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I wrote a leadership book some years back called Achieve Unstoppable Success in Any Economy, and there is an entire chapter in that called Leaders Surrender. Now, did you ever ask yourself why successful leaders are successful? Well, it's a loaded question, and obviously there's no set rules for all leaders in leadership roles and coaching thousands of leaders worldwide. I can now say that the common skill that all leaders need is the ability to detach themselves from a given situation. Detachment. Detachment means staying away from the outcome. It means that doing what you love without worrying about the outcome, it's about enjoying the process. And let me tell you, it's pretty difficult in the corporate world to be a leader who is detached because as leaders, we are constantly reminded to achieve results. We are defined by our results, we are known by our accomplishments and what we have. We carry work home with us. Work is on our mind all the time. We keep thinking about the problems, the people, the people behaviors. Who said what? That's not detachment. In fact, I often think about how one can remove oneself from all personal attachment to the outcome.

I know it sounds counterintuitive because after all, in business we are judged every single day, every month, every year by our numbers. And yes, we want the results. But on the other side, I also remember what actor Bryan Cranston once said, and he had written this in his autobiography, that ordinary people focus on the outcome. Extraordinary people focus on the process. In fact, many sport coaches like Morgan Wharton have reminded us to evaluate wins and losses objectively, focusing more on effort and execution than on the outcome of the game. In fact, at one point in my career life, I began questioning myself. Must I think or not think about the outcome? Don't results inspire us and motivate us to achieve more? And my confusion was cleared when some years later, I traveled to India on a work assignment. And I still remember that evening when my dad and I went for a stroll to the nearby ice cream shop, and as we each carried our ice cream and settled down on the benches outside the shop, my father, he excitedly asked me. He said, so, young lady, how's the life in America? And I was like, oh, it's going great. And I chatted about my work and told him my goals and how I wanted to achieve them all. I also spoke about the American dream that I wanted to achieve at that time, and how through my work, I wanted to live it. And, you know, I think he saw my passion, he saw my enthusiasm, but he saw something else that I didn't. So he smiled. And then his next question he asked me, he said, how would you feel if you were to achieve your dream? And I said, oh, of course I will feel on top of the world, dad. I would feel so happy. And he was like, okay, and how would you feel if you did everything but you were not able to achieve your results despite all your efforts and hard work? I said, oh, don't even say that. I will feel miserable. It would make me feel so horrible, so sad, and so dejected. I said, after all, look at the hard work and the efforts I am putting in for it. He said, okay, and then what would you do next? I said okay, I would keep pursuing it until I got my result. And his next question, you know, you know, he just was I just kept me mum. He said, okay, you would continue, but in what condition would you continue? And I was very confused and I had no answer. And then my father continued in his deep voice and he said, I'll how will you achieve your results when you are operating in a state of dejection and frustration, feeling miserable and sad? And even if you do continue, what would be the condition of your health and mind? Would you have enough stamina and enthusiasm and energy to move on to the next and the next, and the next goal? And then you can and be unstoppable. My answer was no. So he paused, and he took a deep breath. And then he went on to tell me a story which I will never forget. It was about this monkey catcher who saw a lot of monkeys on the tree. And then he came up with an idea for catching them. So he brought a lot of peanuts. He put them in a long but narrow necked jar and left it below the tree. Now the monkeys sitting up the tree were watching and waiting for the monkey catcher to leave so that they could dip their hands in the jar for their favorite food. Now, as soon as he left, one monkey jumped down and slipped his hand through the mouth of a of the jar to grab the peanuts, and he grabbed quite a few of them, and he was happy to have so many in his hand, and he quickly tried to pull his hand out and eat the peanuts. However, despite several attempts, he just couldn't get his hand out of the you know, jar, and his hand got stuck in the narrow neck of the jar. Now all that, the monkey could have slipped out his hand by opening the closed fist and leaving the peanuts in the jar. But he was so attached to the peanuts which which were in his closed fist, that he did not want to let go of the peanuts. Now the monkeys greed and attachment to the peanuts bound him helplessly to that jar, and as he was so caught up with that attachment to the peanuts, he completely forgot to keep an eye on the monkey catcher, and consequently the monkey catcher came quietly, caught the monkey, and took him away. If only the monkey had let go of the peanuts, he could have escaped. And that's what my dad explained to me. He said his attachment and greed for the peanuts did not allow him to do so. As a result, he got stuck and ultimately fell into the hands of the monkey catcher. If only the monkey had detached himself from the peanuts, which is the results, he would have lived.

