Take back control of your life…

April 1, 2020

I suspect that I have been like most of us during this crisis, either being swept along with it or going along to get along. For the first couple of weeks leading up to the stay at home order and for the first couple of days into that order, I was maintaining somewhat of a normal routine, in terms of getting up, getting showered and getting dressed for a business day. Eventually, I succumbed to the feelings of “why bother” and started staying dressed longer in my “walk the dogs” outfit of jeans and a sweatshirt that I normally put on when I get up. I also started just putting on a better pair of jeans when I finally did get cleaned up for the day.  So much for my normal business casual outfits.  It’s time to take back control of your life…

Today I decided to take control of my life back and get back to at least part of my old routine. Why? Because I refuse to let this crisis and the lifestyle changes that it has dictated for all of us completely run my life. Since I can’t actually visit with my clients and have to use email or phone calls, it is easy to ask, “Who will know” whether I’m in jeans or a business casual outfit? The answer is, “I will know.” That makes a difference; at least it does to me. It’s time to take back control of my  life…

There have been many Facebook posts from people who have begun lounging around the house all day in their PJ’s. In fact, Mike Morris, the TV personal injury lawyer, has a commercial running that shows him with a suit top and PJ bottom. One post that I saw talked of exchanging one’s daytime PJ’s for the nighttime version. For most it’s more probable that jeans have become the outfit of the day. How you dress during this crisis seems to be a trivial thing to focus upon; however, it is an important clue as to how this is all effecting you. Not getting cleaned up for the day and sitting around in your PJs or your weekend jeans all day is saying to the world – I’ve given up control of another aspect of my life. There are certainly enough things happening right now, over which we really have no control that we need not surrender on things that we can control. It’s time to take back control of your life…

The other aspect of taking this attitude is that it puts you in a better frame of mind to deal with the situation. By saying to yourself, “I will not let this thing dictate my entire life; I will stay in control of how I react to it”, you empower yourself. That empowerment will allow you to cope better with the travails that we are all facing. You can start making pro-active plans, rather than passively sitting there and waiting to react to whatever comes at you. It’s time to take back control of your life…

I’ve posted a few messages that were aimed at getting that same message to the small business people in my community and one that was specifically aimed at avoiding viewing yourself as a victim (see my post of March 21). It is all too easy to fall into that victim mentality, to surrender to the situation and find comfort in wallowing in self-pity; however, that is the slippery slope that leads to depression. The pervasive advertising messages that “We’re all in this together” and “We’re here for you”, tend to reinforce the idea that there’s nothing that you can do – that you are just a victim like everybody else Don’t allow yourself to focus on that message. It’s time to take back control of your life…

Sitting around in your PJ’s or jeans all day, watching TV or movies is not being in control. Stop worrying about what’s going to happen to me next and start thinking about what can I do about this next. For some that will mean finding meaningful ways to spend the time that they suddenly fine on their hands. Doing all of those little projects that you’ve been putting off is a much better way to spend the time. For others, there are tons of volunteer opportunities available during this crisis. Most organizations are taking steps to protect those volunteer workers, so that they don’t fall victim to the virus. Find the organizations that need help in your community. It’s time to take back control of your life…

walking man

Maybe you, like me, need to start by getting up each morning and getting ready for business. Your “business” now is greatly different that before this all started; however, if you start with the attitude that you ae going to remain in control, you are more likely to end the day with a sense of accomplishment and you will feel less like a victim. It’s time to take back control of your life…


Focus upon what you can control…

May 7, 2019

At my Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce referral network meeting this morning our norma-nickolosonspeaker was Norma Nicholson, author, motivational speaker and owner of Wise Owl Enterprises, a life coaching business. Norma helps people deal with what life throws at them and live a better life. If I boil down what Norma talked about in her advice it is this – “Focus upon what you can control.”

Norma uses several examples of things that have happened in her life and in the lives of others that she has helped, to set the stage for how she helped herself and now helps others. Her examples are all things that happen to many people – the loss of a loved one, a divorce, the loss of a job. These are things, most of which are totally out of our control, that just happen to us. What Norma focuses people to look at is how they react to those things and how to take control of those reactions.

I’ve posted here several times about letting go of things and realizing that we cannot control all of the events in life that happen, no matter how hard we try or would like toabusived wife believe that we are in control. What we can control is how we react to those events. Almost all of life’s big events cause an initial, sometimes overwhelming, emotional reaction. There is nothing that we can do to avoid the fear or sadness or sense of loss that washes over us at the moment of impact of such an event; however, we can, and should, try to recover and regain control of ourselves as soon as we can. Why? Because we are also often called upon to make quick decisions and to answer the immediate question – What now?

If we just surrendered to the grief, anger, or remorse that initially overtook us, we might slip into depression, lash out in response, or otherwise react foolishly. We would be letting the event control us, instead of controlling our response. The beginning of facing the wall 2regaining control of the situation is the admission to ourselves that we cannot or could not have controlled the event. For some that is difficult. They tend to spend time in self-recrimination, searching their minds for something that they could have done differently to prevent the event from occurring. What a waste that is. It did occur and there is no going back, no do-overs. There is only, “What now?”

So maybe you’d benefit from buying and reading one of Norma’s books. You might also benefit from going back to re-read some of what I’ve posted here about dealing with life’s challenges, such as this post on letting go.  Maybe reading about being in control of your life instead of life-s event would help. There are other posts about how to deal with life by dealing with the issue of control. The point of most of them is coming to grips with the fact that you are not in control of anything except how you choose to react to what is happening around you and to you. That is up to you.

Many people find that turning to prayer in difficult situations helps. Perhaps it is that momentary need to refocus upon God that gives them the peace that they needed to start woman-prayingto think clearly again. Whatever, the cause, the effect of turning to prayer can be immediate and dramatic. Most importantly, when you turn to God you have to let go of control of the situation and admit that there was nothing that you could do to change it, it happened. Then you can move on to the question of – now what? Your most effective prayer might be, “Lord, give me the strength and wisdom to get through this situation.”

Whether you turn to prayer or not, the advice that both Norma and I provide is to focus upon what you can control – your attitude and reaction to the situation. Don’t allow yourself to become self-defeating, but rather be self-empowering, through a positive attitude. A saying from a recent post to the Jack’s Winning Words Blog comes to mind – “If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.  If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow comes.”  (Unknown)

There will be a tomorrow. Focus upon what you can control.