The lesson I learned…
You must be in control. Of everything. Always.
Being a control freak is a burden.
I know, I know, it is notably difficult for the non-control freaks to deal with the control freaks, but bear with me for a little bit.
We cannot handle not being in control. It’s painful to us.
We know that you want to do things your way sometimes, but we NEED to do things our way.
When we do hand you the reigns, please know that it is a big deal. A REALLY BIG DEAL.
We are terrible delegators. We take responsibility for everything, even the things we have delegated, so while you are working on it, we are also working on it in some capacity, as a backup, just in case it isn’t done “right” or at the very least, we are worrying about it until it is completed and effectively off our to-do list.
We carry a big load - all the things in our personal universe, whether it's our responsibility or not. The kid has a paper due; it's effectively our paper until it's turned in. Spouse has to complete some paperwork; it's our paperwork until it's filed. A coworker has a piece of the project; it's our piece until it's completed. You get the picture.
That's why it's so hard for a control freak to hear, "I'll take care of it later" or "Don't worry about it, I got it" or "Relax, it'll get done."
It stays on our mind, our to-do list, our radar until it is done. Added to the long list. AND we have no control over when it gets done because we are not the ones doing it. Painful!
We feel the need to hold everything together. We aren’t allowed to let anything slip. Even when we're drowning.
We are control freaks and perfectionists (at least “perfection” from our perspective).
We wish we didn't worry about everything all the time.
We wish we could hand you the reigns and feel at ease about it.
We wish we didn't always carry the burden.
Overcoming the lesson…
I, like so many others, lost control in 2020.
My fur babies got sick, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it (try as I did to save them).
My kids had to learn remotely, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
I was trapped in my house, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
I was handed more than double the amount of work at work, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it (if I wanted to keep my job).
What can you do when you lose all control?
You can either tighten your grip on what's left to control, or you can recognize control for what it is; fear. Mine is fear of failure.
You learn how to manage the fear and operate without the need to control everything.
You learn to make peace with your fear.
You learn to have faith.
You learn to handle what you can and let go of the rest.
I’m not going to lie; I still struggle with control (ask my husband).
When someone is asserting control, my automatic response is to shut it down as quickly as possible to pull back the control.
I’m trying to change this.
I tell myself every day, “pause before reacting and seek to understand.”
If I pause, really take it in, and understand, will I agree? Am I saying “no” simply because I’m not in control? Often the answer to that question is “yes.”
At the very least, my pause gives me time for reflection to allow for a fact-based response instead of a knee-jerk one, which is usually fueled by emotion.
And emotion is often caused by fear.
And fear drives the need for control.
And there you have it.
Until next time…