Ep 149: You Have to Let It Come Up to Let It Go

What does the phrase “You Have to Let It Come Up to Let It Go” mean? What does it mean in the context of being a leader? How does our own judgment and anger play a role in this? This will all be answered in this episode. Join your host, Adam Quiney for a thorough discussion on the topic at hand – what is it and what it means. You will find out what it means to feel angry without really understanding what anger means and how your judgment of others may block that thing from coming up. Learn why reflection beyond your judgments matters as a leader, and what a leader can do about their own judgments.

Listen to the podcast here:

You Have to Let It Come Up to Let It Go

What does the phrase “You Have to Let It Come Up to Let It Go” mean? There will be concepts that go along with it, being a leader, especially on understanding anger and judgment and dealing with this as a leader.

These are conversations in service of causing leadership, our leadership, the leadership of other people, the ethos if you like. The whole point of these conversations and indeed this show are to take a look at the sacred cows of leadership, to look at the known truths. This is how you lead. Servant leadership is the right way to lead. The leader always eats last. All of these rules about leadership, we break them apart so that we can get to a deeper level of leadership, practice and transformation, first in yourself and then in your other people. What are we going to be talking about is how you have to let it come up to let it go. As a distinction, it’s originally provided to me by a counselor that was working with both Bay and I. I’ve noticed how true this holds in everything that I do and all of the work I do with people. We’ll be going down that road and helping you see how the stuff you insist you don’t do is in the way. It’s your insistence you don’t do something or that something is wrong. That is in the way of whatever is next for you. We’ll come to that.

Before we do, I want to make an invitation to you to come and join us for this iteration of the creating client’s course. The course is cooler than that sounded. It is a ten-week course. We are upending the traditional sales model, throwing out all of the stuff that might generate results exclusively but in a way that leaves you feeling frustrated, annoyed, hating the conversation about sales, dreading it, anxious, all of that other stuff. It’s the very best it gets down the traditional route. You finally get the funnel. You make a bunch of sales but it sucks. You hate it anyhow. The best it gets is the minimal amount of time you have to spend in it, which is not a very good recipe for a life that’s fully expressed.

What we’re doing in this course is we’re supporting you to get beyond that. We’re supporting you to pull that all down and then build everything back up from a foundation that begins with your own self-expression, your ability to fall in love with people simply by connecting with them and then to deepen relationship with them. From there, you begin to see how you can serve people moment by moment, eventually learn to embody the truth and see the truth. Sometimes the best way you can serve people next is to offer them a paid committed relationship with you. We work on how to do that artfully and all of that stuff in such a way that people don’t feel any pushiness or anything crappy. They’re like, “This is cool. I feel served the whole way through.” If that is of interest to you, you can go to AdamQuiney.com/clientcreation. Let us know. We would love to have a conversation with you about that.

Let It Come Up To Let It Go

Let’s get into it. What are we talking about when we say you have to let it come up to let it go? First where we start is we have all these stories about the right way to be, the correct way to lead, what is good and bad leadership, what is good and bad as a human? All of those lead us to a preconceived notion about how we should show up. Here’s a funny one. If I have a story that it’s wrong to judge people, you don’t have to look far to find evidence for this story. It is spouting nonstop. What that’s going to do is it’s going to force my own judgment into my blind spots. The way this works is that I’ve got a story. I’ve got a judgment about a judgment. It’s wrong to judge people. Hopefully, you can already tell, “We’re already in trouble because I’ve got a judgment about a judgment. That’s the snake eating its own tail. How is this going to go?”

Humans are judgment making machines. Click To Tweet

Once we have a judgment about the right or the wrong way to show up, we are going to judge other people when they show up this way. We’re going to judge ourselves when we show up this way. It’s wrong for me to have judgments. The problem is that humans are judgment-making machines. That’s how I determined this white shirt is different from this black shirt. My judgment is what allows me to discern one thing from another. On top of my judgment, I attach a bunch of meaning like that shirt that person is wearing is that color of blue. It’s too blue. It’s the wrong color of blue. That’s all my own stuff about it. That’s fine. That’s my judgment.