 My friends, the ability to let go, to surrender, to move on and not let the results influence you is essential for healthy living and for the ultimate success. Humans should be able to avoid falling into such a trap. We should be able to understand the danger of holding on to things that don't serve us well. We should realize when we are creating these traps for ourselves. Unfortunately, most of the traps in life are those we create for ourselves. We cling to the privilege of being right. We won't let go of anger and resentment. We become attached to material things the titles, the positions that are of little value. And we often put our attachment of possessions and titles ahead of our own well-being. We are all caught in this monkey like trap where we know that if we just let go of the attachment, we can go places. If we concentrate on the process and do our work and let the universe decide what rewards we get, we can actually be so much more productive and creative. Why? Well, because our mind is then at peace and we can think clearly. I'm so glad my dad and me had this conversation, because the same year, my first leadership book titled Success Is Within was to be released, and I wrote that book with a very clear mind, detaching myself from whether people will buy my book or not, whether it would be the best sellers list or not. And later, eventually, the book received the Canada Book of Excellence Award. No doubt having goals and keeping an eye on the result is one of the most fundamental principles for success. But don't pursue with the results directly. Focus on the process. Focus on what it takes to get to the outcome and let the outcome take care of itself. Just think about, just think about it. And actors, only duty is to act. He or she must put in the best while acting. Now, whether the movie will be a blockbuster or not, that's not in the actor's control. Besides their acting, the results depend on many other factors like the audience perception, the movie direction, the editing, the storyline, the cinematography. There are just so many things around it. So by practicing detachment, we can navigate the challenges of leadership with a calm, balanced perspective, making decisions that are in the best interest of our team and organization, rather than reactive decisions based on attachment to a particular outcome or person. In fact, detachment is a very powerful approach to enhancing your workplace experience. It ensures you have the necessary neutrality to care appropriately, yet not be overly stressed in areas where you can have little impact. It it just gives you a clear decision making process. It it helps you to to give effective feedback and take effective feedback. And the successful management of workplace interactions, fostering healthy balance and productivity is enhanced. Now, let me tell you, detachment is not about being indifferent. It's more about being productive and knowing where to step in and zoom in, and where to step back and zoom out. It's about taking a step back, viewing the situation objectively and making sound decisions without getting swamped in emotional chaos. In fact, in my coaching, as well as in my workshops with companies I've taught leaders and executives my proprietary system called the FM Full Mind Engagement. It's a full mind engagement pyramid to help them guide to extreme productivity and work in a state of detachment so that they can grow faster at their workplace. Now, let me tell you something here. One of the places where we find detachment hard is in our relationships with people. We believe that our happiness is in how our boss treats us, in how our team talks with us, and how our stakeholders deal with us. You must be able to deal with people without attachments, which means that when you don't get from them what you want, you don't become immobilized. You don't become angry or sad or depressed. Can you actually say to yourself that my happiness, my identity, is not dependent on the results and on people's behavior, that I can do my best each day, regardless of what I get in return. That's when you will remain undisturbed, when you do your best, and it will not matter to you how others react. You will be able to calmly handle situations and people well. Honestly, on many occasions I have failed at this, but I am working on it because I know that there are many things that play a role in your end result. However, if the you know, like I said, I gave you the actors, actor's example, if the movie did not go as expected and the actor takes him or herself to be the cause of the result, he or she will operate in a low state of mind, and his or her mind will be cluttered with negative thoughts and will, and they will just sabotage themselves. How do you think his or her performance will be in the next movie? If, if, if the entire focus is on whether the next movie will be a blockbuster or not, they will just not be able to do their best acting, their best performance. Similarly, no one can give their best performance at whatever they do. If part of their mind is preoccupied with tension and worry of the result, productivity will fall short. You will be unable to make clear and right decisions. Ultimately, my friends, the final results will be negative. That again brings you in a state of worry, tension, anxiety and frustration. And you continue to operate in this cycle. And then despite all your hard work, you're just not getting there. If you're going to find happiness and true success in life, you need to examine what you hold on to. Detach yourself from the results. Detach yourself from people behaviors, never from your actions and duties. Create leaders surrender, but they never give up their actions and duties. My friends, I encourage and challenge you to take a close look at the attachments in your life. Do you place more importance on things outside of yourself than on the things inside of you? Does your goal and attachment to results get you into a monkey mind state? Are there things when you surrender them that will allow you to achieve your dream and fly higher? Are you truly giving your best at your workplace? Realize that when you know your own inner qualities and strengths, and have this awareness of surrendering in a conscious way, you are able to set yourself on an elevated position. No opposition, however powerful it may be, can shake you from their seat of self respect. With these questions to reflect on and the pearls of wisdom, you will have to move ahead, taking each question and working on them. With the passage of time and in meeting successful people, I was able to deconstruct the reason why few people are able to move faster in their career, and why some bounce back quickly from failures. Why? Why is there a culture of micromanagement in some companies, and why people hop from one job to another? Why does success feel temporary? Why material possessions and titles don't bring the happiness we crave. And all of these answers, which I got, helped me to solve one of the biggest problems that exist worldwide today at our workplaces the lack of productivity. If you look at many of the most creative and productive people on the planet, they are working while engaging their minds completely at their task. They are not doing what they what they are doing because of what they will get for it. They are doing what they are doing because something inside of them tells them that they have to do it. They just stay detached. They just stay detached from the outcome. In fact, I, I like what Henry David once said, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his or her dreams and endeavors to live the life which he or she has imagined, he or she will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. Well, the best way to be creative in your work and life, the best way to succeed and speed. The best way to be highly productive is to be detached. Being detached, my friends, does not mean lack of feeling or emotion. It is not a synonym for indifference, carelessness, or passivity. Acting with detachment means doing the right thing for its own sake, because it needs to be done without worrying about success or failure. Detachment does not mean that you own nothing. It simply and powerfully means nothing owns you. Results cannot overpower you. You will find peace and success within you and operate with a feeling of fulfillment when you are detached. One of the hallmarks of effective leadership is the ability to distance yourself from work and situation, and look at it with detachment. In fact, it reminds me of one of the CEOs who I worked with, you know, who decided that based on industry trends, to project a flat growth year that year. And when he presented his analysis for the year to his peers, he was shocked to hear some of them challenging his decisions by saying things like, why don't you just go relax at the beach if you can't find any alternatives? The CEO knew he hadn't come up with the best of solutions, but clearly his mind was worried. With thoughts of the past and future results, he decided to seek other alternatives for growing the business, and he applied my FM pyramid full mind engagement pyramid by first being detached from the worry of the results. And he indeed, after following that process, was able to grow his business 17% that year, something he couldn't have done without the push of a new level of exploration. The best way to be detached and lead is to understand that all exists in temporary. Nothing lasts forever. Therefore, nothing can be held on to all relationships and situations. All positions and titles will end or change when we don't fully appreciate this simple but profound truth. We suffer in business and life. Now, so does this mean that you should leave everything, surrender and go and sit at the Himalaya and meditate? Will absolutely not do just the opposite. Work harder because you know nothing is permanent. It will pass, as will the good times, as will the bad times, as will the business that you build and the relationships you develop, as will the success and failure. All of it, all of it, at some point will cease to exist as you either cease to exist or situations evolve. And because you know everything is impermanent, you've got to work harder every day. This mindset, my friends, will from now onwards make you unstoppable. This is your good friend and coach, Payal Nanjiani. I will connect with you soon on another episode. Until then, stay in touch.

Your Good Friend + Mentor

Payal Nanjiani

Leadership Expert | Author| Executive Coach


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