control buttonDo you ever feel like you have ZERO CONTROL over certain aspects of your life?  Well, that’s true.  There are many areas where you don’t have ANY control.  Recognizing that is not such a bad thing - and it is certainly better than focusing your time, energy, and attention on aspects of your life that you really can’t control.  Let’s think about this further.

Create a Venn diagram with four interlocking circles arrayed left to right.  These represent gradually decreasing areas of control.  The first circle would be those areas over which you have total control and the circle on the far right of your diagram should be labeled, Zero Control (and that includes Zero Impact and Zero Influence, in case you’re wondering).  SO MUCH of what we (and those around us) are freaked out about falls here. If you take a look at your mental list of what is causing you significant anxiety, you may find some items that belong in this last circle.  Do I even need to give you examples? We all have things on our list that realistically fall into this last set, but yet we treat them as if they belong somewhere else.

While I know that we have a range of income ranges who are reading this article, I believe I can say with some assurance that none of you buy and sell enough stock to have an impact on what happens with the stock market. The stock market is out of our control. We also have zero control over the weather and whether a hurricane or an earthquake are going to hit somewhere and cause damage.  So why worry about the stock market or the weather?  It makes no sense, does it?

If you spend your time flailing about in this last circle, you are wasting time, talent, and energy. And you look ridiculous. Believe me. I’ve been here and it’s not pretty. Pounding on the counter at American Airlines because the plane hasn’t arrived and now I’m going to be late.  Please.  How embarrassing (I was younger and not quite as wise then and thought I was in charge of more).  Oops. There I go digressing again.

You will notice in your Venn diagram that there is overlap for your four circles. That’s because there are some items that are sometimes more in one circle than another and so with the Venn diagram you drew, it acknowledges that reality.  For example, if your father has Parkinson’s disease, although you have no control over that disease and the fact that he has it, you can at least feel like you have some influence on how it’s affecting him, so you take steps to get him assistance and care so it laps over a bit into the next circle to the left.

Next time you - or someone around you - is anxious or starting to wig out about something, bring out the diagram and think through where that ‘something’ falls. If it is completely under the person’s control, then take control and do something. If it is in the second circle, then see what actions can be taken that will have significant impact on the situation or outcome. If it is in the third circle, ‘some influence,’ then make choices and exert the influence that is possible. And, of course, if it is really out of your control, then acknowledge that and let it go.

Note: The past falls into that last circle. I hope you didn’t miss that sentence. For some of you, it was worth reading the entire article just for that piece.

And to help you manage your time and commitments, you will want to access the teleseminar, ATP: Available to Promise How much time & energy (truthfully) do you have ‘available to promise’?, available for immediate download.

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