The thing that’s a trap here is I make it significant. It’s not just that I have a judgment that shirt is too blue. It’s that I have a judgment that shirt is too blue. It’s wrong that I have that judgment. It’s significant. As soon as I make something wrong, I have a vested interest in not seeing myself do it. I’m vested in me not being a wrong bad person. I’m going to conduct myself in such ways. I’m, first of all, going to avoid as best I can doing these things I judge. When I do see them, I’m going to be vested in not consciously being aware of them. Whatever we judge and deem to be wrong, bad and effective or whatever terms you use for your own judgment, that’s what you are invested in keeping from your own consciousness.

Finding The Blind Spots

This is the foundation for this conversation. Whatever you judge in yourself and in others, you will be predisposed to have in your blind spots. Your judgment of something all but ensures that you can rarely, if ever, see it in yourself. There’s a caveat here. The caveat is people say, “I have lots of judgments about myself. I see myself when I’m doing it.” These are the places where you’re willing to see your judgments. Making yourself wrong for them is part of your pattern. It’s not that once you have a judgment, “I hate it when people are bullies.” There are select places where you’re going to be consciously able to see this. That’s part of why blind spots are so tough to see. We can see it but then at the same time, not.

We can see it in the places that we’ve deemed it’s acceptable or we’re allowed to see it in nowhere else. It’s the places where we would insist that we would never do that thing. That’s where your blind spot lies. You can take a moment to think, “What is something that I judge people for?” Are you able to see places where you might do that same thing? Usually we’re like, “I can see a few places. I’m willing to say that I see it over here.” The next lever would be to see where are you certain you would never do that? Where without a doubt, are you unwilling to even consider the possibility that you would be this certain way in these areas? That’s where real blind spot tends to be.

GL 149 | Leader’s Judgment

Leader’s Judgment: Whatever you judge in yourself and in others, you will be predisposed to have in your blind spots.


Blocking Judgment

We want to shift. First of all, it’s important here. If you can’t, a lot of people get stopped right here, “Adam, I don’t have judgments.” I remember I’ve talked, interviewed and worked with a lot of people. The more insistent you are that you don’t do a thing, the more certainly I can tell you it’s in your blind spot. The trouble is as long as you’re insisting, I’m wrong about that. The rest of this conversation can have any impact with you. To the best of your ability, you have to set that resistance down if it’s real for you, if it’s there. Let’s talk about what happens next. When we have a judgment of something, it blocks that thing from coming up.

Let’s say that I grew up with a judgment about anger. I came by this because my grandfather who raised me was incredibly angry. I learned watching that and experiencing that there is no place ever for anger. Anger is wrong. I for one will not contribute to more anger in the world. Over the next years of my life, that story becomes compounded, built upon. It becomes the foundation for how I show up in my life. I live my life from that story. The way I show up into my life and the life I create around me is all a function of anger has no place. We have, first of all, a little bit of a problem. Anger is innate to humans. It would be like if someone said, “There’s no place for fear. I don’t have any fear.” You do. You just can’t see it. The reason I can tell you with certainty is because having fear is human.

The only way you could have no fear at all is if somehow you managed to push out all of what life has to offer. People do this. That’s silly. It would be like if someone had learned that breathing was wrong and then walked around insisting to us that they do not breathe. We know that’s false. To be a human machine means to draw breath. You cannot do it, judge or be angry. These are qualities in a human being. If we were like, it never rains, the world has rain. That is part of the world. It comes with that. I’ve got these judgments about anger. I’ve got a story that is never okay to be angry. What happens is I have no space to get my anger up into the open when it’s showing up. You could imagine. It’s like I have to hold my anger down. I’m unconsciously keeping my anger bottled below the level of my consciousness. What tends to happen from this is that people get into dynamics with other people.

Let’s imagine we’ve got someone called Roger and we’ve got someone called Betty. Roger has this relationship to his anger. He’s got no capacity for it. Anger is wrong. Betty does something that upsets Roger. Roger is angry. The trouble is Roger can’t be angry. He has no capacity. He has no space. He has no allotment or allowance for his own anger. What happens is that underneath Roger’s angry, on the surface, Roger does whatever allows him to indirectly express his anger without having to be angry or express his anger. That might occur in a number of ways. It might occur through passive aggression. It might occur by Roger getting fixated on the rules and pointing out how it’s wrong what Betty did. This is a way for Roger to correct and to change how Betty shown up without owning his anger.

