A Publication of WTVP

Even though I hate to admit it, my career as a business strategist has not made me immune to unexpected pressures that undermine my personal productivity and leave me feeling temporarily out of control. Recently, a conversation with a friend about this topic reminded me how much of our lives we actually do have control over. It’s simply a matter of reframing our perspective.

Beth dreads Monday mornings. Despite feeling burnt out and unfulfilled as a university professor, she knows she’ll lose her tenure if she leaves. Her thought: “I have no control over the system.”

David’s co-worker doesn’t take feedback well, so David works late every night, cleaning up the co-worker’s projects to improve their team’s performance. His thought: “I can’t control how other people are.”

Linda wants to launch her own business but has been told by friends that she doesn’t have what it takes to make the leap. Her thought: “I can’t control what others think of me.”

All three are correct…it’s often not possible to control a system, another person’s behavior or others’ impressions, but that doesn’t mean that Beth, David and Linda have no control over their situations. What we can control often has more power to affect a situation than any control we might try to exert over others.

Consider the power available to us in:

David could learn ways to approach his colleague which stand a better chance of being heard. His cover-up does the co-worker no good. Beth might want to examine her belief that the only way she can feel financially secure is to have tenure—or her belief that doing something else that is fulfilling and stimulating won’t provide well enough for her. Linda may need to find some new friends! Or, if their concerns are legitimate, she could take courses to learn missing skills or work with a business coach who specializes in start-ups.

If there’s a situation in your own life or business that is causing you to feel trapped, ineffective or simply miserable, take a moment to consider the elements of personal power above. You may find the solution you need in an unexpected approach. IBI