The Fine Line Between Working Hard and Letting Go

Some of my favorite memories of growing up are building model airplanes with my dad. I remember him showing me how to assemble, sand, and paint them. I think back on how proud I always was when we finished a project together.

Young Boy Building a Model Airplane - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eriktham, Image #18115686

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/eriktham

On one occasion, I remember struggling to get two parts to fit together. I tried several different angles. Nothing seemed to work. I grew increasingly frustrated.

Calmly, my dad said, “Son, don’t force it.” I stopped what I was doing, looked up at him, and instantly knew he was right.

I relaxed, set down the parts, and started working on some other aspect of the project. An hour later, I returned to the obstinate parts and clicked them into place.

Life is often like that, isn’t it?

You do your best, but often you get to the point where you are in danger of breaking something if you press any harder. Then you realize that the best strategy is to let go—at least for a while.

I had an experience like that yesterday.

I have been wanting to interview my friend, Bob Goff, for some time. His new book, Love Does, was just published earlier this month, and is already in Amazon’s top 300 books.

I read the first draft of the manuscript more than a year ago and was blown away. Not only did I want to help my friend, I wanted to share this treasure of a book with my readers. I knew they would love getting to know Bob and his book.

So, Bob and I decided to do the interview via Skype last Saturday. I called him at the appointed time. However, he couldn’t get Skype to work correctly on his computer. I could hear him; I just couldn’t see him.

After twenty minutes of fiddling with it, we gave up and decided to reschedule.

We tried again yesterday. Everything seemed to work fine. I had a fantastic time talking to Bob and hearing more about his adventures with the book. But when we hung up, and I played the video, the audio was badly out of sync.

I worked on it for several hours, trying various solutions I found on Google. Nothing worked. The video looked like a bad foreign film where the actors lips and words wouldn’t align.

I grew increasingly frustrated. I kept thinking, I just need to push a little harder.

Then I remembered my dad’s words. “Son, don’t force it.”

So, I relaxed, set it down, and decided to do something else. It’s just not worth breaking something. Instead, I had to believe that it was not meant to be. At least not for now.

In life, we have to learn there is a fine line between working hard and forcing an outcome that isn’t meant to be.

If we don’t push hard enough, we never experience the breakthroughs that take us to the next level. But if we push too hard, we risk breaking something important—our physical or emotional health or even a relationship. It’s just not worth it. We have to trust.

After all these years, this is a lesson I am still struggling to learn.

Question: Where are you frustrated right now? Is it time to push harder or relax and trust? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://marleeward.com/ Marlee

    Good Morning Michael,

    I love that you’ve shared on this topic today. First, I’m sorry to learn of your technical troubles. I know exactly how that feels, I’ve had my fair share, and sometimes it’s beyond frustrating.

    That said, I can totally attest to the “finding a breakthrough in a breakdown” scenario. And now, when I find that I’m frustrated with something that is not coming to pass in my timing or as I would like it – as you suggest here – I turn it over to that which is bigger than me.

    And what I’ve found – which is the whole breakthrough in a breakdown concept – is that many many times when I wanted something to work, and it didn’t, it was for my own good. It was the breakdown that gave me time to stop and think about things, which often resulted in an improved idea, a better performance, an alternative method, or simply a more opportune time.

    Now, when I feel frustrated (I try not to push instantly). I try to step back, look at things from a different perspective, and trust that if I’m doing my part (in the best way that I can) then all things will work together for good.

    Sometimes it’s easier to say than do, especially in the moment, but it’s something to work towards. :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is easier to say and do, but you are dead-on. It is usually meant for our good. I have always learned and profited when I step back and assess the bigger purpose.

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  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great post, Michael. As a model rocketeer when I was in school, I learned that lesson many times. I usually found if I walked away and came back later, things would often snap in place. Sometimes they required the assistance of someone more skilled than I was. Sometimes, it just wasn’t meant to be.

    Currently, I’m having to learn that lesson with building my platform. There are certain parts that are not snapping in place. Most just need more time, some need more skill, and others require outside assistance.

    They all require patience…

    Unfortunately, I want everything perfect… now.

    I’ve had to learn patience the hard way… it doesn’t come naturally.

    I can remember painting my rockets. I would spend hours gluing, sanding, and assembling them and then go on to paint them. After so many hours, I wanted it done. So I would grab the spray can, and shoot the paint. I would try and paint it in one coat.

    Invariably, the paint would run and ruin all my hard work.

    After a few major failures, I realized I needed MORE patience.

    The secret to a good paint job was to put on a light coat of paint, let it dry, sand it and… repeat. This sometimes took days.

    When I took the time to do it right, the results were amazing.

    If I took short cuts, the results were mediocre… at best.

    When it comes to building my platform, I’m glad I have your new book. I now know what is required… I just need to follow directions and above all…

    Have the patience to do it right…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your kind words, John. This lesson is especially true when building your platform.
      For example, I have had times when I have pushed to build traffic but just can’t move the needle. Then there are times when I just focus on writing, speaking, and delivering value—and my blog traffic takes off again.
      I want to be a hard worker, but I also recognize that there is not always a correlation between hard work and results. Maybe this is why God gave the Israelites the Sabbath. Work hard for six days but rest for one—and just trust.

      • http://twitter.com/MLSchwienD Michele Schwien

        Great line: “I want to be a hard worker, but I also recognize that there is not always a correlation between hard work and results.” Relax and enjoy the process/progression. It all comes in due time.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        For the past couple of months I’ve been working on a book/seminar project called Relevant Light. I’ve had numerous starts and stops along the way and been looking for direction. On Tuesday morning, I had a chance to share the concept in a speech with a group of Rotarians in Temecula. 

        I took them to the end of their lives and painted an emotional scene where their children had to go through their “stuff” and the consequences that resulted. We then journeyed to a stage with two doors… one that would impact their lives, the other the world. As we opened the doors and explored, I could see so many people in the audience come alive.

        It was honestly one of the best responses I’ve ever had to a presentation. Almost everyone in the room came up and talked with me afterward. There was emotion and revelation in the conversations.

        As I debriefed about the speech when I got home, I thought about the book I am writing. Currently I’m working on a non-fiction workbook that would work well for the seminar. But after hearing the responses, I knew I needed something more. I need to put this into a fictional layout in a OgMandino/Andy Andrews fashion. The power of story here is just too strong to do it any other way. 

        Your post today really hit a chord with me.

        I’m glad  Relevant Light didn’t snap in place the first time.

        The second time around will be much more powerful.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          That’s an awesome story, John. You are going to breakthrough with something big. I’ll bet you are closer than you think.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I’m frustrated where some of my relationships are at this time. It feels like I’ve tried and tried but they’re not progressing.

    Thanks for sharing this message today Michael. I think it’s just what I needed to hear. It reinforces the fact that maybe I need to relax a little and let the relationships take their own path.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I have a couple of those too, Joe. It’s frustrating. I’m a get-it-done kind of person. When I take that approach with people, I can be a freight train and do damage. Some relationships need to be treated like crock pots, allowed to sit for a while until the time is right.

      • http://www.theemptyinbox.com/ Michael Hawkins

        Michele – I love the “crock pot” analogy.

        Sometimes when push comes to shove, we need to shove ourselves away from the issue and allow for some breathing room.

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          A crock pot is much better in relationships than a frying pan. :)

  • kccupp

    Great post Michael,
    This is a great tension to live in. Being a type A personality, I often want to force it to get things done, complete and checked off my list. When I do that, the quality is just not always there. Great reminder to “not force it”. Have a blessed day.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Kccupp – I am with you on the Type A personality struggle.  It is tough not to simply push and push.  

  • BarnabyGirls

    Wonderful, wonderful wisdom.  Thank you MH. 

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Glad you enjoyed article. 

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    As the mother of two junior high boys, this idea of slowing down, being patient, and not pushing it hits home. Not only do I see this struggle in my boys, but I still often see it in myself. Yet, when I listen to that voice inside that says “Don’t push it,” I realize it is there to get me focused again. I find that when I’m struggling with a task, it’s either because the timing for that task isn’t right or I need to be focusing somewhere else. It’s the voice of realignment that I have learned to listen to more quickly. Right now, I am that voice for my boys, and I am helping them develop an inner voice of their own.

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      I am quickly understanding your pain with a 6, 3 and 2 year old at home.  If you have any wisdom for those ages, please share …

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        The best advice I ever received with regards to raising my boys: Consistency. Also helps to keep individual personalities, motivations and temperaments in mind. That’s the short version, and not my wisdom, but that given to and welcomed by me.

        • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

          I don’t have teenagers yet, but as a work at home mom with a 9, 7, 3, and 1 year old at home….consistency is the only reason the wheels keep moving somedays.  We’re not always perfect…but it helps a ton.

          • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

            Consistency is the key, so far, with my junior highers too. Not easy… not always perfect… but keeps moving us forward.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      This is so true with kids. When you try to force it (and I have been guilty), you can cause a break in the relationship. It’s really an art, knowing when to push and when to let go.

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        I am so thankful that God made kids to be so forgiving. When that break happens, they are so willing to forget about it and move on. Letting go is one of the hardest things to do as a parent.

  • http://store.shessothere.com/ Sweetie Berry

    First of all, thank you. Daily you provide excellent insights and encouragement to grow.  Model airplanes bring a smile to my heart because so many years ago it was my brothers who patiently helped their younger sister to put together the “we went to the city and bought something amazing” treats. Learning to wait to allow airplane glue to dry before adding paint or stickers was excruciating at times, but what a moment when the entire project was hung by fishing line and the dreams that were dreamed as we laid under them and had imaginary journeys. I find when I walk away, plan to play and take time to find focus in joy in some other area God simply creates a new path that made clear why the project completes later or gives me wisdom to complete it differently or without strain later. I think it comes down to that control feature we all have to fight. I know for me, the compulsion to need to finish at a high price is too often based in fear or pride, not joy, and I am learning to recognize when that is the gear I’ve shifted into…God whispers that this work he has put before me is to be delighted in and when I’m not in joy in that effort it is most likely that I’ve taken it out of the path he laid for it…

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great comment. This inspires me to write an entire post on the lessons I learned while building model airplanes!

  • http://www.eileenknowles.com Eileen

    Oh, I  like this.  My husband is a software engineer.  So often, he’ll be having one of those days when the code he is writing is not working correctly. He will beat his head against the wall and then finally walk away for awhile.  Inevitably, that was all it took.  He will come back, sit down, and see where the problem is.   Sometimes, we just need to walk away for awhile. 

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Great example, Eileen! As a pianist, I’ve had similar experiences. I remember times when I practiced a particular piece again and again, but couldn’t get one section right. Eventually, I’d put it to the side out of frustration. The next day? The notes slipped off my fingers like butter. Almost effortless.

    • Rachel Lance

      Great connection! I’ve been stuck at a troubleshooting impasse many times. And many times I’ve had a solution occur to me out of the blue later in the day. There’s so much to be said for walking away, moving on, finding a bit of success in a different project after being stymied by the frustrating one. This post is a great reminder to be intentional about it.

  • http://www.royhmorgan.com/ Roy

    Michael, these words could not have come at a better time for me.  I am in the first year of a pastorate and at times have been very frustrated that I can’t seem to get the parts to click into place as I know they should.

    Like you and the plane, I try different angles, but can’t get the fit right and want to try harder when the correct answer is to trust.  Often, this is much easier to know and to say than it is to practice and like you, I am still learning.

    Yesterday I had this thought during a conversation with my wife.  We’ve used a saying “we have talked this thing to death” meaning that we have discussed this over and over and keep saying the same things and coming to the same conclusions.  Why not try taking it to God and talking to Him about it.  With Him, we can talk things to life!  He speaks what is not as though it is.

    Thank you for the timely thought.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thank you for this example, Roy. I have been there so many times! I’m glad this was timely. It’s a reminder for me too that sometimes we go through setbacks for the sake of others (see 2 Cor. 1:3–4).

  • http://twitter.com/sparkvoice D

    It never ceases to amaze me how many times I’ve just had to walk away from something and come back to it later.

  • http://twitter.com/DailyWalkInWord Bill Brown

    Perfect timing as usual Michael. I’m struggling with our “want” of moving to Florida and finding the right job that will allow me to accomplish that. I believe in pushing hard to attain the goals I’ve set within the boundries of what God’s will is. I’ve pushed hard on a couple of opportunities now I have to let go and let God decide the right timing. Hard stuff. Thanks for the reminder.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The fact that you are aware of the line is, I think, half the battle.

      • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

        I agree 100%

  • http://twitter.com/calinvalean Calin

    You hit me with this one. I made a lot of mistakes by not letting things go when needed to be. 

    Many years ago, when I wanted to hire a certain person, she gave up to the last moment to the job offering. Because I thought she would be a perfect fit for our company,  after 1 month I met her as she was from another city and sold our company in a very subtle way more like a PR way.  She decided to get the job, but after 6 months she quit. Actually she never had the inner drive to do the job well.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I have been guilty of this to. Sometimes the worst thing that can happen is you get what you want!

  • http://twitter.com/nicktuohy Nicholas Tuohy

    Thanks Michael. This is timely wisdom. The picture of your
    father saying ‘don’t force it’ is one that sticks. Too many times I think we
    lean to the ‘never give up’, ‘persistence pays’, ‘push harder’ and
    ‘breakthrough’ attitudes. But you have helped highlight the balance of being
    able to refocus and ‘retool’ by not forcing things. Thanks again.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It really is a balance, isn’t it? Sometimes we need the “never give up” advice. Other times we need the “don’t force it” advice. I think wisdom is knowing when to employ which.

    • http://www.saracanaday.com Sara Canaday

      Nicholas, 
      I am one who “leans” to the “persistence pays” mentality.  I was conditioned at a very early age to believe that “nothing happens , unless you make it happen” and then subsequently rewarded for constantly pushing harder.  It took years of experience and newly found wisdom to understand that there is sometimes far more to benefit from when “letting go”.  

  • http://www.ninanesdoly.com/ Nina Nesdoly

    Thanks for the post Michael. 

    I just had an extremely similar experience when I started trying to create videos for web posts. The footage just would not play properly in my video editor. I tried reopening clips for an hour, until I got so frustrated I abandoned the pursuit and went for a bike ride. When I came back, I discovered my computer had been chugging away and converting all the files to a new format that played and edited easily.

    This is such an important concept to pay attention to, and sometimes it can be so challenging to know when to work hard and when to let go. It’s something I’ve faced a lot in training. Surprisingly, in a sport, where you would think that working hard would always be the answer, sometimes you really do need to let it go, and come back later. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That’s a great example, Nina. So many time, I find the answer or the solution, in resting rather than pressing. If I could only remember that when I am in the midst of pushinng too hard!

  • AmericanWriter

    Again you nailed it Mr. Hyatt.  Yuperoo.  I call this the “Ishmael Syndrome” when you try to force something, something good and something ‘legal.’  (Cause what you get when you force something is an Ishmael.) Actually when I read this today, it spoke loud and clear, almost as a Samuel Goldwyn scene: Son, don’t force it.  God always has some good reasons for not forcing a promise at a particular time.  That makes for a very good prayer for me: “Father, show me when to press in and when to rest out. My times are yours.”

    [Parenthetically your metaphor is divine: it demonstrates to me that God is everywhere, even in a Revelle fighter model kit.] 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your comment. I love the phrase “Ishmael Syndrome.” I’m totally stealing that. It is such a great biblical example. Another one is when Saul sacrifices because Samuel is late.

      • AmericanWriter

        I think this is the kind of ‘stealing’ that Jesus teaches us about in the gospel, known as the pearl of great price.  You, my friend, have paid the price, and bought the field. We are like Ruth, gathering ‘handfuls of purpose’ in this time of harvest. Ruth 2:16 KJV.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    To me, the most frustrating thing about your scenario would be the feeling that the time was wasted. All the time put into preparing for, creating, and trying to fix the video interview.  That’s when I push, because I don’t want the time to be in vain. But at some point if we don’t let go it just leads to more time wasted.

    I’m sorry about that frustrating experience, but thanks for turning it into a life lesson for all of us. Sometimes that last push can make it click, other times it can break it. To me, wisdom is the faith of believing that God works for the good in all things (not just the good things, but the frustrating things too).  He’s working.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Kelly, the best thing about being a blogger is that you can redeem bad experiences. As my friend Jon Acuff says, “This too shall post.” ;-)

      • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

        Do you ever feel like, as a blogger, you need to read people the rights before a conversation? “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and may be used in a blog post.” Every experience, good or bad, is just another opportunity to learn. :-)

        • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

          Or a “Caution” Tshirt:  You may end up in my blog post.

          • Jennifer Major

            Or in my book!

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

           Hahaha. So true, Kelly!

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          That would make a great blog post! (See, I’m doing it again.)

  • Andrew Mason

    Hey Michael,

    I’m a video editor, and if you still have the footage, I’d be honored to try to resync it for you if you’d be willing to send it my way (Dropbox maybe?). You can reach me at Andy at bayshorecc dot org.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Andrew, thanks so much for your offer. Actually, I am going to re-do it, because I want to make some changes in the lighting as well. However, with your permission, I will keep your name on file in case I need it.

    • Andrew Mason

      Absolutely. Sounds great.

  • http://www.danieldecker.net/ Daniel Decker

    Very true. It’s sometimes hard to practically apply that “It all happens for a reason” mentality since a lot of people view that as just an excuse but I truly believe in it. Power vs Force. I’ve seen over and over again where something just won’t work or works differently than I expected but then later, sometimes years later, it becomes clear why. This often leads to that… but we just can’t see it at the time. : )  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      So true. That’s why I don’t get too upset when things don’t go according to plan. I realize that there is a Greater Plan at work. I like Proverbs 16:9: “A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

  • http://www.ericamcneal.com/ Erica McNeal

    I am looking forward to reading Bob’s book. I bought it the day it was released, but Amazon has been sloooooooow! It still hasn’t shipped. Love your post Mike… a great reminder for many facets of life!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think Thomas Nelson is having a difficult time keeping up with demand!

      • http://www.ericamcneal.com/ Erica McNeal

        That’s a good problem to have! =)

  • Sean Tingley

    Struggling with some personal cash flow right now.  I’m hatching a longer-term plan that includes beefing up my resume and earning more income, but it’s the short term that’s frustrating me.  I’ve been looking for a part-time gig to fill in the gap but I just can’t quite bring myself to work a drive-thru or mini-mart.  Pride?  Maybe.  It’s hurting my brain and draining my creative energy more than anything.  I’m leaning toward letting go and just riding it out while working on the longer-term plan.

    I’m open to suggestions… :)

  • @SabrinajWalters

    I’m up super early this morning because I need to rewrite two presentations for this weekend. For months I have been struggling with how to change it to make it more vulnerable and real, but have been afraid to share my true heart. This morning it is time to do just that, and after I read about your frustration (so vulnerably and honestly shared) it encourages me even more! I can’t wait to hear your interview…in whatever form it comes out because as I read Goff’s new book I am strongly encouraged to believe there is a Master planner for our efforts when we are relaxing in His flow. 

    Thank you for your continual encouragement! 

  • Kurt Bubna

    Letting go is rarely easy…

    Letting go of a child who is no longer a child.

    Letting go of a plan that appears to be flawed.

    Letting go of a craving or desire that is consuming us.

    Letting go of control and the need to be in the driver’s
    seat.

    Letting go of our stubborn determination to make something
    happen.

    Letting go of our fears.

    Letting go of our doubts.

    Yup, letting go can be terribly hard at times.

    Perhaps, however, we need a change of perspective…

    If “letting go” means bailing, quitting, and giving up ~
    then don’t.

    But if it means trusting, believing, waiting for, and hoping
    in the One who loves us more than His own life ~ then do.

    It’s seldom easy, but sometimes the best thing we can do is
    to “be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him” (Psalm 37:7).

    • Cecily Archer

       Thanks for sharing.  It couldn’t have come at a better time.

    • Rachel Lance

      Beautiful comment, Kurt, thanks for adding to the conversation so eloquently.

  • Jeffmalin

    Thank you for sharing this. I desperately needed to hear it!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Me too! Glad it encouraged you, Jeff. 

  • Cory

    Michael,
    Wonderful, wonderful words.  Thank you!  Isn’t that so true about a lot of our life?  I am struggling with a tough decision right now in my own life and am trying not to force it, but need to maintain pressure.  It is a decision concerning my daughter.  I know the right answers, but the route to the destination needs to be done carefully.
    Thank you for sharing so many wonderful thoughts about the gift of life!

  • Cindiet

    Great post this morning Michael as it can apply to every area of our lives. Right now my biggest struggle is in relationships with adult children. I am learning to set better boundaries where I need to …to draw myself closer to God and to pray, watch and wait. I believe His promises and know that my “trying to fix it” will never be the answer.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Letting go of adult children who are struggling is perhaps even harder than the “letting go” we did when they graduated. Pray, watch and wait. Pray, watch and wait. I should put that on a post it. :)

  • http://www.liveyourwhy.net/ Terry Hadaway

    Wisdom is seeing all of life as connected. When we focus on a situation from a singular perspective, we run the risk of missing solutions that come from other perspectives. Though it’s hard to step back from something about which we are passionate, that often is the best course of action. http://wp.me/p2fSH9-1T

  • http://unknownjim.com/ Jim Woods

    Isn’t it amazing how often we like to make mountains out of mole hills? I’m sorry you had technical problems, but don’t let that sour your day when you had an amazing conversation with such a great guy. 

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Great point. Anytime spent with Bob is well worth it, technical difficulties or not.

  • Kim

    Words cannot begin to express what an answer to prayer your blog post was to me today! A true God Appointment!  I am amazed anew every single day at the creative and yet very clear directions God brings to me if I just pay attention. 

    I admit, that some mornings I delete my email from your blog as “I don’t have time.” I am sooo very thankful I opened this and read the message today! I am learning a very painful lesson in life about letting go right now, but I must obey God and let Him do the work that only He can do. I must wait on Him alone. In the mean time, I will be doing the hard work of healing.

    Thank you for your faithfulness!!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m so glad you did too!

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    I’m frustrated because I haven’t made a dime in three years, to a point where the only thing I could think of was to abandon stressful New York City and move back to Europe whence I hail to live with mom again, and that’s where I’m stuck as we speak.

    Having relaxed & trusted and enjoyed free room and board for going on a year now, I’m just as clueless about how to generate an income as ever. 

    Of late, in addition to performing light chores around the house and posting random musings on my blog every now and then, I’ve  essentially been staring at trees and listening to birds sing, waiting for some sort of epiphany to descend upon me. 

    So my personal experience has taught me that (a) pushing hard doesn’t work, and (b) relaxing and trusting doesn’t work either.

    • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

      I would suggest you pick up Chris Guillebeau’s new book, “The $100 Startup.” It has so many stories in it that sound just like yours. You are a very talented writer, you just need to find the right niche.

      • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

        Thanks. Will do, assuming I can afford the book and still have 100 bucks left over for my startup.

        No niche is too small if it’s yours. (Seth Godin)

      • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

         John (and CQ)
        I just heard Chris’s interview on Pat Flynn’s podcast and can’t wait to pick up a copy. Is it good? Did you finish? How does it differ from others in the genre?

        • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

          If you actually want to start a micro business, it’s a great resource. Chris identified 1500 successful businesses earning over $50,000 from a small investment and did a detailed study on 50 intriguing case studies. The one thing most had in common was the loss of a regular job or other hardship. When push came to shove, the magic happened.

          I listened to the audio version, and I’ve gone back over several sections multiple times. It’s a helpful nuts and bolts guide and Chris has provided some free downloads on the companion web site. This book will make a perfect companion to Michael’s “Platform” book, due to be released next week.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            John,
            Now IO HAVE to get it. Thanks for the thoughtful review!

  • http://mauricefoverholt.wordpress.com/ Maurice F. Overholt

    Michael, I do resonate with your comments here. I have been talking with leaders over the past several years about the need to rest and focus on active waiting. We do not make anything happen; we need to be patient and actively look for the doors that open, then we need to act on those open doors.

    Personally, I refer to what I call the Gospel of Patience. It’s just a bit of a fun title I gave it so I remember it, but it really is good news!

  • Margie Myers

    This message was divinely timed for me.  Just over a year ago, I was told by my husband, a church board member and active youth ministry volunteer for over two decades, that he decided he was gay and was leaving me and our two kids, ages 12 and 10.   When all this occurred, I realized that I might have to leave my part-time children’s ministry job I love, ministering to families I’ve invested in for the last 12 years.  But God didn’t say jump.  He said to stay and to trust Him to work it out. So I’ve waited for over a year for our church budget to allow me to keep doing what I know I’m called to do.  Tonight is the annual church budget meeting.  Whether or not I get to keep my house and my job is on the line tonight.  To make things even more intense, I have a financial agreement court date in the divorce process next Wednesday.  So I’ve been feeling insane amounts of pressure and trying to decide if I need to speak with anyone at the church further than what I already have. This morning I was praying fervently while getting ready what I should do.  I kept feeling I should leave it in God’s hands and not push it.  When I arrived at my office, there was my email link to this blog.  “Son, don’t force it.”  I love how God speaks.  And even repeats Himself for our assurance and peace of mind.  Thank you for being God’s voice for me… again… this morning.

    • Jennifer Major

      Oh my. My heart goes out to you, thankfully, God is at the helm.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Margie, I am sorry to hear of how difficult life is for you right now. I am encouraged by your desire to trust.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Margie, God’s got your back in this! I believe it with all my heart. I have no idea what will happen or what your life will look like after the next week, but He will not let you go. We’re with you!

    • http://www.sharonrosegibson.com/ Sharon Rose Gibson

      I went through something very intense like this when my husband left me under different circumstances. It is so not easy and I’m sorry for your pain.  These times are the “refiner’s fire.” At least it was for me, and after several years, with God’s support, I’m coming out on the other side. “With God’s help, I can scale a wall.” Psalm 18. My encouragement to you is to look for the gold, the divine treasures of wisdom and knowledge. In the midst of the anguish, the gold is there and His presence will be there to comfort you.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Margie,
      Many prayers for today and I hope and pray that as reality unfolds that you feel God’s’ presence with you!

  • http://einefeistyberg.wordpress.com/ Cherry Odelberg

    Thank you for the reminder.  Perhaps the secret of success is simply in knowing when to push harder and when to relax.

  • Jesse

    Michael,

    I really appreciate your blog. There have been a couple of times the past month or so that I have read something that affirmed what I felt God was nudging me to do. I truly am thankful that you have shared some of your life’s experiences with us and allowed others to share as well.

    I think there may be a way to get your video to work. We use Sony Vegas software to do post-processing on our church services. There have been times that we have had to adjust the audio to sync with the video and the outcome was very good. There is a free 30 day trial version if you want to see if it will do the job for you. If you are MAC only, you can run it through a virtual machine. One of the guys on our tech team uses it on his MAC. There is also Adobe Premiere, and I am sure that there is a trial version as well that you can try.

    If you use either package, the software will split the audio and video into different pieces. You can then shift the time on the audio as needed. I hope you get your video to work. I am the leader of the tech team at our church and I know the frustrations that come when something doesn’t work.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for this information. I will keep it close at hand.

  • http://twitter.com/jbecker007 Jon Becker

    Michael, I’ve had the same struggles when trying to create a video for church. Like you, I grow increasingly frustrated, and even when I physically “put it down and walk away” for a bit, my mind doesn’t want to let it go.

    I am having the same struggle with building a platform. I struggle to get traction, and I think that if I just push “a little harder,” I will have a breakthrough. Right now, I am trying to “put it down and walk away” until your book comes out next week and I can get a fresh perspective to help me get the pieces to fit together.

    Have a great weekend, Michael, and thank you for pouring into all of us with your platform!

  • E.P.

    This message came at the perfect moment in my life. I have a HUGE interview today that I am very nervous for. My life is in a good place but I was offered an opportunity I had been seeking for years. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I want this opportunity but I am struggling with why it was presented to me and what might happen if I don’t take it.

    Even though I will walk away from this interview knowing what direction I am headed, I am still nervous for either outcome…stay where I am, or move into something different. I know I need to trust in Him and that He knows what is best for me and my family. I pray that no matter what happens, it’s best for my family because that is what matters most.

    For years I was trying to force the opportunity to happen.

  • 48DaysDan

    Mike – I had to laugh reading about your challenges in getting a proper interview with Bob Goff.  Getting Bob to conform to anything “normal” is like catching a greased pig.  That’s why his new book Love Does is so amazing.  It’s encouraging, challenging, and inspiring.  I bought a case of them and gave them to our 48Days.net Advisors and all the guys in my Wednesday morning group.  

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I’m with you, Dan. I have given away 10 copies so far. If Bob were normal, it would be incredibly disappointing. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Good for you. The cool thing is that Bob is giving all his royalties away. Not surprising. He’s one of the most generous people I know.

  • Bobbi

    Hello Michael
    This couldn’t have come at a better time for me!  I’m dealing with this in all aspects of my life – personal, work and finances.  This was a great reminder that sometimes we need to just let go and let God work it out.  I just cancelled a meeting regarding a topic that the team has been struggling to get on the same page with.  While the deadline of next Tuesday is looming over my head, your post today has reminded me that sometimes we all just need to stop forcing things and try again later.  A hard concept for a Type A/Director/Control Freak like myself!  Love your posts!
    Have an awesome day!

