Control the Controllables

Control the Controllables

I’m not on Pinterest. Yet. But I wonder if they have a board to inspire us when ‘it all hits the fan.’

A few Sundays ago I was flying for work from Columbus to LA. I had a team dinner planned and was ready to make the most out of the last trip out west for 2013. Instead, I got stuck in Chicago for 7 hours. I landed at what my body thought was 3:30am, 12:30am at LAX. Four hours later, my alarm went off for an east coast conference call. I grabbed my phone to turn off the alarm and saw 21 emails – one of which was a huge sale falling through and a great team member putting in his resignation. Happy Monday!

What a way to start the week. Sometimes motivational quotes and coffee only go so far. So what do you do when it all hits the fan? The only thing you can do: Control the controllables. Could I control the weather in Chicago? Nope. At this point, could I control losing a team member? That ship had sailed. Could I control how tired my body was staring down an 18 hour day? Not at all.

In the moment before I started my week in LA, I could focus on all the crap and how far the fan had flung it. Or I could remind myself of a lesson I had learned at 19 with Southwestern, and focus on controlling the things I actually had control over – my attitude, the hours I worked and my efforts. “Control the controllables, Patty” I mumbled to myself as I stumbled through getting ready.

We all have humbling days (or months) where everything goes wrong. Upset clients, bombed exams, car issues, bad hair days, etc. Unless you’re Ron Burgundy – he probably has other issues, but bad hair days isn’t one of them.

When it all seems to be going south, instead of focusing on everything negative outside your power, choose to focus on the controllables. Most times it’s simply your attitude, your hours and your effort. And it typically turns things around faster than they fell apart.

Thoughts? What do you do when everything goes wrong at work or at home? Please share or comment below. And tune in next time when I discuss making Kool-Aid.

Share This article:t

Related articles:

About the author:

Patrick Dichter

As a small business growth expert, I help owners scale faster and work smarter on their operation.

Recent articles: