Control is the most common source of anguish in our lives. Most of us secretly would like to control the actions and choices of those who impact us the most—our spouses, parents, children, ex-spouses, bosses, co-workers, etc. If we could just convince them that our way is the best way, our lives would be so much easier. If we could just get others to behave in ways that make sense to us, our problems would diminish. If we could live in a world where people accommodated our needs, life would be great.
And then, there’s reality.
I know you’re thinking, “I don’t want to control everything and everyone. I know that’s not possible.”
I know you think you are the reasonable one. The one that understands what you have control over and what you don’t. I know you believe that it is those other people who are so controlling. But guess what?
You are that person. We all are.
Whether you are conscious of this or not, you spend a lot of time and energy trying to control people and things that are completely outside of your control. You leave notes for your husband in hopes that he will remember to complete your “to do” list today. You lie to your wife to avoid her anger. You threaten your kids so they will complete their chores and stay out of trouble. You spread gossip at the office about your co-worker so you will get more recognition and she will get less. And so on and so on.
We are all busy squiring about trying to control our world. Sometimes we win but most of the time our strategies lack integrity and end in conflict, disappointment, frustration, or outright war.
So what can we do instead?
I’m certainly not suggesting you live your life in a way that relies on chance alone. You don’t want to be a victim of circumstance or someone who does not act to achieve your goals and create your life. You do have power.
While you will never have control over what others think and do, you do can influence others and take actions that impact situations and interactions. Here are five golden rules to help you manage your need for control.
- Identify what is most important to you. What do you want to create or impact and why?
- Understand where you have control and where you do not. Be honest with yourself.
- Get your emotions under control first. While you are entitled to feel frustrated, worried or angry, good decisions always come from a place of balance. Remember, you do not live on an island. You will always need to consider and work with other people’s agendas and needs. Avoid power struggles whenever possible.
- Take time to consider your options. Look at the short-term and long-term risks, rewards, and unintended consequences. See what actions are in alignment with your intentions and goals. Make sure your personal integrity is intact. Consider where your motivations lie and course correct as needed.
- Focus on where you do have control and influence, and act accordingly. This may take the form of communicating with others, decision-making, accommodating, withdrawing, compromising, motivating, inspiring, and taking actions that move your life forward.
So, the next time you struggle with wanting control, taking control and losing control, follow the five golden rules. In doing so, you will retain your personal power, be more effective in achieving your goals, and build positive relationships with those around you.
If you or someone you know is struggling with the issue of control, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. Take advantage of the opportunity to receive the support and guidance you deserve. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Contact me at 310-379-5855 or email me to schedule an appointment and start creating the life you choose today.
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