By Ian Shafer
It might be easier than you think.
You may have heard of this simple, yet fascinating, tactic used to capture monkeys.
All it requires is a bunch of bananas and a small cage.
Surprisingly, the cage is for the bananas, not the monkey.
It seems that the trapper simply travels into the jungle and locks a bunch of bananas into a small cage.
Once the monkey happens upon the tasty yellow treats, they reach their arms into the holes of the cage.
But when they go to pull the bananas out, they don’t fit. Despite trying different angles and methods, they cannot pull their hand out of the cage without letting go of the bananas.
Their mind is so fixated on the bananas, and they don’t realize they’re vulnerable to serious threats.
Even as the trappers draw near, the monkeys will refuse to let go of the bananas.
The monkey’s failure to let go of the bananas ultimately leads to their capture.
The monkey’s fixation on a short-term reward leads to an irreversible long-term consequence.
What do monkeys refuse to let go of? Bananas.
What do entrepreneurs refuse to let go of? Control.
Why Failure to Let Go Can Be an Issue in Business
Ironically, the monkey’s fear of losing the banana leads to it completely losing control of the situation entirely.
The act of ‘letting go’ would’ve been the ultimate exemplification of control.
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As an entrepreneur, you’re not alone in feeling anxious about jeopardizing what you already have. Losing control of your business is a legitimate fear, but if you do not let go at some point, you will likely lose control of the situation anyway.
In the book Traction, by Gino Wickman, the first chapter outlines the five common frustrations of an entrepreneur.
Guess what the number one frustration is? Lack of control.
Your own business has a way of trapping you within itself. Yet, all the while, the answer is in the palm of your hand.
You get so caught up in wanting to ensure something is done the right way, that your desire to control a situation actually causes you to lose control of a situation.
How Releasing Control Can Help Your Business
Thankfully, Gino’s book doesn’t end there. He goes on to map out the Five Leadership Abilities™, number two of which is Delegate. This Leadership Ability is about ‘delegating and elevating’ to your true God-given skillset and reprioritizing your responsibilities, so you are operating as the best version of yourself.
You cannot wear all the hats; hanging onto details and getting too in the weeds is actually suffocating your company’s growth and frustrating your team. Sometimes, the thing that you want control of the most is the thing you need to let go of in order to grow. When this mindset shift occurs, and you realize you must let go, the company can reach new heights.
What bananas are you holding on to?
What do you need to let go of?
Ask those closest to you in your business, and I suspect they’ll know exactly where you should start. Letting go of certain things can actually make your company stronger.
- Download a free chapter of Traction by Gino Wickman.
- Check out this blog post on improving accountability.