Is it possible to live more fully, more joyously, and more abundantly by controlling your life without being in control? I think it is, and I’ll be interested in knowing if you agree after you’ve finished reading this.
What is control, anyway? For too many of us, it’s having a rigid set of rules by which we lead our lives starting from what time we get up each morning, what actions we take, where we work, who we associate with…all the things we do…from which we never vary. Nor are we inclined to allow others around us to vary either. What happens, unfortunately, is that when we think we are in control and someone else breaks the rules, or some unforeseen event intercedes, we have no guiding compass to return us to life as we know it. We only know about the box we created, and we become desperate to find an old solution to a new problem. If we can create space for out-of-the-box experiences, however, we allow new solutions from potential sources we previously would not have considered when we encounter life’s challenges.
If you want to gain more control in your life, then, you may want to consider having fewer controllers. In other words, blur the lines, lighten up, and experience more of life.
To be in control while out of control, however, you do need a few guidelines. Here are my suggestions:
- Always be curious but open. One of the toughest tasks we have is to be in a situation without judgement. For example, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, I struggled not to compare my situation with several of my relatives, and my friends who had also been likewise diagnosed. I admit, I wanted to panic, to assume the worst would happen. I chose not to. Sometimes only moment by moment, but I persisted in looking at all potential treatment options before making a decision. By not rushing to judgement, I put myself in control. I gave myself the calm confidence of accepting my fears, while open and curious about what lessons I might learn.
- Transform your journey. When you step out of your comfort zone to explore something new, you create the potential for new relationships and a different way of being. You can just enjoy your journey, which would be more than many do, or you can deliberately choose to transform your journey to delve into the mystery and opportunities that abound all around you. Have you always wanted to know what it would be like to create an entirely different identity for yourself? For example, if you’re currently an accountant, but love photography, and can picture yourself (pun intended) as a world-renown photographer, begin your transformational journey by investing in yourself with photography classes and camera, and read the biographies and autobiographies of successful photographers…without attaching to any fear that you can’t do it. While it doesn’t sound that tough, most people don’t do it, because it feels out of control.
- Be of great faith. Within our cultural background, criticism of any failure is exceedingly common, and one of the biggest deterrents, I believe, to allowing us to believe that it’s good to stretch into bigger dreams and goals. Yet when you step outside the box to truly consider a broader perspective, and take risks that feel even moderately out of control, you can also find great great joy and great success, even when you stumble on the way. Do you know of any successful people who wouldn’t tell you they have had failures? I don’t. Yet they go on; learn from their efforts, and have faith that success is theirs even when they haven’t achieved it…yet.
So, are you ready to give up a little of that rigid control that’s been holding you back from exploring your potential and reaching for the life of your dreams? Maybe you need a coach or mentor. It’s very helpful, as there’s nothing like someone with whom to share the journey, to help you hold yourself accountable to achieve whatever it is you set out to do. I have more than one and have developed a network of supporters who help me control my overarching objectives without letting me stay in my old comfort box or zone.
Learn to let go of control so you can control a bigger life. I did. It’s been my greatest success …to date.