Today is National “I am in control day.” Yes, there is such a thing. This day reminds me of when I was first learning to ride a horse on my own. My uncles used to take me riding double when I was a small fry. Eventually I grew in size and needed to learn how to manage a horse by myself. I already knew how to tack up and get ready. But being on top of the horse all by myself was a whole new experience. My uncle the horse-whisperer started by clipping a lead on to the bridle. He led me around the barnyard while I discovered how to connect with the horse through the reins.
Wow. I had no idea of all the talking back and forth he did with the horse while we were flying down the farm driveway. And I had to learn how to do all of that on my own. It was scary but exhilarating at the same time. We spent weeks walking in circles, making turns, and even backing up before he was satisfied that I could work together with the horse without yanking or tugging on the reins, and I could cue the horse with my cowgirl boots when needed. Working in partnership with the horse opened up a whole new universe to me.
Maybe you have experienced something similar, where you are in control but not having to be an absolute control freak about it. Maybe it was learning how to drive your first car, ride a motor scooter or train your dog. Maybe taking salsa dancing lessons.
Whatever your beliefs around control, let’s take some time to think about being in control from a different perspective. When people think about being in control, it usually has the context of getting their personal life under control. A call to action to get things in order.
I have spent the last two years in a monthly personal energy class looking at my own behavior patterns through the lens of Steven Kessler’s “The 5 Personality Patterns.” My learned, default patterns that I resort to when I feel out of control or backed into a corner. Best as I can figure out, my primary defense mechanism is usually responding rigidly, putting up walls and rules, trying to control things I can’t control. Which usually doesn’t work very well, hence my spending a lot of energy and time relearning better, healthier ways to be in control.
My new response to stress and unpredictability is now to just to take a deep breath and relax before I jump into response mode. During the breath, I assess what is actually going on. I look for the facts. I definitely do not let my monkey mind immediately start telling me some old, distorted story from my past. That’s like letting the horse grab the bit and take over control with it. When that happens, I am immediately out of control. The horse wins. Which usually means a wild race back to the barn instead of what I want to do. Not good if my plan was to trot down the road to visit my cousins and go out for a group ride.
The brutal reality is that we all have triggers, and the mind starts to pull us into familiar old response patterns. The same old dance that gets us into trouble every time. As good old Albert says, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Start here. Start Today. Use today as the first step to get things in order and under control. For business owners, it usually means looking at your to-do list and setting priorities and boundaries. What are your top goals for the next six months? At the beginning of January, I gave an informal talk at one of my business networking groups on the 6 basic principles of entrepreneur business building that I learned at Sandra Yancey’s RISE Conference to help you move your business forward.
Answering these six simple questions will help you identify where your business is stuck and show you the steps you can take to remove obstacles and roadblocks.
What are the three action steps you need to take for each goal in order to reach them? Narrow your focus down to these 9 action steps, and work on them every day, every week. Make them your top priority. You need to make space in your life to execute the urgent and important tasks that will deliver the results you want. Ask yourself, do you have the time and focus to be innovative and work on income-generating activities? If this area is a challenge for you, work with someone like Robynne Davis to help you develop a business strategy.
Ask yourself, do you have the right people in place to free yourself to do only the things that you can do, the stuff that makes a real difference? Look at your pit crew – who is missing, or no longer a good fit for you and your mission? It’s ok to let go of the people who are no longer a good fit for you and your mission. Bless them, say thank you, and give yourself permission to make changes in your lineup. It could be finding a new mentor, collaborator, new networking groups or communities. List three action steps you can take to help you build your dream team.
In the end, it’s all about delivering on what you promise. If you say that you want to be a successful business, and you now know what exactly you need to do to make it happen, how willing are you to commit to doing this in the next month, or the next year? Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 on how well you are executing each of these six principles. If you have areas that you rank 5 or lower, make it a priority to build these areas up through the action steps you wrote down. Put these action steps in your daily or weekly planner, so they get the love and attention from you that they deserve. In as little as a month, you will see momentum and break-through that will help speed you to the winner’s circle by the end of the year and set you up for a successful 2019.