  • Lissa Raines

    Great post, Michael! You have hit a topic many of us deal with. When to push and when to let go. We all know the value of persistence despite obstacles. But there are times when we need to step back, rest, regroup and reevaluate and trust. Thanks for the reminder!

    I am sorry your interview didn’t work technically. I’d love to see it. As you wrote about Love Does, I was intrigued and thought, “What a great title!” Another possibility you may want to consider in that situation besides “it wasn’t meant to be” is that we are fighting in a spiritual warfare and Bob Goff had some great things to say that the enemy didn’t want out there changing peoples hearts and lives. I think we need to guard against the worldly philosophy that if it does or doesn’t happen “it was or wasn’t meant to be” respectively.

    There is always a balance, and ultimately we each will have the prayerful responsibility to decide when to let go for the moment, for awhile or completely. As your other posts indicated, you are pressing forward and plan to do another interview. So you let go only for awhile and as you did with your models when you were a kid and returned to complete the project. Thank you!

  • Tina Mollie Fisher

    Michael, I heard you in the interview with Andy Andrews and have since listened to a your podcasts and read some of the blogs and I have been super blessed by them…I’m not just saying that to suck up because I’m publising a children’s book called “Pig’s Big Adventure.” with Westbow Press…it’s a prodigal pig story. :) Today’s message was extremely timely and I appreciate the confirmation sooo much!

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    I love how frustration can be reframed as an illustration, carrying the potential to encourage and inspire a blog-full of readers in the middle of their own frustration. Well done, Michael.

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    Sometimes, when we do let go, things work out better than we had hoped or planned. 

  • http://www.LaurindaOnLeadership.com/ Laurinda Bellinger

    This is a great word Michael! I think Christians do this the most, believing they are not going to let the devil win. Learning to sense the guidance of the Holy Spirit is important. Sometimes it’s a matter of God’s timing. I often struggle with this and I’ve learned to Knock and wait to see if the door is open. I knock a lot, but I’ve stopped trying to kick down the door. 

  • Michellelazurek

    I find that lesson to let it go equally as frustrating. As a type A personality, I tend to push things through in an effort to make the most efficient use of my time. However, sometimes the best use of my time is praying, and waiting for God’s ( and not my) perfect timing to kick in.

  • http://daniellyle.com/ Daniel Lyle

    I do a lot of video editing for my church… If you want I can take a crack at it. I read your blog a lot and I appreciate your ministry in my life. I would love to give something back to you.

  • Mark James

    I’ve learned that sometimes in life “no” means no not now, not never.  And that revisiting comes with right timing.

  • Twade

    Yes, I am struggling with my frustration with my boss. I would like to push her harder to pay more attention to her people and less to the activities that “get her noticed.” But I know that my pushing her is not making her anything but angry with me. It does make me not want to do the activities that would in the end “make her look good.” As long as I am doing my job and helping my students succeed, then I feel justified.

    • Twade

      Wow, I followed a SWE tweet and thought this was a leadership forum. Hope y’all can support same sex marriage anyway, but I am outta here!

  • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com/ Ngina Otiende

    Keeping that balance is the catch, isn’t it? 

    People with good work ethic fear to be (or be seen as) lazy and those with lower work persuasions just don’t like killing themselves over “trivial matters”.Love that lesson you got from your dad. Sometimes we just have to try harder than necessarily for us to finally get that kicking against the bricks hurts. 

    Love this post

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Ngina,
      You describe the tension here perfectly! Well done!

      • http://www.nginaotiende.blogspot.com/ Ngina Otiende

        Thanks Barry :) 

  • nicfergus

    An excellent post Michael!

    For me it couldn’t have been a more timely one either, as today is my last day working full time for my local church as Youth Pastor.

    Coming to the decision to ‘let go’ was a challenging one, and took quite some time to get to for a number of reasons that I can’t afford to go into here.

    Though I’d say that the last few months have given me ample time to work through the heart and mind issues that were raised through this process, you have no idea just how helpful and affirming reading this post has been for me today of all days.

    I’m sure that I’ll continue to journey through this process in the coming weeks and months
    months, and will take time to reflect on all that I’ve learnt, but thanks for a kick start!

    Really appreciate your blog, you’re doing a great work!

    Thanks

    • Jim Martin

      Nicholas, I wish you the very best during this transition period.  So glad this post came in such a timely way for you.  

      Sometimes, letting go can be a huge step toward being able to experience a healthy attachement to a new ministry or job.  

      • http://www.nicholasferguson.org/ Nicholas Ferguson

        Thanks for your encouragement Jim.

        I trust it will work for good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=640075241 Timothy Cross

    Hey Michael!

    I noticed in today’s blog that you were having a hard time linking some audio up to a particular video from skype? (I think I understood that correctly) anyways I would love to help you and be a blessing to you. I am a professional Film Maker Editor and that is something that is right up my ally. I would love to be a blessing to you as you have been such a huge blessing to me. there would be no cost. simply me just wanting to help you.

    let me know! you can contact me at timothyrcross@me.com

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Timothy,
      Thanks for your willingness to serve and generous spirit.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your generous offer, Timothy. We are going to re-shoot it, but I will keep this in mind.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    We really can push things too hard or too far.  This is only made worse when you aren’t aware of pushing to hard or too far.  A “truth-teller” is a key means of gathering the feedback you need to not push too far.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

       Thad, I agree, but I also don’t want to give up too early, right? I am guilty of what Michale talks about because, honestly, I would MUCH rather push too hard than to give up too early… But that has gotten me in all sorts of trouble…

  • http://HowToGodsWay.com/ Dr. Linda Travelute

    I needed to read this today Michael! Thank you for sharing. 

    I can relate to your technical challenges. I have been working night and day on creating an income stream and I am up against some huge deadlines. Everywhere I turn, technical challenges have created walls around me which I have been working hard to break through. 

    I worked 13 hours straight on Mother’s day while my kids and husband hung out together. Stress has been barking at my heels. But today you have reminded me to stop and pause. If Joshua and the Israelites saw walls tumble in one day, then there is hope for us too! Marching for 6 days was their way of putting into action what God told them to do. The 7th day God put an end to their struggle and the walls came down. As we do what we know to do in the natural, I know God will eventually make his move and bring the walls down that challenge us today. Thanks for the reminder to just pause – and trust! 

  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    Mike,

    This is an insightful question. My “go-to” is to push but so often I hear His voice echo in my heart to be still and wait for Him. That tension between doing all we can and depending completely on Him is such a fine line. Thanks for making me think this morning!

  • http://Lbgtmsf.com Ted Werth

    I can certainly relate to that.  Most recently I felt the frustration starting to run away when I couldn’t connect the to the server that I needed to access to add files to. It took me time but I finally am able to recognize the emotional state that warns me, like the bubbles that first appear before a pot boils, that things are going to get ugly.   That is my sign to walk away.

  • Linda

    I think the most difficult thing is knowing where the balance lies.  Pushing through till . . . OR stepping back and waiting till . . .

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep. That’s the challenge … and the adventure!

