Skip to main content


Shawn Tolleson discusses clearing clutter in your life, making room for change, and asking, what can to let go of.

Shawn Tolleson is a career coach working with screenwriters and other entertainment industry professionals. She gives you the practical tools you need to accomplish your dream career. Check out blogs, videos, classes and more at! Follow Shawn on Twitter: @shawntolleson

Click to tweet this article to your friends and followers!

DREAM CAREER TOOLKIT: What Can You Let Go Of? by Shawn Tolleson | Script Magazine

What is it time to let go of?

If you’ve been following me at all, you might know that I recently undertook a massive move with my family. My husband Gregory, who works in television most of the time, has described himself as a “FedEx package.” Meaning he gets shipped off to all sorts of locales for work. In the last two seasons months alone it’s been Mexico City, Savannah, GA, Atlanta, GA, Chicago, Toronto, Virginia, and Vancouver, BC. I might be forgetting one or two.

This is largely the result of runaway production. And since it’s unlikely to change in the near future, a few years ago we started strategizing a family move to a place where he’d be able to go to work in the morning and come home at night.

And so on August 1st Gregory, myself and our twin 5 year olds Niccola and Allegra all got into a U-haul pulling a car trailer and car alongside a mini-van packed to the top. We drove for three days and then crossed the border into Canada and pulled up at our new house in Vancouver.

Because Gregory was on the television show Fear The Walking Dead, the organization and packing largely fell to me. As you can imagine, it was a cathartic and confronting experience. We had lived in our townhouse for 11 years and in that time had gone from being a married couple to a family of four.

Over and over again I found myself asking the question, “What can you let go of?” And this question brings me to today’s blog.

What can you let go of?

Often when I’m working with clients there comes an a-ha moment where they realize that in order to accomplish their next big goal, they will have to let go of something- sometimes much more then one thing—to create space for their next big leap.

There are lots of examples of this in our lives… If we get sober, we often have to leave behind our drinking buddies. When we have children, the friends who were our wing-men and women at clubs and events become less a part of our lives. This is the wheel of time and change. It’s part of life.

But sometimes it can be helpful—or even liberating—to consciously and pro-actively assess our lives. Instead of leaving things behind because of circumstance, to proactively choose what activities, people and objects we want to have in our lives now. What our values are now, and then to seek out what reflect those values.

Does this hit you close to (your cluttered) home?

If this feels like something you want or need to do, here are a few steps to help you through this process…

Let’s start by listing your top 5 values. Here are some examples to get you going… Spirituality. Family. Community. Health. Creativity. Service or Contribution. Education. Personal Growth. Relationship with Significant Other. Integrity. Money. Productivity.

As you list these values, some things or people or habits might jump out at you right away. These things might not be aligned with your values as you’ve prioritized them. Make a list of what jumps out at you. You might not have to dig that far for things to let go of. They might present themselves straight-away.

This could include a person who despite being your friend is actually toxic for you. Or a habit that despite your in-the-moment enjoyment isn’t really aligned with your values-- and therefore is hindering your growth.

Once you have your list of your top 5 values, my next suggestion is to walk around your home and workspace and take time to look at things. Ask yourself, “Is this ___________ aligned with my values? Is this serving my goals?”

If there are things that need to go, put them into a bag for Goodwill and put them in the truck of your car to drop off.

If there are things you want to consider, make a “consider” pile and schedule time to come back to them and consider.

If there’s a stack of stuff that needs to be sorted through, schedule time in your calendar to tackle it.

If there are people that you need to move on from, plan to discuss this with your therapist or a trusted confidante. You will want to do this with integrity. It might or might not require a conversation. Sometimes it’s simply a change of habits so that you spend less time with them. Sometimes it is a conversation and you’ll want some support to do this gracefully.

If it’s a change of habit, get the support you need. Maybe it’s a class, a group, an accountability partner, a trainer or coach.

Whatever it is, look for ways to handle each item, person or habit proactively. It will make the change smoother, and bring you closer to your goal.

Last but not least, when you create space, don’t be in a hurry to fill it! The point of letting go of things is not necessarily to fill it back up. Enjoy the feeling of more time and more space—physically, mentally, emotionally.

Maybe more space is the new normal.

© Shawn Tolleson, Strategy Coaching, Inc. 2015

Get More Advice from Shawn in her On Demand Webinar
How to Ace a Meeting with an Executive, Producer, or Agent


Set S.M.A.R.T. writing goals to learn how to meet the deadline and be more efficient in your writing with our FREE Writing Goal Worksheet.

Download this free guide to set better writing goals and improve how you meet deadlines today!

writing goals

[form id="241776"]