If you know me well, you might be surprised to learn that I’m a bit of a control nut. BIG surprise, right? Lol! Well, I guess it’s no secret that control has been a lifelong issue for me. It would not be unusual for me to get myself all tangled in a hissy fit when things do not go my way or go as I had planned. I think that comes from the need for stability. I don’t do well when I am not prepared, nor do I shift gears easily. The good news is I can usually think quick on my feet and re-adjust as necessary. On the outside I might appear as though I am shuffling to get re-organized and back on track and I barely break a sweat, but on the inside I feel as though all the walls are closing in, the floor opens beneath me and I’m spiraling into a dark abyss. (Another shocker for you: I can be a bit dramatic in my descriptions of emotions). Needless to say, when I’m out of control, my internal alarms start firing and I’ll either come off as aggressive to get back on top or I leave the situation altogether. Effective? Perhaps. Is it the best approach? Maybe not. Can I improve? Absolutely!
I recently gained an awareness of the peace in letting go. Holding onto the past and worrying about the future create a lot of anxiety. So many of us spend our time analyzing and trying to prepare for what’s next and kick ourselves for any mistakes previously made. If we really think about it, the only control we really have is in today. I wish I had come to this realization much earlier in my life, perhaps it would have saved me a whole lot of anxiety, worry, guilt and regret. However, I guess in the big picture view, it’s through those many lessons that I have a great appreciation for what I know and what I have experienced along the way.
Letting go does not mean giving up. It simply means letting go of what I cannot control and empowering myself to know and understand that I am truly only in control of myself and how I choose to respond to any situation. There is great power in knowing that regardless of what is happening around you, you and only you, have the power to determine your response and actions. A reaction is a reflex; it’s based in a default tendency of how you feel, think, and perceive a situation; the normal way you interpret things that happen in your life. When we allow our reactions to control our emotions, our emotions lead without logic; we don’t look at each situation from a wider view. However, if we pause to take note of where our emotions lie and recognize what that “knee-jerk” reaction is telling us, then we can logically decide how we want to respond. Through that awareness we can choose what is appropriate for each situation.
So what are you holding on to right now? What’s filling your hands, heart and mind and restricting you from embracing anything else? As leaders, we at times let those things weigh us down and distract us from our goals and success. We agonize over the “what ifs” and “should haves” and even worse, our inner critic begins to tell us all the reasons “it won’t work”. What would happen if we let that go? What if we trusted in ourselves and our abilities, listened to our intuition and owned our talents and gifts to keep a forward focused mindset!? How would it look if our “what ifs” were seen as part of the greater experience, the “should haves” became the moments we saw our most growth and the “it won’t work” was silenced because it does not serve our solution-based focus!
I challenge you to let go of the reaction and embrace the power of choice. Then choose how you want to respond. Choose what you allow to take up space in your thoughts and feelings and choose how you want to show up in life!