Having fear is to be human. Click To Tweet

The challenge here is that the truth is that Roger is hurt and angry at Betty, but he can’t own that fact. Remember he can’t own it because it’s wrong in his mind for him to be angry. He can’t say, “Betty, I’m angry at you.” Betty can’t do anything to clean that up. Roger can never get out of being trapped this way by his anger. Instead, he goes into the world. He tells people what’s right, wrong or passive aggressive. He cuts people out of his life. He does whatever he does as an indirect reaction to his anger without ever being able to get out from under the foot of his anger. He cannot let his anger come up and so he cannot let it go. The impact of this is that we can’t see our own when we’re showing up shady, grouchy, grumpy, angry or whatever you hold as a bad way to be as a human or as a leader.

In The Context Of Leadership

Let’s talk about this in the context of leadership. Growing as a leader in large part, it’s about expanding our capacity to be with more of life as it shows up. I’m going to elaborate on this. First, here are some ways to avoid being with something, holding our breath, contorting or contracting either physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually, any kind of closure. We can avoid, life hack around or figure out sophisticated ways not to have something show up in our life, which is physical avoidance. I’ll create a company where I only hire super smart people. I never have to be around someone that seems stupid to me. That’s a way of avoiding being with something in life.

We can do emotional avoidance. Rather than feel the thing that we’re avoiding, we can instead retreat up into the safety of our thoughts, concepts, analysis. We can do spiritual avoidance. Reframe the situation so you don’t have to be with the truth. Instead, perpetually live in a silver, higher altitude lining. We can disconnect from the moment and from our impact so we don’t have to be with that. We can ghost. Refuse to listen to people. Insist when people try to give us feedback. They were a truth teller. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to stick around, which is a very effective way to say, “I’m not willing to listen to my impact on you. Instead, you get to be with me or you get to leave.”

These are all ways of avoiding being with something. All of these are hindrances. There are places where we can’t be with all of the abundance life is putting in front of us, which is fine. This is not about people being wrong for doing this. This is about inviting you to consider that if your commitment is to grow as a leader, then that is about expanding your capacity to be with more of life as it shows up. Each of these things I’ve listed plus one billion and five more are all places and ways you don’t be with life as it shows up. In order to practice being with something new, you have to allow it to be there, “I can’t be with anger if I don’t have any places in my life where anger ever shows up. If I’ve removed all of the angry people from my life and I’ve buried my anger so far below surface that I can’t feel it, there’s never going to be a capacity for me to develop my ability to be with that. I don’t have the place to practice.”

GL 149 | Leader’s Judgment

Leader’s Judgment: On top of your judgment, you attach a bunch of meanings. That’s all your own stuff about it. That’s fine. That’s your judgment.


This is what people think they’re doing when they create these life hacks. They believe that they’re growing, creating a transformation but in fact, they’re contracting from life. They’re pulling away from the richness of life and the opportunity to be with everything that people bring, as opposed to the stuff we’re comfortable with. If I’m perpetually suppressing my own anger, I have no capacity to be with it because I can’t allow it in the space. When people tell you, when people insist, they never get X, whatever X is, judgmental, angry, shitty, cruel, cold, callous, overjoyed, excited. What they are demonstrating is that they have no capacity to be with X, whatever that is. When X shows up in other people such as those that they lead, they are predisposed and on rails automatic to remove X.

Let’s go with Roger. Roger is leading people. He has no capacity with anger. When someone shows up and he’s angry, Roger doesn’t have the ability to let that person be angry. Roger’s going to move them off their anger. He’s going to tell them, “My anger has no position.” He’s going to problem solve so they don’t have to be angry. All that does is it puts his fingers in the machinery of his direct reports experience and moving through their own anger. Roger can’t be with it. He’s naturally going to move his direct report off of it. What that will do is it’s going to stop Roger’s direct report from learning the ability to be with their anger. It cascades down.