  • Natalie Cone

    I struggle with this in writing. At 17, I began a novel that filled me with passion and love for the craft of writing. Now, at 29, it still burns stronger than ever. However, that original story idea never seemed to fit. It would never fully form. I set it aside and asked God to allow it to come to me when the time, and my heart was right (this story and characters mean so much to me). 12 years after the idea first came to me, I finally have the beautiful, intricate story fully formed and almost ready to begin writing out. The wait was hard, but WELL worth it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/dan.erickson.14 Dan Erickson

    I think we all struggle to learn when to let go.  I am getting better, but still have those times and days when I push.  Someone once told me it’s easier to “pull” a rubber band along a flat surface, than push it.  He was speaking of leading, but if we pull oursleves we might know when things get too heavy.  I appreciate your stories.  I’ve added a category on my own blog for “short stories and exceprts.”  I recenlty published a book about the power of forgiveness.  I think stories are a great way to communicate with others.  My book is “A Train Called Forgiveness.”  You can read more about it at http://danerickson.net.

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, I just went to your blog.  Very nice!  

      I agree with you, by the way.  Michael’s stories are very helpful.  Sometimes it is helpful to hear him describe how made a mistake in a situation.  Somehow, that helps me not to get so frustrated in not growing as much as I would like in a particular area.

      • Dan Erickson

        Jim, thanks for the reply.  I think mistakes and failures are one of our strongest learning tools.  If we are able to discern our mistakes we learn no to make them again.  In time, hopefully we make fewer mistakes.

  • Jennifer Major

    The only times where pushing hard is acceptable is a)giving birth and b) getting a confession!
    I refinish antiques and the quickest way to permanently ruin an expensive piece is to push hard and have the planer/sander/hammer go flying and BAM , it’s now a plant stand.

    I’m glad I can’t push God, but I’m thankful when He pushes me. Sometimes we don’t know we can fly until He takes away the cushy nest.

    Thank you Michael.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      That’s a beautiful thought. He knows exactly how hard to push.

    • http://itinerantblogger.wordpress.com/ Reed Hanson

      A lot of good perspectives here (especially on God pushing us out of the nest), but pushing hard to get a confession seems fraught with many pitfalls, so I would advise to tread a little lightly on that one. I have been amazed lately by how often I see other people moved to confess by no act of my own when I’m willing to not demand that they apologize. Indeed “His ways are higher than [my] ways” after all (Isaiah 55:8-9)!

      In my own experience, my motive to press hard for a confession was less about the truth and more about proving me right!

      • Jennifer Major

        I should qualify that “…did you or did you not hit your brother and take his piece of cake?”  The evidence is usually mixed in with the milk moustache.

        • http://itinerantblogger.wordpress.com/ Reed Hanson

          Thanks for the qualification. Right on! Perhaps one day I will experience pushing for this type of confession.

        • Rachel Lance

          I love it!
          That’s a different kind of pushing – not so much force required as wit and wisdom. Makes me wonder about situations in which perhaps I’m applying the wrong muscle. Something to ponder.
          Thanks for sharing!

  • Dvm_999

    I also read this and felt like it hit home. I have been pushing and pushing hoping for a certain outcome in my relationship and this reinforces what i already knew….that i have to let it take its course. I have to trust. Thank you. I am sure I will re-read this a few times today and over the next few days. ALways hard to hear and follow advice.

  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    This question of when to push and when to trust is totally what the development of my business is about. I am always walking that line between pushing harder, trying something new to market my company and taking the big deep breath and waiting on the current marketing/promotional projects to take effect. 
    The thing that I have learned about this balance is that it is equal parts art, science and prayer. The art is the ‘felt’ part. When I feel like I am pushing, much like Michael did with the video, I have to ease up. The science is learning, studying, trial and error. Seeing how others do it and applying what seems to work to my context. The prayer part is just that, and it is the part the really controls the other two. 

    • Jim Martin

      Matthew, thank you for this interesting comment.  I have never thought of the balance in the manner that you describe it.

  • honestinquirer

    Let me guess: He had a PC, and you used a MAC. Although, that wouldn’t explain the lack of sync issue with the video. That’s probably a Skype problem.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Nope. Both on Macs.

  • Jeanette

    Great post!

  • http://www.15minutewriter.com Sharon Gibson

    This is really, really good! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who struggles with technological issues. They make me want to pull out my hair sometimes! :-) Sometimes in cyber space with just you and the computer, you can think you are alone and the only one struggling with these issues. Now I feel strengthened by the knowledge that I’m not alone. :-)
    Yes, I’ve done this many times, just walked away. Other times I’ve pushed until I injured my arms and hands on the computer in my determination to find a solution. There is a fine line between persistence, letting go and giving up. The point of coming back to it later means you don’t give up.
    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Jim Martin

      Sharon, a friend asked me to help her and her husband with a particular technological issue.  The issue involved syncing.  

      I began to work with their computer and realized that the solution was fairly simple. When the problem was resolved, she said, “I can’t believe that was all there was to it.”  I told her that so often I have been stuck with problems with my own computer and finally have to get up and walk away.  There have been times when I have returned that the problem seemed relatively simple.  

      As you say, you are not the only one who struggles with technological issues.

  • Kristen

    Great blog post, very timely for me today.  I am struggling with figuring out how hard to fight for something that ultimately I should just let go, so thanks for the reminder Michael.

    • Jim Martin

      Kristen, you describe well the tension that many of us feel when we are struggling to fight for something while at the same time, we may think that it is time to finally let go.

  • http://www.brianhinkley.com/ Brian Hinkley

    I’m sometimes envious when I hear others talk fondly about memories of their father. My dad and weren’t very close.

    One thing I am thankful for though, is he taught me the value of being on time. We were always a half hour early for everything. I am still that way today because of it.

  • http://themarriagechecklist.com/ Dr. Ann

    I can definitely get stuck in “push open” mode!  I am grateful for friends and family who remind me that when God opens the door, I won’t really have to push at all! When I’m really resting in Him, I’m able to strike a much better balance between “do-ing” and “over-doing.”

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Yes,
      Love the subtle difference between doing vs. over-doing—I’m going to use that.

      • http://themarriagechecklist.com/ Dr. Ann

        Barry, the credit for that great phrase goes to my grandfather who used to tell all of us rowdy grandkids: “You do and do until you over-do!” 

        • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

          Well, Dr. Ann.
          I am totally going to “borrow” that expression! Thank you!

  • Pingback: Great Stuff on the Writers Blogs, May 17, 2012 « cochisewriters()

  • Jack Lynady

    Where’s the LOVE it button? 
    One of your very best Michael. Awesome…Thx!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jack. It almost didn’t get written.

      • Jack Lynady

        Not surprising. Writing that engages the heart is most opposed I would guess. ;)

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    Right now I’m seeing some amazing things starting to come together but I still have my day job. I get tempted to spam my social media to get people to buy a few more books so I can quit this job, but I know the better play is to let it happen with the plan I set up at the beginning of this year. Forcing my way out of my day job is the wrong move despite my frustration, I just have to work harder on my Platform!

    • Jim Martin

      Thanks Kimanzi.  Your commitment and hard work are very inspiring.  

  • http://www.photo-collective.com/ Andy Bondurant

    While I’m sure your interview with Bob is wonderful, this was a perfect message for me today. I’m kinda glad it worked out the way it did :)

    • Rachel Lance

      This seems to be the case for many of us in the community today. I love that Michael was open to learn from *and* share such a frustrating experience.

