Do you like to be in control? Do you get tired of hearing how we can’t be in control of everyone and everything all the time? I do. I like to think I’m a super hero who can save the world and travel it at the same time! Well, I have news for you – while we cannot control the weather, death or another’s thoughts, we do have more control than we realize! I’ve been taking a good long look at the ways that I try to control life. Most of it is rooted in fear. I get into power struggles (often with myself) and I get impatient and frustrated when things don’t run smoothly. I notice that if I don’t get enough sleep, I clutch onto outcomes more than usual.
But while we don’t have control over most things, we DO have control of a few things! Today, I’m going to share 10 things we can claim and CONTROL!
1. Our actions. We alone are responsible for what we do. Okay, so this may not feel like a good one to start with, huh? I mean our actions are not the first thing we want to claim responsibility for! When we lose control, and we blurt out hurtful comments, or become passive aggressive, or throw an tantrum because things didn’t go as planned… we would love more than anything to blame our circumstances for our behaviors. But we can’t, can we? Not if we want to be empowered! So on the flip side, we can take charge of every single action we take. We have the ability to monitor our emotions and speak our truth with kindness and compassion. Everyone is capable of doing that, right? So let’s choose wisely! Life will be so much more enjoyable!
2. Our words. Spoken or written, the words we choose impact our lives and the lives of others. Ahhh, yes. Our words. Have you ever stopped to listen to yourself speak to your kids when you are stressed out? Have you ever stopped to listen to what they hear when you are talking to your friend on the phone? Are you gossiping? Are you berating someone or something? Are you complaining or whining? Your words are powerful and sometimes they land hard on someone’s heart, whether or not you mean for them to. Choose wisely!
3. Our beliefs. If we believe that others should take care of our needs, then we will be frustrated when they don’t. We can change our beliefs. We have a lot of beliefs that we hold onto no matter what. Some are rooted all the way back to our childhood. I spend a lot of time helping my clients re-evaluate some of those beliefs that no longer serve them. “Money doesn’t grow on trees.” “Snooze you lose!” “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” There is wisdom in many of our beliefs… no question about that. But at some point, we take those beliefs too far and they quit serving us. Don’t be afraid to examine your beliefs. Why do you do the things you do? Why don’t you take more risks? What would happen if you looked beyond your own beliefs and learned something new? I’m not suggesting you give up those foundational beliefs… the ones that keep you firmly planted in your truth. But many of our beliefs were taught to us from someone else’s experience and FEAR! So just take a look and be willing to let go if a belief is holding you down or causing you to play small.
4. Our values. What’s important to us is our call. No one else can tell us what to value. This is one area that is touchy. For me, my values are simple truths that I believe connect me to the rest of humanity. But for others, their values are different. It isn’t up to me to change someone else’s values or judge them because their values are different than mine. I wouldn’t want to be judged nor would I want my values challenged. The important thing to know is that you control what your values are and you decide whether or not you will compromise them. I’m often amazed at how difficult it is for clients to identify and own their values! Take some time to get clear about your top ten values…. And then stand by them!
5. Our work. Although many of us complain of being stuck in a job or profession, we do actually get to choose what our work in the world is. This is a biggie. One of the hardest things to do in the world is leave a J.O.B. to follow your passion. But I see it happening all the time and every person has the potential to step into his or her own calling! Find what you love and pursue with all your might! You don’t have to settle for a lifetime of work that doesn’t feed your soul. FEAR and scarcity will hold you back for 40 years if you let it! Gather up the strength and create a plan to break away from the mundane cubicle and paycheck and start doing what you love! You can choose to begin right now! If money and time were not an issue, what would you do?
6. Our friends. Those we associate with say a lot about what we think about ourselves. We can choose to have friends who support us or who bring us down. Oh boy. Now this is an area that we have a LOT of control over. But it isn’t easy when you need to put distance between you and someone who no longer serves your well-being. They say you become like the five people you spend the MOST time with. Right now… list those people. Are you keeping good company? Create your sacred circle of friends who will support you and care enough about you to always tell you the truth – even if you don’t like hearing it!
7. Our input. We can select our sources of news, turn off televisions and/or ignore advertising. Since my children were really little, I was passionate about the kind of ‘imprinting’ or ‘input’ they allowed into their minds. What we watch on television, the music we listen to, the books we read, the movies we see… even the news each day… they all leave an imprint on us. Is it an imprint you want to have? Does it weigh you down or lift you up? Do you feel inspired, creative, and energized? Or do you feel frustrated, grumpy, and edgy? Control what you allow into your day-to-day experience. It matters. Seriously… choose wisely!
8. Our time. Though it sometimes feels like we have no choice, we do choose every day how we will use the 24 hours a day gives us. Oooooh! I love this one! Stop to think about. We have the same 24 hours that the president has. We have the same 24 hours/day that authors of best-selling books have. We have the same amount of time each day as people who are running companies, training for marathons, writing music, and traveling the world! So saying we don’t have time is really a funny statement, isn’t it? We do have time… we just aren’t controlling what we do with that time! Do you give your time away? Do you fritter it away on meaningless, unnecessary tasks? Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many of us do that too! But what I want you to think about is this: If you DID have control over your own time, what would you do each day? I love that question… and my life doesn’t look like what I describe when I answer that. But I’m working on aligning my life to that dream. How about you?
9. Our basic health. While we cannot control our genetic make-up, we can choose to exercise, sleep enough, eat healthy food, get routine check-ups, etc. This one kicks my butt. Seriously. My mom recently fell and hurt her hip, wrist, elbow and shoulder. Each night, I hear her trying to get comfortable as she moves from side to side. I thought to myself, “I don’t have to hurt when I lay down to go to sleep.” And I also noted that if I don’t take care of my body, I might hurt for many nights when I grow older. Right now, I don’t have one reason for not exercising and eating healthy. I can take care of myself, I am choosing not to. I’m choosing to say I don’t have time. So I suppose I need to go back to #8 and read that one again! Get active! Eat healthy! Feel vibrant!
10. Our legacy. All that we choose while alive-our actions, words, etc. – will become the gift we leave when we die. I thought about this for a long time. This past week, Maria von Trapp passed away at the age of 99. She was the last of the von Trapp children. Their family story and the movie itself was quite a legacy to leave. And I wondered, “What is my legacy?” I don’t know. When I look back on my life so far, I’m not sure I’ve left an impact on anyone. I’m not sure I can claim any particular legacy as my own. But I have the ability to do so with the rest of my life. That I do have control over. What about you? What’s your legacy going to be?
So, as you can see, we have a whole lot more control than we thought we did, right? Keep focusing on what you can control and let go of trying to control everything (and everyone) else! Just think how much your life will improve!