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Why Detach from the Outcome?

Why detach from the outcome? What does that even mean?

Last week, in my blog about not being fearless alone and how asking for help is a gift we give others, I mentioned detaching from the outcome. What does that mean? It runs counter to the advice about vision boards for making your dreams come true – so why might it be important? I shall tackle these questions one at a time.

What does it mean to detach from the outcome? For me it has to do with remaining open to new possibilities and focusing on the process instead of just the result. It means staying open even when I think I know what I want, or what I want to have happen, because there is the possibility of something even better than what I have imagined. Another word for this is surrender. Christians have a prayer that includes the line, “Thy will be done . . .” which for me is a reminder that there is more to know than what I may already know. In the 1985 movie, “Out of Africa”, someone says in part, “. . . the Earth was made round so that we would not see too far down the road.” Detaching from the outcome is also a reminder that no matter how much we plan, we can never know for sure what will unfold, what will happen.

One example of this was a summer when I was trying diligently to come up with the money to send my youngest to camp. Nothing I tried worked out and she didn't get to go. In the middle of that summer, something quite unexpected happened for which it proved to be a good thing that she was home. This is what I mean by being open to what I may not yet know when what I think I want to have happen does not work out like I envision.

Why is it important to detach from the outcome? It is important in being better able to roll with the glitches that happen as we proceed toward what we imagine is the finish line. Detaching from the outcome keeps me from being derailed when things turn out differently than originally envisioned. It makes it possible to realize I may be on the wrong path and be receptive to the needed course correction. Often when I get overly attached to specific outcomes it is when I feel like the options are limited and I am afraid I will be left out of something good. In these cases, I have found that detaching from the outcome supports the idea that the universe has enough to go around for everyone.

What steps are needed to detach from the outcome? It takes a certain amount of humility to let go of my idea about what I think I want, and I have found that Rhonda Britten’s process, as taught thru the Fearless Living Institute*, helps me find the willingness needed to release my idea. She calls it the R*I*S*K formula.

Her 4 steps are:

1) Release attachment to an outcome – be willing to remain open to possibilities.

2) Remember your Intention – how it is you are committed to showing up in your life.

3) Stand for your truth – stick to your intention, remain focused on the process and how you want to be present.

4) Keep Kindness a priority – be gentle with yourself and others, and remember everyone is innocent, they are doing the best they know in the moment.

I would also like to share a link to a video of Oprah Winfrey talking about surrendering something she wanted. Part of what I take away from listening to this again (& again) is that there really is so much more available in the universe than most of us can imagine, and we get to see more when we are willing to let go of our limited personal vision. This is what detaching from the outcome is to me.

What experience have you had in detaching from an outcome? It would be lovely to hear your experiences. You could share in the comments or email me at I look forward to hearing from you.