Charles Starrett

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Culture consultant & social tech teacher/facilitator at SoulCo & Northeastern University. He/Him. Dad, Harvard and NEC alum, visual thinker, dabbler in ukulele, electronic music, 한국어, and TTRPGs.

Daring to let people down

It’s easy to shut down a project or business, or to end a relationship when everyone agrees that things aren’t going well. When it’s draining everyone’s resources without enough benefit.

It’s more difficult when some people are benefitting, but you aren’t.

Maybe it’s taking up too much time or emotional labor. Maybe you’ve learned everything you can and now you’re just going through the motions. Or maybe something new is knocking at your door and the only way to let something new come in to your work and life is to let go of the old.

But when you know that your letting go is going to let people down, it can feel like you’re stealing, or even causing harm. This is a very uncomfortable feeling, and we need to have the courage to feel it so we can let go of things that no longer serve us, even when they appear to be still serving other people.

The alternative is to deny ourselves and refuse new possibilities. This path leads to the same end as letting go of the project, the business, or the relationship, but it will take much longer and be much more painful in the long run.

So the question is: do you have the courage to endure the discomfort of letting people down now with gratitude for the past and excitement for a possible future, or will you hang on through a long, slow decline into resentment and apathy?

11 May 2022

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