Ever feel like things are spinning out of control?
We as humans have a deep need for a sense of control. When we feel out of control, we often experience powerful emotions that are usually a mask of underlying fears and insecurities. These emotions can trigger a range of mental and physical reactions including tension, stress, self-doubt and feeling as though we aren’t able to do anything about it.
In this episode (#25), Grace and Solonia explore why and what we try to control in life, how to distinguish what you can and can’t control, and tips to help you let go of your inner control freak.
- Trying to control everything is actually a way for people to manage their fears. We might think we’re managing things effectively but in fact when we fear something, we try to control it. If we don’t realise the need for control as an attempt to manage our fears, we end up attracting more of what we fear.
- Like we said last week, everyone has a little control freak in them. We like control because it makes us feel secure and it makes us think we can be certain about outcomes. NOT true. Truth is, we have very little control - if any - in this crazy unpredictable life.
Controlling behaviour is when we act or react with the intention of controlling our own feelings, how people feel and treat you, or to control the outcome of things. The root of controlling behaviour is fear - some examples:
- Work - how things should be done and get done, timelines, outcomes, perceptions
- People - opinions, habits, beliefs, actions, feelings, thoughts behaviours
- Relationships - timing (trying to ‘get’ a bf or married or more ‘serious’), choices (trying to ‘fix’ people who don’t want to be fixed or give unsolicited advice), character and habits (trying to change someone), emotional manipulation (playing games, being passive-aggressive)
- Beliefs and Actions - politics, economies, society, religion, environment
- Sometimes we fool ourselves. Controlling people often explain their behaviour as being highly organised. Being organised is good, but trying to control every little thing can have the opposite effect. There is a fine line and we need to be more aware of it.
WHY THE NEED TO CONTROL IS KILLING YOU (7 Reasons)
- Instability. The second level of fear has to do with our inner state of mind rather than external events or situations. When we doubt our self-worth or ability to handle life, we get consumed by fear - of failure, or success, or rejection, or of being helpless. When we rely on control to feel good, our emotional health becomes subject to the rollercoaster that is life
- Overcompensating. The third level of fear is believing that we won’t be able to handle life’s challenges and curve balls. This can be a deep-seeded fear disguised as denial, procrastination (which is really absolving yourself of responsibility to change your own behaviour), or overcompensating with our egos - arrogance, talking down to others or acting as though you always have the answers and never need help; being overly stubborn;, trying to control every situation or everybody around us. It’s exhausting, overbearing, and annoying.
- Relatability. When we allow ourselves to believe that appearing unbreakable makes us better, more worthy, or more respectable - we do ourselves a great disservice. Being able to show vulnerability is far stronger than showing strength. Being brave and secure enough to say I don’t know; This isn’t working; I need help; Could you show me a way… allows people to connect with you on a much more real level - either because they feel intimidated, unappreciated or just plain over it.
Something that comes up in my yoga practice alot which I’m always reminding myself off the matt is this: Take your practice (or life) very seriously, but don’t take yourself so seriously. This really helps me to put things into perspective - and suddenly, life feels so much lighter and freer.
YOU also become someone people will be more drawn to - excitable, adventurous, curious and BOLD. To tap into that, ask yourself: What would I do if I knew I could not fail and would never have regret? Who would I want to be if I knew that was the only way the world would see me?
- Insecurity. Practicing a beginner’s mindset - something we discussed in last week’s episode about how to ask good questions can also help. It doesn’t mean you’re any less capable, intelligent, experienced or skilled than anyone else. It just makes you human because you have the humility to accept that no man is an island. We get so caught up in proving ourselves to the world and projecting a certain image, that we forget to work on our deeper selves and the stuff that really matters.
- Stress. Trying to know and control everything puts alot of pressure on you! It makes you anxious, stressed, and can lead to depression. It sucks time and energy that you could be investing elsewhere.
- Ineffectiveness. If you’re not actively solving a problem, you’re just obsessing over an idea / assumption. This is counter-productive and more importantly super unhealthy and draining. We’ve all been there: replaying conversations in your head and imagining all the things that could go wrong… STOP
The more you try to control something, the more it controls you. We get trapped in a fear and control
cycle when we try so hard to drive outcomes because when they don’t pan out, fear intensifies. We
become obsessed over the tiniest details instead of seeing the bigger picture. This can lead to
misdirected focus and waste of resources (money / energy / time).
