

To live with non-attachment means to try your very best, moment by moment, under the circumstances and that once you have given your best effort, you “let go” of trying to control the outcome. You let things unfold. You “let the score take care of itself” as Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches in NFL history says in his book by the same title.

If you have tried to not be attached to outcomes and have found it difficult, know that it is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. And the higher the stakes the tougher it is. As a leader, it may be difficult to not be attached to the outcome of a project or initiative. But by letting go you let others come into their own and achieve their own results.

Talking to yourself and intellectually convincing yourself to be non-attached is only a small part of the process. The key to non-attachment is equanimity. In fact, if you are equanimous, non-attachment is a natural, effortless outcome.

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