Detachment: Let go to be growing

Jaime Yáñez
6 min readApr 20, 2022
Photo by: Ankush Minda.

I’ve been wanting to write about this topic for a long time. Many friends have asked me to share my views on detachment and how they can start applying it in their day-to-day life (I have been practicing meaningful minimalism for 8 years). So, without further ado, here goes.

What is detachment?

Detachment is an essential part of life in this ever-changing environment. To grow and stay alive, it is necessary to let go of many things: people, places, jobs, roles, salaries, possessions, and even ideas. Detachment is often confused with indifference and apathy, but I assure you that they are very different.

Indifference implies a lack of interest or sympathy, while apathy implies a lack of motivation or interest. On the other hand, detachment implies letting go of emotional attachment to something. Sometimes it can be challenging to let go, but we must grow and become more human beings.

We are pretty attached to things most of the time. We are attached to our smartphones, our friends and family, and our jobs and activities. Sometimes this attachment can be a good thing. It keeps us going in difficult situations and helps us grow. However, things are not absolute and physical objects, and relationships change, causing us to let go of them. Letting go is important for growth. Just as the trees on a mountain need to shed the leaves that retain them during spring and the branches that do not keep them healthy due to illness or old age, human beings also need to clear their attachment to work, salary, position, and situations, people… When we are attached, we are emotionally connected in a way that can lead to suffering. Letting go is letting go of our emotional connection to an outcome or situation to exist peacefully at the moment.

So, putting it all together: Detachment is the ability to let go of things that no longer matter or serve us in the present moment.

It is a mental state in which we can let go of our thoughts and feelings about current situations or people to see things clearly and without judging them. Detachment implies that we can observe life objectively rather than subjectively. We can distance ourselves from our emotions to gain clarity on the situation and understand the facts without being attached to or influenced by the emotionality of the situation.

When you distance yourself from situations, you are not emotionally attached to them and therefore have a clearer mind. You are observant rather than reactive: an essential skill for any servant leader or Agile Coach. Removing your own ego from a situation will make it easier for you to make difficult decisions to take control of your life. All your choices will be based on logic and reason instead of emotional attachment.

What is it necessary for?

Detachment, as a skill, is essential to navigating in a world of constant changes and turbulence. It helps you remove prejudices and focus on the facts. It enables you to be in servant leadership mode and act as a communication bridge. It also allows you to have an appreciative look and not get caught up in the little things that don’t matter.

As an Agile Coach or servant leader, you are a person who has to deal with the human mindset, attitudes, and emotions. Hence the need for detachment. Detachment is not an action. It is a state of being. It is also a choice.

Detachment means that you focus on achieving the goal and not on your prejudices or personal emotions. As an Agile Coach, you have to create an environment that makes it easy for others to learn and unlearn things in their own way and at their own pace, and this does not mean that you have a cold heart, but that you have a purpose as an Agile Coach ( ) and that you know the scope and limits of each hat.

Just as a mother lets her son learn to deal with his challenges, a servant leader must also solve their problems. It’s about allowing the other person to grow, make mistakes and learn from them. A detached leader is a person who has known to separate his own needs (such as the need for power and control) from the work he does. This detachment is empowering because it leaves room for the other person to be more capable and self-reliant. Give others self-confidence.

How can I practice it?

Letting go to grow is easier said than done. Here are three steps to practicing detachment:

Step 1: Identify your attachment.

You can help yourself with this set of questions:

What are you attached to? Is it your job? Is it your salary? The fallacy of command and control? Is it your possessions or your money? Is it the way to do something? Your biases? The new framework you just learned? What do I always want? What do I always need more of? Who or what do I always want to spend more time with? When am I happy? When am I unhappy? What makes me feel like a failure? What makes me feel successful?

Step 2: Visualize letting go.

Imagine yourself without that object of attachment. How does it feel? How does it make you feel inside? Try to really visualize how you feel. This simple activity will give you an idea of ​​our attachments’ effects on us. Some people may experience fear, while others may feel relieved or sad. Even terror or panic… We all have baggage.

Some are emotional. One part is mental. And another part is physical.

Whether we’ve been hurt, disappointed, or physically exhausted, baggage can weigh us down and make it difficult to enjoy life.

Letting go of our emotional, mental, and physical baggage is one way to achieve detachment, which can help us let go of anger, anxiety, and fear so we can be present at the moment.

Step 3: Analyze actionable releases and walk with them.

Now, create an action plan to let go of at least one attachment. Clearly identify what you can do today to begin the process. Keep in mind that this process will take time, and you must do it at your own pace. Remember: letting go means letting things go little by little, but permanently.

Make a list of what you’ve already achieved or accomplished, and review it when you feel like giving up or fearing failure. It’s not easy, but we can all do it.

What are the benefits of practicing it?

The benefits of detachment are always there, right under our noses. Still, often we don’t take advantage of them because we are so conditioned by our own individual needs and desires. Some of these benefits are:

1. Fully appreciative of what you have right now.

2. Recognize that we are only in control of ourselves.

3. Trust our decisions.

4. Focus on the present… Here and now.

Servant leaders view attachment as an obstacle to effective leadership and instead strive to achieve a state of detachment. They understand that detachment does not mean disengagement but rather a state of flow or being in the zone where there is total concentration on the task without any external distractions. Servant leaders know the value of being 100% present with their followers and actively cultivating this state. They see that detachment is not an all-or-nothing proposition but rather a practice that they continually work to improve. They understand that when they can let go — even for short or long periods — they are better able to empower others because they can lead from their strengths and not from fear or ego.

Takeaway: You will grow by practicing detachment

I don’t know where you are on your journey, but I want to encourage you to start practicing detachment. Learn to live in the present moment instead of getting stuck in the past or anxious about the future. Find ways to regularly practice this detachment to live with more freedom and purpose. And when you detach yourself from your emotions, you’ll have a frame of reference to make sound career and relationship decisions, which means your creativity and productivity will skyrocket. And if you ask me, what is the secret to learning to let go? My answer is always the same: Practice.

Mindful living, one of the most basic tenets of Buddhism and Taoism, will help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings in the present moment. By observing your thoughts and feelings with detachment, you can begin to distance yourself from them until you are no longer so attached to them. So if you have one of those moments when you can’t let go of something that’s bothering you, your detachment will have given you an advantage over the situation and help you deal with it more effectively than before.