- Inauthenticity. And that’s the other thing about fear, control and certainty. All of these things assume there is a right or wrong way of seeing the world, making things happen, or getting things done. True freedom comes from being able to say and really believe that there no “final” answers or rules (other than not to harm anyone or yourself!) When we remind ourselves to “F the rules” we become truly free to be ourselves, to make mistakes, and to live free of worry about what others might think. It’s actually the greatest test of your true character - what do you do, say or feel when no one else knows about it.
HOW TO LET GO OF YOUR INNER CONTROL FREAK (7 Tips + Things You Can Do)
1. Control is An illusion. Understand that the only things you can really control are your attitude and reactions. That’s about it. You can prepare for a shit storm but you can’t stop it from happening (or know when it will hit)! And you can’t control how someone else might behave, but you can control how you respond to it.
Consider the fact that the only certainty we have in life is death - morbid as it sounds, it helps to really put things in perspective.
2. Unmask your fear. Reflect on your beliefs about control and why it’s so important to you. Some
questions to ask yourself:
Are you over controlling in an area of your life? Why?
What do I gain from control?
3. Release and reframe your fear. Think about how you can release or reframe your beliefs about
control. Instead, think about how you can focus on your influence - changing your behaviour to be a good
role model and set healthy boundaries for yourself.
4. Go with the flow. Actively try to go with the flow the next time your inner control freak starts clucking.
5. Change your self-talk. Make this your new mantra: I AM STRONGER THAN I THINK. If you find
yourself obsessing about something you fear - like thinking “I can’t allow my business to fail” … consider
this instead “What would I do if my business failed?”. Doing this will help you put energy into more
productive thoughts and actions. Affirmations are also a powerful tool for reminding you to take action or
calm the F down!
6. Work on and through your fears. Create a plan to help you better manage anxiety or stress. Exercise,
eat better, get more sleep. Find healthy stress relievers - meditation, spending time with friends or doing
hobbies you enjoy. Pay attention to your stress levels and how you’re feeling in general. Eliminate
unhealthy coping skills like binge drinking, complaining all the time, or anything else you tend to do when
7. Redefine What Is ‘Enough’. Stop telling yourself things would be perfect “If only…” This keeps us
stuck in a scarcity or lacking mindset - focusing on all the things we don’t have instead of the things we do
have. It’s about moving from the idea that we don’t have enough to believe we always have more than
enough - whether it’s about your abilities, your finances, your lifestyle, or anything else.
Three tools that can help:
1. Keep a gratitude journal. Reflect and write: What is amazing about my life?
2. Cultivate faith. This isn’t about religion, it’s about appreciating life’s unseen forces. Make a list of things
that make you feel inspired about the possibilities in life.
3. Celebrate others’ success. A scarcity mindset makes us see competitors, friends and partners who
have something we want as a threat because we think we can’t achieve the same. The underlying belief is
that there isn’t enough to go around. An abundance mindset teaches us to be ok with celebrating others -
knowing there’s more than enough to go around. Instead of feeling resentment or jealous, be inspired by
others’ success - let it pave the way for yours. Ask yourself: What does success feel like? What would it
look like? Write it down and inspire yourself.
We hope you enjoyed tonight’s session and as always we’ve given you plenty to reflect and DO this week to start bringing more awareness to the ways that fear may be showing up and masking itself in your life + work. So while we don’t have a free download for you tonight (which we know you love), we hope you’ll find time in your busy schedules to work through the tips and tools we’ve shared.
For those of you who may be struggling with the fear-and-control-cycle on the work front … we’ve officially announced our next in-take and start date for our 6-wk immersive online course - How To Confidently Create Your Bold Career Move (starts 14th MAY) which you can hop on over to bit.ly/boldcareer to register your early interest for.
Just note that spots are limited and registrations will open up for a very limited time so don’t miss your chance to get on our list and receive our updates over the coming weeks.
As the name suggests, the aim of the course is to help current / aspiring career changers to confidently create and take their next bold career step and overcoming personal barriers, fears and challenges is a huge part of that process. We have a proven 5-step system to help you work through that and develop an actionable plan for taking your career to the next level with confidence, courage and clarity about where you are now, where you want to go, and the steps you need to take to get there.
So whether you’re thinking about a career change, already in a transition, or feeling stuck about what’s actually next for your career, then get in touch, register your interest, or shoot over any questions here in the comments!