A New Definition of "Surrendering"


When people hear the word “surrender,” they often think of giving up. They think surrendering means they have to walk away from whatever it is they want. This definition of “surrender” feels lousy. Why would you—and why should you—give up on your desires?


I don’t think you should.


However, I do believe there are times when you have done everything in your power to turn your desire into reality … and it just isn't happening. You might be doing everything in your power to save your marriage, to fight a disease, or to secure your dream job, but what you are doing doesn't seem to be working.


This is the time to surrender, but that does not mean you should give up.


My way of surrendering is about letting go of control without giving up your desires. I call it surrendering with intention.


How do you do it? When you feel like you are spinning your wheels, first reaffirm your desire by writing it down or stating it out loud. Then, make a conscious effort to let go of trying to control the way it manifests.


Surrendering with intention requires acknowledging that some things are outside of your control … and accepting that perhaps your lack of control is a good thing.


Maybe there are even forces outside of you that are better equipped to help you achieve your desires than you are, or perhaps there is an outcome you have not considered that would actually serve you better than the outcome you are seeking.


From your vantage point today, you cannot see all that will unfold. You have no idea what small and unexpected detour will lead to a whole new experience. You cannot know the blessings that might arise from today’s tragedy or the people who will enter your life at serendipitous times. You cannot accurately predict the small situations that will unfold in seemingly miraculous ways. You cannot know that when you walk into the grocery store on Tuesday at 4 pm, you will meet the partner of your dreams. You cannot know that your company will hire a new CEO, who creates a role for you that is bigger and better than everything you ever wanted. You cannot know that the disease you have today will give you the wisdom to help a loved one overcome a similar disease.


When you are so intent on fighting to get your way, you may fail to see the unexpected opportunities presented to you. But when you unwind and stop being beholden to a specific outcome, you will be able to see the doors that are opening as other ones close.


When you surrender with intention, you shift your energy from fight-mode to possibility-mode, and you often find unexpected gifts along your path.


In this context, surrendering is not the end of story but the beginning of a new chapter of the story. You are opening the way for life to unfold in a manner you might not have chosen but that might surprise and delight you.


So, how do you surrender with intention?


  1. Declare what you desire (verbally or in writing),

  2. Tell your support system, the powers that be, the universe, God, or whatever you believe in, what you desire. And then …

  3. Be curious and open-minded about what shows up for you. Assume the best, look for the positive, and say “yes” as often as you can.


Remember: Life is lived in the journey, not the destination. When you loosen your focus on the outcome, you open to the possibility of moment after moment of goodness.


What have you been fighting to control that you could surrender with intention?



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