We don’t surrender when it’s convenient. We surrender when it seems utterly inconvenient. You know it when… there’s that thing you want so badly that you have poured your heart and soul into it, you dream about it at night, you visualize the moment when you finally ___ (fill in your blank here). Are you with me? And, even better, are you there right now? Then, OK, please join me and Stop, Drop, and…Surrender.

Surrender is a choice we make…a strong choice…to do nothing. But, if you are thinking, “Do nothing, sign me up!”, then, I’m afraid you are not there. (Return to above, start from ‘pour heart & soul’, then we’ll talk…) Because when you want something  so badly, doing nothing feels like torture. Like you are letting your dream slip away…but, you are not. You are manifesting it in the best of ways.

My son knows where he wants to go to college. He is only 14 and he has known since Elementary School. When I was a senior in High School, I still wasn’t sure. You see, college wasn’t in my immediate plans. It was something I knew I would do…eventually. Skating, on the other hand, had a different feel entirely. It was all I could think about…Disney On Ice…where I would get paid to skate & travel? How amazing would that be! my 17-year old self nodded. Certainly, nothing to put off. The one time I took more than a few days off from figure skating was in the 5th grade…and I remember being angry with my mother, “Never again. Not worth the rust, Mom.”

And yet, the lack of rust wasn’t paying off like it was “supposed to”. I auditioned in February of my senior year and, by mid-summer, I was receiving roommate notifications from Tufts. It looked like college was on the horizon…not my dream. How devastating. So, I had no choice but to Iet it go and start thinking about whether to take French in my first semester.

Then, boom. My world was rocked…wide open. Japan Tour. “You’re leaving in 2 days,” I was informed. The girl who had never been abroad or flown on her own would be joining Disney On Ice where? Fukuoka, Japan?! Hang on, let me get out the map (because it was 1993 and the internet was still in a developmental stage…) Why couldn’t I have gotten 6 weeks in Florida like all of the other newbies? But there was a reason and, the rest was history… as I email tonight about my next trip to Japan. That’s what dreams do. They stretch us. And, they know better than we do.

Surrender is not defeat; it is self-victory.

When we feel like our happiness, goal and/or survival hinges on others or our outer circumstances, we reclaim our willPower in the surrender. As we surrender in mind and spirit, our bodies respond with harmony and strength.

10 Steps to willPower intentionally allow plenty of room for personalization. So, make these 10 Steps personal to whatever is rocking your world this week.

  1. Surrender the form of what you want. Journal about the essence of your deepest desire instead. The essence is the manifestation. Realize the form you have in mind may not be the best form for the essence you seek. Focus on essence and journal away!
  2. Surrender to nonreaction. When someone criticizes or blames you this week, try this — do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Aside from perturbing your attackee, just see how it feels. After that initial (uncomfortable) diminishment, find the spaciousness to realize that nothing real has been diminished, and that through becoming “less”, you have actually become “more”…much more!
  3. Surrender to differences in opinions. See if you can omit these phrases in your everday conversations, “Why did you…?”, “Yes, but…” or “You should…
  4. Surrender to what is. Many limitations can be overcome externally, but others cannot; they can only be overcome internally. You have the choice to stay trapped in egoic reaction (aka intense unhappiness) or to rise above and surrender. Choose to love your limitations as the spiritual gifts they represent.
  5. Surrender to rest.  If you look around, you see the “scraped knees” and noticeable limps of those around you who have not put responsibility, discipline and mature patience into play…recognize just how fundamental surrender is for your survival
  6. Surrender to how you feel without restraint or apology. If you are happy, be happy. If you are sad, be sad. If you are going to laugh, laugh. If you want to cry your eyes out, do it. Think of your emotions (especially the strong intense ones…) as an internal alarm system designed to expose hidden desires, motivations, fears, and areas that require new wise action. Instead of making yourself wrong or weak, step back and get curious. What and where are these emotions asking us to pay attention? Let them lead you to the next step for growth and perseverance in the timing of things.
  7. Surrender to a painful truth…one that elicits feelings of resentment, anger, jealously and/or regret. (Yeah, a real good one from when you were “wronged”…) Through surrender, we create space and awareness. By not “being” the story, we no longer have to suffer in the story. Diffuse the emotional charge and surrender to what happened.
  8. Surrender the outer/inner critic. Go through your Facebook feed and take the first post that annoys you. Surrender the criticism and look in the proverbial mirror – this is a quality you are in denial about. Otherwise, it would not give you a charge. Surrender to it and own it. Jot down, “I am…” and find a few ways to honor it in your life (without harming yourself or others…or breaking any laws!)
  9. Surrender to discomfort. Finish the set even if it`s a struggle. Work 15 extra minutes after you decide it’s time to take a break or call it a day.
  10. Surrender to being clumsy or looking silly. A solo dance at your wedding. Skiing & karaoke are on the top of my lists. How about that hot hula class at the gym?

At first glance, the words surrender and willPower seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum. That happens when we confuse surrender with submission, strength with weakness, raising the flag with throwing in the towel. Surrender in a willPower sense involves stepping out of the way of ourselves and allowing the best to unfold gracefully.

We can let our lives be directed by the same force that makes flowers grow—or we can do it ourselves.” ~Marianne Williamson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit