Combining flexibility with commitment

Another type of mistaken thinking or “mis-blink” people often fall into during times of change is called “attachment to outcome.”

As leaders we are naturally focused on results and a strong emotional attachment to those results can help us achieve them. But in times of change no outcome is ever guaranteed. In these cases, strong emotional attachment to goals we fail to meet is likely to bring about feelings of failure, low morale, and difficulty in moving on.

To avoid this it becomes useful to learn how to hold on to the absolute intention of achieving the desired outcome while letting go of our emotional attachment to whether we achieve it or not.

The way we do this is by focusing on the bigger picture: our purpose. If we know the purpose of what we are doing and fail to meet a particular goal it then becomes easier to look for new ways of achieving the same purpose. (New ways that fit better with the way a volatile, uncertain world happens to have turned out.)

With this attitude there is no such thing as failure. With this attitude we become like Thomas Edison, who said:

“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

and then moved on easily to his next priority.

In times of churning, knowing our purpose helps us to let go of our emotional attachment to outcomes, and brings us flexibility to respond to events while retaining absolute commitment to move forward in line with a particular direction.

Adapted from Inner LeadershipBuy the book 

Photo By Horia Varlan via

Leave a Reply