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Control…and what to do with the things you can’t

Biz 101, Communication, Growth

“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over, instead of craving control over what you don’t” – Steve Maraboli

The more I thought about it, the more it made be think of the business landscape and how over the years I have seen people crave control over their market trends, currency fluctuation, client perception and supplier pricing.  All of these things have had great effect on business, but none of them are inside the realm of our control.  

If you know me, you know my stance on the things I cannot control, and on how much I can take on in a day when it comes to the things I can. I think there are some tactics that can be shared to ease the stress of control vs. those things we cannot.  

Habits are our way of automating things, while recognizing that we might not have the energy or time to consciously address them.  By building a habit around the following thoughts, I believe you can better position yourself to take a new perspective on those things that you face in business. They adjust your perspective, reduce stress in many cases and allow you to keep moving forward.

1. Determine what cannot be controlled, focus on what can!

This seems pretty simple, but saying to yourself “This is not something I can control, there are factors outside of my scope of influence or ability” is only part of the equation.  Part B is where the real effort lies.  Once you determine that something is beyond your control, you must then tell yourself that craving control is not a useful tactic.  Rather, determine which points are within your control. Maybe you cannot change the exchange rates, but you can make a sales plan to change your targeted geographic location. 

Spend very little time on identifying what is outside of your control, and shift your focus to the things you can either influence or change.  Maybe that only includes you attitude or behaviour.  Whatever it is, make the changes you can.

2. Plan ahead (or around) to avoid what cannot be controlled.

This really goes hand in hand with the first point, but is worth mentioning on its own. There is no company in business today that has not been effected by an outside factor.  Whether that be international trade issues, supplier constraints or customer behaviour and buying habits, we are all effected by things beyond our ability to change.  

However, if you spend a bit of time looking into those factors, there is often a route through or around some of them. This is one of the reasons strategy is so important to us. We have seen the benefit of small, incremental changes that have allowed a company to stay profitable in a down-turned market, how a small change in perspective has changed a culture and how a shift in a targeted market can alleviate an outside (and now unnecessary) pressure. Addressing the things you can change or effect can make a huge difference in your business longterm.

3. Enlist help.

Again…seems elementary, but the old saying is true…two heads are better than one! Enlisting the help of your team or a trusted group of advisors not only allows you a fuller perspective on each situation, but a wealth of knowledge that has the capacity to look at a number of angles and outcomes.  Bringing together the ‘brain trust’ also allows the pressure of outside factors to be shared, again alleviating stress (which is NEVER a bad thing in business). 

Choose those who know your industry, know your demographic or have insight into the challenges you face. Enlist some from your team, after all, some of the greatest advancements in business were conceived by those without a CO title.  


To sum this all up… control is something we all crave..and we can all have it, but only in the things we have influence over.  Learning which situations are ours to influence and which are not is the first part in creating a landscape of forward momentum for your business and your team.