  • Bbhouse

    I am at the point where I need to stop and then start again. Trying to hard to do something. Need to slow down. Thank you for the article. It was a great blessing to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gregjgordon Greg Gordon

    Great thoughts it is so important to not overstep and get ahead of the Lord in ministry. There is many times a rest when the Lord is involved but at times there is great hard work and commitment. May we all find that balance.

  • Andrew Inge

    A similar puzzle for me has been to discern if a situation is a “closed door” waiting for me to find an open one or is it a difficulty I must go through to test my faith and courage. If I was Moses facing the Dead Sea with Pharaoh’s army behind me, I would have thought this was one heck of a closed door.

  • http://twitter.com/PauljHoyt Paul Hoyt

    Hi Michael, thanks for the so very helpful thoughts. I think all achievers struggle with this. In fact, I tend to think that the more of a “make it happen” kind of person you are, the more challenging it is to let go.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      True, Paul.  Results are important, but not at the cost of the journey to get there!

  • Eldersam

    I am applying the same principle on a team relationship that has gone bad. It seems trying hard to make the relationship work has made matters worse. So the decision is to let things idle for a while  before launching on another rescue plan.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      A cool down period can be a relationship saver!

  • Matt Harper

    Great topic, Michael, and great advice. As I know many relate, when I’m forced to “let go” I often find God has something so much better in mind. Thanks for the post.

  • Benortlip

    Hey Michael,
    I can fix that video for you.
    Send it over.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Ben. We decided to re-shoot, because there are some other things we want to fix. I’m so grateful for your offer.

  • http://dalemelchin.wordpress.com/ Dale Melchin

    I just did this today.  I took the day off from my day job to work on a painting project.  I was going to hurry up and finish today, but I didn’t.  I know the project will turn out better for having stopped, rested, got some perspective and started again on another day.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Stephen-Myers/568523563 Stephen Myers

    Exceptional post Michael, – As a new subscriber (via several suggestions on the ACFW main loop forums) I feel something similar as it relates to interviewing for and then with an Agent.   It is the single hardest process to find the right marriage and relationships benefiting both people.   I watched your interview the other night with Rachelle Gardner and  learned from it as well.    I hope Rachelle will be one I can meet attending my first ACFW conference even though I’ve been a writer (in electronic media) for decades.    Missing my father and some wisdom I appreciate your thoughts ‘son, don’t force this.’   Its applicable in a variety of other areas too.   Charles Swindoll in the 1990s once wrote (I believe in SIMPLE FAITH) about the ‘tyranny of the urgent.  Enter Complications.  Exit, Joy.’    Trying to plan to attend the ACFW Conference the joy of writing (and living) has been tied to this goal of ‘agents’ being so critical and yet so debilitating to attempt to plan for and require to be in publishing.   Thank you for this simple and yet gold nugget of wisdom I can hear in my father’s and grand-father’s voice as I read it.    Look forward to your keynote and possibly meeting in person too Michael.   Thank you. 

  • http://twitter.com/barbhemphill Barbara Hemphill

    I was struck by your comment that you worked on the video “for several hours.”  I’ve been in a season of life when I was doing (or trying to do) far too many things, personally and professionally.)  Then my mother died.  Although I miss her terribly, I was comforted to wake up on Easter morning knowing she and Daddy were together singing in the heavenly choir.  However, her passing caused me to reflect on my life, and I decided to say “No” to lots of things.  The result has been lots of time in my office to do whatever I want, instead of what I had to do.  My observation yesterday was that I have a very bad habit of jumping from one thing to another, and my goal today was to finish anything that I started!  Your post reminded me that “balance” is the key! 

    • johnmurphyinternational

      Barbara, your response is a great reminder to us all. Jumping form one thing to another is just so easy and a lot of the time I spend with clients is getting them to work ON their business and not IN it. You reminded me that “balance” is about finding the time to do the things I want. Thanks

  • johnmurphyinternational

    Michael, this is a great reminder of this message. Like you I had heard it years ago but there are many times when I forget it. I believe this can really be worth remembering when you are trying to close a big sale/contract. The harder you try to force it, the more elusive it becomes. Just back away, stop trying to force it and it will happen when it is meant to.
    Thanks for the reminder

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great point about applying this to closing the sale!  Our training sometimes tells us to “close the deal now” but sometimes we can get too focused on the transaction, when pushing too hard will cost the relationship.  Backing away at the right time can save the relationship and increase transactions.

  • Rachel Lance

    I love it!
    That’s a pushing that requires finesse – not so much force required as wit and wisdom. Makes me think of other situations where I may be pushing the wrong way.
    Thanks for sharing!

  • Martha Ramirez

    What a great reminder!!! Thank you!

  • http://coachingreallyworks.com/ Abe Stone

    Very nice Michael. As they say what we resist persists. It’s not an easy lesson but the more we hear it the more apt we are to try it and just let go.

  • Julie Swihart

    How can we discern the difference between learning something that will push us to the next breakthrough, versus something that will break us?

    Some thoughts:
    1. Does learning this push me outside my comfort zone, or outside my strengths zone?
    2. If I learn how to do this will it gratify me first, or someone else?
    3. Will learning this advance my long-term goals, or could someone else do it for me?

  • Franks_lim

    Dear Sir,

    I totally agreed with what you stated as I personally experienced the frustrated situations myself. I learnt from self-reflection that I have put too much pressure on myself without letting go. And this almost force me to give up my pursuance. 

    Letting go is very important to give ourself some spare time considering what is going on or what makes it right or wrong. Moreover, it may give us a relaxing moment at which we can learnt from our mistakes. Hence, solution can be eventually discovered.

    All in all, it is worth to try hard and sometime let go or you might be stressed out and never wish to go back struggling your goal. 

  • jenni hohuan

    yes agree. this is one manifestation of the deep truth that we live in paradox!

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  • PD

    Michael:

    Thank you for your post…it is very relevant to what I am currently experiencing in my life. I am externally (in the eyes of others) very successful in my career, have good job security and in fact have very clear opportunity to progress up the career ladder in my organization. However, I am finding that each morning I don’t look forward to going to work and I come home depleted and not feeling a sense of accomplishment/fulfillment. As a mother of two working full-time with responsibilities for over 100+ consultants reporting in, I am fighting for personal time to figure out how I solve this and I am not getting anywhere.

    So when I read you post, I wondered if this is where God wants me to be and my question for you on this topic is …what are the cues in my environment/circumstance that I should look for to make the decision to “let go”….?

    Thanks.

  • Fulllamp

    Great post!

  • Chris Holden

    Not sure what program you are using to record you calls but I have had great results with Call Recorder for Skype. http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/ You can edit the videos and audio separately…just a thought.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yep, that’s what I use. The program wasn’t the problem. I think we have it figured out. Thanks!

  • Rajdeep Paulus

    Wow! Thanks for your vulnerable post Michael. Appreciate your wisdom and especially love the last part where you write, “If we don’t push…It’s just not worth it. We have to trust.” I agree totally. And perspective always reminds me that this life is short. And we are ultimately the “gardeners” while the Creator of the seeds will determine when and how our ambitions will grow.  :) btw, even girls like to build model planes… :)

  • http://danisejurado.com/ Danise Jurado

    This was a wonderful and timely post for me to read… Thank you

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    I’m out of pushing power! Time for me to relax (a little) and see what God does. Thanks for sharing another helpful perspective.