How It Interacts With Judgments

Let’s talk how this interacts with our judgments, which is what we’ve been building up to this point. Our judgments block our ability to be with stuff consequently. They’re often the compass that leads us towards our next edge in leader’s trip. If you judge being close to what people are bringing you, you’ll have no capacity to see and recognized where you are closed beyond the narrow spaces allowed for by your judgment. Let me elaborate on that. If you have a story that it’s wrong to be closed and that the right way for you to be a leader is open, I’ve seen a lot of leaders like this. They’re very insistent that they’re open to their staff. They have it wrong to be closed that makes impossible for them to even consider the places other than the ones they’ve already decided is acceptable, other than the little windows in their ego that they can see through, they have no capacity to see where they’re closed.

Consequently, when someone reflects, “You seem closed,” instead of the ability to like, “I feel embarrassed. I’m called out,” you’re simply going to explain it away because this is what your judgment requires of you. You’re not closed. You’re someone committed to being open, “How is what they’re reflecting to me not about me being closed but something else? I got it.” Then we’re off to the races. If you want to let it go, you have to be able to let it come up. This is where freedom comes from. If I’m committed to being open as a leader, it starts with my willingness to have people help me see the places I cannot see where I’m closed. Not the ones I already know. The places you already know are safe, those are the places you’re willing to show up this way. It’s the places that are blindsiding you, the places that when someone reflects your impact to you and points to the fact like, “You’re closed here.”

By doing life hacks, you're contracting from the richness life has to offer. Click To Tweet

The impact on me is I start bringing stuff to you. That’s the stuff that’s devastating to us as leaders. It’s hard for us to be with that. It’s a blinding nature of the blind spot. Consequently, what happens from there is that we pull away from it. Leadership is when we’re willing to receive that. Take the punch that we didn’t see coming in service of something beyond it. If you want to let it go, you have to be able to let it come up. Freedom comes when we surrender the idea that we already know our own game and instead are willing to be humbled with the truth. That’s the only way to create freedom. Most people are trying to create freedom by ensuring they never do a set of things. They’re like, “I’m free because I never have to worry about doing those things.” That’s not freedom. That’s a life that you perpetually have to ensure you don’t ever do or be certain with things.

Freedom comes from realizing that no matter how you be or do, you can clean up the mess. You can grow into it. From there, you don’t have to manage who you be in the world. You truly have freedom to show up exactly as you are fully expressed and then grow into whatever’s next. Many people talk about that kind of freedom. Many people crave it. Very few people create it. This isn’t easy. We are vested. We have a vested interest in not seeing our blind spots, explaining them away, pointing to how other people are doing things wrong. What do you do about it? This is simple. Often, it’s frustrating people. We like it complicated. It’s more fun.

When you notice your judgments, what do you deem unacceptable in terms of behavior, ways of doing, things to do, things to be, ways of showing up? Consider these as a compass pointing to your own blind spots. Whatever you judge, practice being with that, release the significance, release the story that you would never do these things or that you only do these things in those places you already know you do them. Instead, practice discovering the places where you show up as these qualities. Discovering to be clear does not mean, “I know I do it here.” That’s what you already know. Discovery doesn’t work that way. Discovery is where you happen upon something. You find something a new with fresh eyes unexpectedly. Practice discovering these blind spots. The best way you can do that is by being willing to listen. When people point to something and you insist that’s not what they’re pointing to, that’s your blind spot coming into contact with some reflection. The places you already know you do this stuff are the booby prize. Be in the practice of discovering them.

That’s everything that we’ve got for you. Next time, we’re going to be talking about how to complete as a leader. When I talk about complete, I mean completing relationships, projects, finishing, how to do that like a leader would. As opposed to the way we typically do, which is ghost, runaway, make the other person wrong, give up, we’re already done so what’s the point of going. How to complete as a leader? I hope you enjoyed this episode. As always, if you have any feedback, we’d love to hear from you, Feedback@AdamQuiney.com. That’s everything for this episode. Take care. Bye-bye. 

Important Links: 

About Adam Quiney

I’m an obsessive perfectionist, high-performer, former lawyer, and now an Executive Mentor. I know what it’s like to succeed easily and quickly. To blindly put my happiness in the hands of achievement.

All the success, money and possessions in the world couldn’t cure my boredom. Couldn’t produce a loving, intimate relationship with my wife…and definitely couldn’t fulfill me.