The Drop Principle: Free Fall With No Parachute? (How to stop doing things that you hate to do)

“How does one become a butterfly? You must want to fly so much you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.” Do you tend to stay as a caterpillar until life circumstances force you out of the cocoon? Do you prefer to stay within the comfort of the familiar, rather than listen to the inner nudge saying, “Stop doing that! Do this instead!” If so, fear is holding you in place, keeping you from listening to that inner voice.

In this article we explore the Drop Principle: the third of three keys to spending the majority of your time in your genius zone. The three Ds principle suggests that any area of life that isn’t your genius zone would be best either dropped entirely, delegated or developed into an area of genius. 

The Drop principle is simple: stop doing things that you don’t like doing. You have the choice, right now, to stop spending your time in ways that drain you. This is the most profound and scary of the 3 Ds. But our greatest fears are also smuggling our magnificence. Like a treasure chest waiting to be claimed, our magnificence lurks in the darkest corners of our fearful beliefs. This same fear chains our brilliant genius potential to the desk of excellence and the grocery aisles of surviving. 

There is a field beyond survival. A field of contribution. A field of creativity. A field that longs to be tilled by your unique care and attention; the kind of care that only you, with your lifetime of experience and preferences can give. And the choices you make  of how to spend your time and energy are keeping you from tilling the fields of your potential, leaving them fallow.

Before I took the leap to coaching full-time, I was juggling a retail job and trying to start my coaching business. Even though I was spending much of my time in my competence and incompetence zones (doing things I sucked at and didn’t enjoy), my retail job was serving me well. I enhanced my wardrobe, built an amazing network and paid the bills! But eventually, my inner voice was clearly indicating that it was time to move on. And even though DROP was the next step, my fear was strong! Beyond my fear of survival was a deeper fear. I was actually afraid of having lots of time and space on my hands. If I wasn’t buzzing around juggling a full-time job, a relationship and my own business, what would I do with myself? My fear was also a reflection of my relationship with myself and the void of the unknown. Ironically, the moment I embraced this wide-open space and stepped into it with willingness, my business began to grow with a life of its own!

What are you currently devoting your precious energy and time to that are in your zones of excellence, competence or incompetence? What can’t be delegated? (I couldn’t delegate my retail job to someone else without quitting!) What could you not possibly develop for lack of love? (Truly developing something into an area of genius takes love.) How are you keeping yourself a caterpillar?

It’s time for you to take the opportunity to face your fears about dropping and look at how you might do so. The moment you decide to make a change, the universe will rearrange itself to accommodate your new wings.


Karen McMullen is a life coach who assists people in discovering their unique genius.