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  • http://lmbartelt.wordpress.com/ Lisa Bartelt

    Balancing writing and family is my frustration area right now. My husband just graduated seminary and is looking for work, and I feel ready to take my writing to the next level. But our kids are young, and I’m the primary caregiver, and that’s important. And besides the job search, my husband needs my help in other ways. I thought maybe God was asking me to give up writing completely, which would actually be more like a death sentence for me, but maybe he’s asking me to let go for a time. To step away. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

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  • Mamablueberry

    I think this was what I needed to read today. I have a little house cleaning business. I was trying to rearrange my work schedule so that I didn’t have to drive as much. I had to have 5 or 6 people change the day I cleaned their house,  to make it work. I worried and worked on making the right phone calls. I was losing sleep over this problem. I finally quit pushing and worrying and it started to just work out.
    I’m really enjoying the podcast .Thanks for the good encouraging ideas

  • Moira-inthemoment

    Very timely. Thank-you

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1587153845 Kathy Stockton

    Wow…this is exactly where I am in my life right now!  I need to really pray about things and ask God to show me clearly if it is time to push a little harder or set it down…at least for now.

  • http://danblackonleadership.com/ Dan Black

    Currently I’m writing my first eBook, a book about why a person should find, develop, and use their talents. One of the things I’m working through is the ability to focus on the writing part and not to worry about editing. It seems when I’m about to sit down and start writing my brain shifts to editing and the layout. This has been very frustrating.

    I still plan on pushing forward to reminding myself the importance of writing and not worrying about editing until after the first draft. I personally think it’s time for me to push harder so the book can be read by others.

    Great life lesson from your father and reminder to all of us. 

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    Relaxing and trusting that God’s covering my reputation during this season of Changing churches and communities I’m involved in. There’s so much of me that wants to make Gossip right and to fix the misconceptions that one goes through during a shift in locations. Letting go and trusting God is very important!

  • Brdgbldr1

    Michael:  You remind me of the old oriental adage “…don’t push the river—let it flow.” (:-)

  • http://blog.frameablefaces.com/ Doug

    I couldn’t have put it better.  Every time the first quarter rolls around and business slows a little I’m tempted to try to “do something” to bring in business.  That’s not our style and even when it gets tough to pay the bills I remind myself to hold true.  Honest, organic growth is really important to us.  No quick fixes or blue light specials.  Our value to our clients is what it is and they appreciate it.  I don’t want to cheapen our studio for a short term gain at the expense of long term growth and integrity.

  • Av Rohse

    Hi Michael,

    Right on!  Once in a while the best policy can be just to back off and bury into the Haagen Daz.  I’ve actually just had a weekend that called for full implementation of this “protective mode”  which is necessary in order to tend to wounds.  It’s amazing how wounds, for example, of a spiritual nature can hurt so much (usually because they are inflicted by well meaning humans  who really believe they are doing what’s right), that they make you question your faith.   I’ve learned that if I try to force too much into finding a solution for what appears to be a standoff, I go into a type of combined panic and anxiety attack.   The more I try to find a solution,  my efforts freeze.  Imagine: frozen  hysteria.  Nothing budges.  No solution appears to be available.  But, if I back off, slowly self confidence,  hope and creativity start trickling back.  Something painful evolves into something useful,  like an approach to take if the same situation occurs again.

  • Christopher Hernandez

    This is a blog that speaks directly into my life during the current season I am experiencing. I am a husband, a father of two young girls, and soon a father to a brand new baby boy. My wife and will I have been married for five years, come August, and we have been through a lot so far already. Through that time, we have had two children, moved at least four times, and I recently graduated with a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Regent University while working seasonal construction/engineering in Alaska on the military base. My engineering career is demanding and there is lots of room for development and certified training, which would give me the income I desire in order to provide for my growing family. With that said, as accessible as the certifications are, I have definitely felt that God is wanting me to take things one day at a time, and not rush into becoming certified to inspect and sign-off on important engineering standards and specifications constructed in the field. I cannot be employed to do something I love to do, just because I love doing it. I actually need to become competent in my profession, before I “sign-off” on anything, especially since my desire to be a Special Inspector outweighs my development. God is good, and His timing is perfect. I need to grow, and thanks be to God that I will grow.

    Great post. Great Blog. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Mr. Hyatt.

    • Jim Martin

      Christopher, this sounds very wise.  You have noted that you have a lot going on right now (husband, father of two young girls, new baby on the way).  You have also had much going on in this early season of your marriage (grad from school, working in engineering, giving birth to two children, moving four times.)

      You are right, there is something very good about taking the time to grow and develop.  That is a significant investment.

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  • Beng Dabang

    this topic is what i really needed  to decide  into something that is really bothering me
    i am into a  complicated relationship that is really hard to let go..but now i realized that the more you insist yourself into it the more difficult it could be…

  • http://twitter.com/gdiver62 Gordon Diver

    Michael, 
    Well written and a great lesson. Thanks for sharing and I’m looking forward to eventuality of seeing the interview with Bob when the time is right :) 

  • Paul

    A good lesson to re-learn! Thank you the story and please send it to me again next week … And the week after… And…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000312149157 Cathy Pullins

    Hello,

    This is a good article for me to stumble upon today.  My husband and I were discussing the level of wisdom we must refine to find this delicate balancing point in our struggles with goal setting.  
    …Finding the right level of tension that allows for the stretch of ambition without prompting the backlash of a level of pressure that omits self-love and grace. 

     Too much tension — the energy snaps and we move backward.  Too little tension and we are not propelling maximum growth.  

    CHALLENGING to discern.

  • Kenneth Eggen

    Career moves. I pushed too hard, ended up very frustrated now I am in a state of being frozen. I am not certain what I want to do at all.

  • Frankie Manners

    Michael,

    As always you have hit on exactly what I am struggling with right now…when to push a little harder and when to let go for just a while.

    My fiance and I are house hunting. We have decided that it is time to move from Alabama – where we moved over a year ago for his job – back to Tennessee – where both of our hearts are.

    In four years together we have not had an argument…until now. This has been the most frustrating process. We have both – along with all our family and friends – been in constant prayer about this and feel with all our hearts it is the right thing and right time to do this so why is it so hard?

    Maybe we just need to step back for a while – just lay it down and come back in a week or so? Our forever home here on earth is important but at this point I’m afraid if we push too much harder it will damage our relationship and that isn’t worth it. On the other hand, I’m afraid if we don’t push we will never get back to where our hearts and kids and grandbabies are.

    I guess my question is how do you know when to keep pushing and when to let go for a while. I’ve struggled with this all my life but never more than I am right now.

    Thank you for this wonderful post that hit me right where I am.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Frankie, I wish I had an easy answer. It is an art. I also think it comes from a faith—trusting that it’s going to workout in the end. You might also want to read Seth Godin’s book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick). Hope that helps!

      • Frankie Manners

        Thank you, I will check that out.

      • Frankie Manners

        You know cleaning helps me think so after you replied to me I started cleaning and it hit me. About a week ago I transcribed a talk you gave and the most profound thing that came out of it for me was you saying, “…so many people quit right before the inflection point…right before it gets good. …So often we quit and we just need to push through and get to the other side.”

        You were speaking to the “resistance” we face right before we make a major breakthrough. I was so inspired by this I typed it up and taped it right behind my computer screen with Psalm 119: 35-37 posted below it.

        I’m thinking now this is the resistance.

        Thank you for being an inspiration to my life and helping me think about things outside the box.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

          You’re welcome. So glad you connected these. Blessings.

  • http://dalemelchin.wordpress.com/ Dale Melchin

    Did you eventually get it to work?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I did! You can watch it here.