You Can’t Control What You Can’t Control

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I have spent a lot of my coaching time this week trying to redirect clients away from issues that are stressing them out. Why would I want to change their focus away from obvious challenges? Because there are some things we just can’t control.

When you spend time worrying about things you can’t control, you get distracted from the things you can control, you become preoccupied, and ultimately you waste time and energy on something that has no positive outcome. The stress you create in the process makes you fixate on the wrong stuff and it immobilises you. The proverbial deer in the headlights!

If you are wasting a lot of time worrying about things you can’t control, stop it! Here’s where you need to focus your attention:

Things you CAN control
When you find yourself worrying, take a minute to examine the things you have control over. You can’t control the storm that’s brewing, but you can prepare for it. You can’t control other people’s behaviour, but you can control your reaction.

Sometimes, all you can control is your effort and your attitude. When you put your energy into the things you can control, you’ll be much more effective in dealing with the uncontrollable’s.

Influence vs control
Control is the unilateral ability to make something happen. Influence is the ability to affect someone else’s thinking. You can influence people and circumstances, but you can’t force things to go your way.

It is important to recognise that business leaders influence their teams, either consciously or unconsciously – and that influence can be either positive or negative.

Positive influence comes from providing an enabling workplace environment, supporting positive business values, providing the tools, resources, information and support for the people around you to get things done.

Accept the worst case scenario
Ask yourself, “what’s the worst that can happen?” And if that happens, what would you do about it? Usually, the worst case scenario isn’t as tragic as you might envision and there’s a good chance you’re more robust than you think. Acknowledging that things you can’t control might happen, helps you to move on and put your energy into more productive exercises.

Deliberating vs problem-solving
Replaying conversations in your head or imagining catastrophic outcomes over and over again isn’t helpful. But solving a problem is.

If you’re wasting your time mulling things over and over, change the channel in your brain. Acknowledge that your thoughts aren’t productive and get up and go do something for a few minutes to get your brain focused on something more productive.

You need to consciously and actively solve problems, and keep working on solutions to find ways to increase your chances of success.

Think positively
I am a firm believer in the law of attraction. The more you think about negative outcomes, the more likely they are to occur. Conversely, when you focus on positive outcomes, you increase the chances of success.

Develop a few positive affirmations and healthy mantras that will keep you mentally strong. My teenage daughter often comes home from school with the word “Believe” written on her hand. That’s when I know she was having feelings of self-doubt and insecurity. It’s her little phrase she uses to give herself a pep talk to snap out of it and believe in herself and her ability.

“Let’s do it!” “Make it happen!” “I’ve got this!” Whatever motivates you to think positively!

Have a great weekend!

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