I’m writing this week’s blog as I am at the back of a big conference room in Kent. I am here as part of an executive coaching team, coaching people to be able to present / speak from stage / speak to camera.
And, as often happens, the speaker has gone off track. The agenda for the day is going down the swannie. We should have completed the current exercise and gone to lunch half an hour ago. And there is nothing I can do about it. It’s actually fine, the reason we are over-running is that the speaker is giving extra value and the crowd are enjoying it.
However, it made me think.
There are many times when things happen and there is nothing we can do about it. So, if you are a control freak, like me, how do you get back in control?
Well, in anything in life there is really only one thing you can ever control. And that is YOU. You have one choice when anything happens. You can choose how you respond to it. Either you can bitch and moan (I know – I have been known to do that too), or you can reframe it.
For example, when you get stuck in traffic, you can worry about being late, you can curse your bad luck OR you can decide that you have been given the gift of time and get on with something. If you are on a train you can get some emails replied to, or read, or google the answer to a question that’s been puzzling you.
If you are in a car you can call your Mum (hands free of course) or listen to a podcast.
But what if it is something more serious?
Two years ago I was coaching someone on their public speaking. This guy was enthusiastic and wanted to become a coach and help others. BUT. He had golden handcuffs. You know the ones – made out of BIG salary and the many benefits that kept him tied to his desk, and fearful of changing his life.
One day his life changed in a way that he had no control over. One of his children took their own life. There is probably nothing in life more serious than that.
Now he could have given up on life. He could have used it as a reason for staying safe in his golden handcuff comfort zone. And for a little while he did. Totally understandable. Until one day he rang me. He had made a decision to make this terrible event have incredible meaning. He started his business.
Just over a year later he has impacted 10,000 lives and he will go on to impact many many thousands perhaps millions more. And that has given him some ‘control’ over the uncontrollable. He has reframed his life, he has chosen to take back control, by choosing and channelling his reactions and his actions.
I have immense admiration for him. He is helping so many people, through his choices. Now of course, he would give up everything he has to have his child back. Who wouldn’t? But THAT is not in his control. What IS in his control is his own thoughts, his own actions, his own reactions.
So – how do you control the things you can’t control? You find the bits you can control. Because if you don’t, then you are at the mercy of the world, other people, events. One thing that has helped is his network.
When you have the support of others who are like minded, and want to go forward positively, then that helps.
You just have to reach out, and ask. Which is often the hardest thing to do. But just do it. OK ?