Physical stretching requires two components: application of pressure in the appropriate position and relaxation.  Anyone who has been to a yoga class has heard the (to me)* annoying admonition to “breathe relaxation into the muscle” as a way to focus on letting go of the tension. The big movement comes from the “letting go” of the pressure while maintaining pressure.

The same idea of letting go applies to making improvements as a leader.  The process of change requires intentional application of pressure (an intention, plan, tools and situation to change) to create momentum.  Some of the biggest jumps in improvement relate to (under the application of that pressure for change) letting go of something, usually a thought, story, behavior or assumption.


  • A leader letting go of the thought that they need to fight for everything to succeed in a current role.
  • A leader letting go of the story that everyone at a similar level has a target on their back.
  • A leader letting go of the idea that they have to live up to the legacy of the previous incumbent.
  • A leader letting go of the assumption that they are just lucky to be where they are and don’t have much more to contribute.
  • A leader letting go of the habit of being the answer person.

Other ways physical stretching gains are like improving as a leader.

It takes time.  Range of motion gains take considerable time and patience.

Increased range of motion creates new and better movement patterns. When we let go we can find new ways to do things.

Stretching can protect against future injury. Flexibility in approaches can keep us out of the ditch.

Tightness in a muscle is a way to protect itself from damage. Letting go is often letting go of defenses we no longer need.

Are there things that you have let go of to aid in your development?


*to me the sing-song, pseudo-soothing “yoga instructor voice” is like fingernails on a chalk-board – and yes I still have a lot to let go of too.