I often see clients struggle to maintain some semblance of control over their lives both personally and professionally. I hear comments like:
" I never have control over what matters..." or "I can't seem to get control over my time..." or "My life or career is out of control!"
The first question I usually ask is: "What do you have control of?"
Amazingly, the response is often a great silence, followed by another list of what is out of control. So I ask: "Of all the people in your life, whom do you have complete control over?" This is when the light bulb comes on, eyes lighten up and and people realize that the only person they have true control over is themselves, and as for the "what they have control of" it is their thoughts, in particular their feelings and actions.
Let's look at ourselves for a moment. Each of us is given the gift to take control over who we really are, our thoughts, feelings, attitude, our actions and reactions. What a huge area of control, and what a difference we can make in our own lives and the lives of those around us - if we make use of the gift to control our thoughts and feelings.
One tool to establish control is our ability to choose.
We can choose our attitude. It takes just as much effort to choose to be happy as it does to choose to be sad. We can choose our friends and how we spend our time. We can choose to be giving or taking. We can choose how to act or react.
Of course there are learning curves for everything in life, but as we choose different actions and reactions, new and and more helpful habits are being established.
Choice is a wonderful gift when we remember to use it. I suggest that you consider the responsibility that comes with it and also the impact your choices have on you and the world around you. If you do not like the result of your choices, there is usually a next time and you can choose differently!
A second tool to establish control is found in a quote in John C. Maxwell's book "Thinking For A Change". The quote is from an unknown source but it strongly resonated with me so I felt it is worth including in its entirety:
"I am your constant companion. I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden. I will push you onward or drag you down to failure. I am completely at your command. Half of the things you do you might just as well turn over to me and I will be able to do them quickly and correctly. I am easily managed - you must merely be firm with me. Show me exactly how you want something done and after a few lessons I will do it automatically. I am the servant of all great men; and alas, of all great failures as well. Those who are great, I have made great. Those who are failures, I have made failures. I am not a machine, though I work with all the precision of a machine plus the intelligence of a man. You may run me for profit or run me for ruin - it makes no difference to me. Take me, train me, be firm with me, and I will place the world at your feet. Be easy with me and I will destroy you. Who am I? I am a habit!"
The second tool is our ability to make or break a habit.
We all have habits that support and nourish us and then there are those that hinder us. I am sure you can think of one bad habit, be it big or small, that if removed would have a deeper impact on the quality of your life.
What habit are you willing to break today?
What would it mean to you to establish a healthy and supportive habit instead.
How would that impact your life, career, relationship, business or the life of others?
They say it takes 33 repetitions to create a new habits.
I offer the following process as a method to create or change habits:
Create Clarity around what you want the habit to be.
Understand the benefits of creating this habit, what positive things it will support or what pain it will eradicate.
Build Awareness of when you want the habit to kick in.
Create Reminders for yourself.
Give yourself room for the new habit to form and strengthen. If you forget to use it, maintain awareness and put some stopgaps in place. Just like building any muscle, repetition is the key to success!
Define how you measure success and when you know that you succeeded.
My challenge to you:
Take back control over some area of your life, business, actions, attitudes or feelings. Employ the tools you have been given. Try the process of Clarity, Understanding, Awareness Reminders and Repetition and make your habits work for you!
To your ongoing success!
Regina Erhart Fasold
Executive Performance Coach