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Surrender to Win

When I say the word “surrender” – what definition or story do you attach to it?

I’ve recently become aware that my definition or story around the emotion of surrender was losing,

Surrender meant to lose the battle, to hoist the white flag.

Surrender is shameful, disgraceful.

The famous quote from Winston Churchill is a part of my worldview.

We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.

What if there’s a different way to look at the word “surrender”?

I’m coming to appreciate that surrender and losing are not the same.

To surrender is to willingly give up control, to willingly stop fighting or resisting.

What do we stand to gain from surrendering?

What is made possible when we surrender?

Here’s one possible interpretation of a historical surrender.

The Japanese Emperor Hirohito declared Japan’s surrender of  World War Two on August 15 1945.

They lost the war.

Some generals in the Japanese army committed suicide because they could not accept surrender.

But what was made possible by surrender?

  • Most immediately, Japan avoided annihilation from more atomic bombs being dropped on their cities and citizens. Indeed, some people have found surrender to be the path to literally saving their life.
  • Expanding the timeframe, Japan emerged from World War II to become an industrial powerhouse. Who here has ever owned a Japanese car?
  • My father was preparing to be in the US forces that would fight to defeat Japan. I’ve heard from him, and many others of his age group, that Japan’s surrender likely saved their lives. I would not exist if Japan had not surrendered.

What might be possible if you were to surrender something?

Most of us can benefit from surrendering something.

In the clients I work with, I see 3 things that often get in the way of success and happiness: unhelpful beliefs, undermining fears, and unnecessary time commitments.

The fastest and easiest way through these obstacles is to surrender.

What belief(s) could you give up?

Many of us have beliefs that we’ve carried since childhood. Some examples:

  • I’m not good at _____ (Math? Leading people? Fill in your own blank.)
  • I need ________ to apply for a job I’d think I’d love. (An advanced degree? More confidence?)
  • I can’t simply ask for what I want, I must wait for it to be offered.

These are examples. Beliefs are as varied as the people who hold them.

What beliefs do you carry that stand in the way of your happiness or success?

What might happen if you surrendered them?

What fear(s) could you let go of?

Fear is the number one thing that holds people back from going for what they really want.

What fear is holding you back from taking a leap of faith and embracing an unknown future?

  • Rejection?
  • Conflict?
  • Being judged?
  • Failure?

How are those fears impacting your day-to-day decisions?

What possibilities might become available if you surrendered these fears?

What tasks or commitments could you let go of?

Many people are time starved these days.

Look at your calendar and commitments…what could you let go of?

  • The personal project you are no longer excited about – yet feel (internal) pressure to complete?
  • Routine tasks that maybe don’t need to be done – or could be delegated to someone else.
  • Committees or groups that you don’t really want to be part of anymore.

What could you surrender or let go of that would make space for something new?

Surrender is empowering.

Surrendering something doesn’t mean losing.

Surrender means evolving and being liberated to create our lives anew.

It can be immensely empowering.

What can you surrender now for the sake of winning more later?

Ken Roseboom

Ken Roseboom is the President of Thinking Partners. He partners with leaders to increase impact, create aligned teams, and deliver better results. He leverages the Alignment process, assessment tools, expert coaching, and years of front line leadership experience to support his clients.