#77 How to be Free From Attachment

free from attachment

Would you love to build your career without riding the associated emotional roller coaster? Just so you know… it is very possible to have a thriving career while being free from attachment!

I. The Set-up

Question for you: Why does it feel amazing to get that new job offer, raise or award?

Seems kind of obvious, but let’s break it down anyway:

  1. work toward an outcome or expectation
  2. experience some failures and some success along the way
  3. personally grow and evolve as a result of your experiences
  4. reach desired outcome or expectation
  5. give credit to the desired outcome (step 4) for your joy or happiness

This general process also applies when we work toward a desired outcome and do NOT meet the expectation. Obviously, in that case, most of us would look to the outcome and become devastated, disappointed or worse.

What is the common denominator in these 2 scenarios?

In both cases, we have set ourselves up. What we’ve done here is we put ourselves in a position to emotionally rely on desired outcomes or expectations. This is an emotional set-up… or as I call it, attachment.

Attachment is when we rely on desired outcomes or expectations to come to fruition. The way it works is when we are attached, our emotional state follows suit: when an expectation is met, all is great! When an expectation is not met, we become unhappy or frustrated.

This is important to know about attachment: emotional reliance on outcomes or expectations, aka (attachment), can set us up to be miserable. Ideally, we want to put ourselves in a state that is free from attachment.

II. Another Path

“But it seems logical to be happy when things go our way … isn’t that what we’ve been taught?” you might ask. 

Of course it feels logical! We’re taught to expect rewards in return for all out hard work. You’re not doing anything wrong; you’re simply doing as you were taught.

It doesn’t take rocket science to understand how attachment can be detrimental to your wellbeing. The great news is that your emotional state does NOT have to depend on outcomes determined by others.

If in fact attachment can be detrimental to your wellbeing, are you willing to challenge it? I’d love to help you! Just a word of caution – I will introduce you to a new perspective that might seem awkward or foreign. You might feel resistance at first. Completely normal!

However, if you can keep an open mind and picture this, it is a great way to start: what if you did not have to rely on outcomes to feel good or worthy, etc.? What if your emotional state could remain secure, despite any outcome?

You might naturally wonder, “but how the heck am I supposed to be happy when I didn’t get that promotion, the job offer, or the award I worked so hard for?”

Excellent question!

And my answer is: detachment. Again, this idea might seem foreign to you. But if you are willing to learn the skill of detachment, it will free you up to live a life of freedom!

III. Give Credit Where Credit is Due

In section I above, I explained that the traditional attachment process we’ve been taught has us beholden to outcomes… reliant on certain expectations to create our wellbeing.

Detachment, on the other hand, involves shifting the traditional attachment process. Instead of attaching your emotions to the outcome that did or did not go your way, attach your emotions to:

  • internal efforts (and all failures/successes)
  • new experiences
  • networks that you created along the way
  • newfound knowledge/continuous learning
  • internal motivation 
  • unexpected self-discoveries, both good and bad

Practice giving credit to yourself starting with the 6 bullets listed above. This will help you become free from attachment! And the more you learn to detach, the more your external outcomes seem insignificant. Thus, you will get off that emotional roller coaster by becoming emotionally secure and unattached to external outcomes.

Let us revisit the attachment process outlined in Section I with a significant change in step 5:

  1. work toward an outcome or expectation
  2. experience some failures and some success along the way
  3. personally grow and evolve as a result of your experiences
  4. reach desired outcome or expectation
  5. assign credit to #1, 2 & 3 for your joy or happiness

Realize that it is perfectly fine to be happy or ecstatic when an outcome works in your favor. But be extremely careful to give the substantial credit where credit it due: celebrate the process you went through to reach a higher level of your being.

Recognize that your internal growth and personal discovery offer intrinsic reward; this is the path to autonomy!


If you enjoy this content, I invite you to follow me on LinkedIn and ask me about free strategy sessions for your career!