Mastering Presence

with Diana Chapman

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Letting go of obligation

Diana Chapman

Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author

Lessons Learned

The moment you believe you don’t have a choice, you are thrown onto the drama triangle.

Ask: what do you want to do? What would most serve you and others around you?

What would it look like to collaborate from no “should’s” or “have-to’s” ?


Lesson: Mastering Presence with Diana Chapman

Step #5 Should: Letting go of obligation

One of the things that I personally have really spent a lot of time with, is making sure that I am living an obligation-free life. So the moment you believe "I have to," "I should," "I don't have a choice," that throws you into the Drama Triangle, and below the line.

A lot of people spend a lot of time in obligation, especially as we are coming to, right now, the holiday time. A lot of people think "I have to do this"; "This is the right thing to do"; "As a parent I should provide these quality experiences for my children"; "I have to see my family"; "They gave me gifts; I should give gifts." Instead of asking, from a conscious place, "What do I want to do? What would most serve me, serve those around me? How can I create an experience that really feels pleasurable to myself and others, that brings me a lot of aliveness, and that creates a win for all?

So for example, many years ago, I stopped wanting to put a Christmas tree up. I just didn't want to use my creative energy to put the tree up and down and all the cleanup with it, and so I said "I'm not willing to do that, but if for you, you want a tree, I'm willing to create a win for all." So my kids still want their tree. They weren't in as interested in whether the tree was big or small, so they got themselves a small tree and they took responsibility for putting up and down that tree each year. I got to win by, it wasn't mine. They got to win by having it. And after several years of them doing it, they decided they didn't want to put the tree up either. So now, we don't have a tree, and it's just by choice. It's not good or bad or right or wrong. But the moment you put a judgment on something and you're right about it, there you are below the line, and you're going to find some form of suffering that will happen from that place.

At Conscious Leadership Group, we're big advocates of, "What would it look like for all of you to collaborate with each other, from no shoulds and have-to's?" And this is challenging when you go, "But wait a minute, it's my job description. I have to do this. I don't really want to do this." We would say, "Well, you have choices about it: first of all, to recognize that I can go and have a conversation with whoever I'm reporting to, and say this is an aspect of my job that I really don't like, and I want to see is there a way in which I could shift this over to somebody else and change, and do some work for them? Are there other options here?"

Sometimes in startups, those things don't seem as easy to handle in the moment because we all just have to hunker down in the beginning. So to remember, I don't have to do this, though. I could leave and do something else.

As long as I know I'm in choice, I choose to do this part of the role that is not my favorite part knowing I don't have to. That changes the context, so you're going to find my breath opens up here. I'm at a different place. I don't have to like it, necessarily, but I'm not suffering here because I'm always free to choose. It's a very different mindset from, "I got to do this. This isn't what I want. I can't leave this job though, because I can't get another job right now, and my wife's got a baby on the way.” There's that mindset that then gets people into this place of suffering.

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