When you’re in control, you can respond to all the situations in your business and life. It’s your ability to make the best responses that will determine your success & happiness.
The other way I like to define control is to think of the concept of cause vs effect. When you’re on the effect end, things are happening to you and being done to you. You’ve lost agency over your life and thus control.
When you remain at cause, you determine your mental and emotional response along with your actions to the situation you’re in. When you’re at cause, you are in control.
Here are 5 rules you can use to stay at cause and in control.
Rule #1: Extreme Ownership
This rule references a great book with the same title written by two Navy Seals. The general concept of the book is that you own every aspect of the mission that you’re on. Not just what you might be directly responsible for, the whole mission.
The idea in the book that really made this hit home for me is leading up. The authors talk about their experience leading a military operation in the field and taking ownership of working with their superior officers to get the resources they needed. They took active responsibility in securing permissions and resources as opposed to the notion of simply working with what was handed down.
When we take extreme ownership of every aspect of our life we will stay in control.
Rule #2: Release Negative Emotions
To remain at cause and be in control, you must be able to release negative emotions that aren’t serving you. The difference between any emotion being positive or negative is the service that it’s providing you.
When we experience an emotion that doesn’t help us get what we want (e.g. success, happiness, fulfillment), we have lost control and are on the effect side. We must be able to let that emotion go so that we can return to control the situation and handle it in a way that is best for us.
Practice shifting perspective through the lens of time and distance. Consider if whatever you’re experiencing now will still be a problem next week, month, year, 5 years, etc. I’ll bet at some point whatever the experience is will no longer be a problem. Hence, if it’s not a problem in 5 years, why must we be emotionally slanted today?
Release the negative emotions and return to being at cause and in control of your life.
Rule #3: Find a Positive Angle
A word of caution must be prefaced with this rule. We don’t want to whitewash our problems and emotions.
A client of mine is in the middle of working with a client they feel is becoming a bully negotiator over the fee for their service after the fee has already been agreed upon.
Here’s what I advise them NOT to do: say, “well I’m still taking their communication personally and feeling bad about it, but I’m going to be grateful for my thriving business and wonderful family.”
That is emotional bypassing or whitewashing. If my client thought that way (which she is not), she would not be finding the positive angle, only burying her problem.
What is the positive angle from the situation you can find? In the case of my client and their client, what can she learn about a) the clients she takes on; b) how she communicates with them upfront to avoid this in the future; c) what skill is she sharpening by dealing with this?? Those are potentially positive angles from an unpleasant situation.
Rule #4: Acknowledge Your Role
To stay in control and be at cause in your business & life, we must acknowledge the role we play in all situations.
Consider, if a team member makes a mistake that costs your business money, what role did you play? If you take the stance, “well it’s their job and they messed up,” you might absolve responsibility. You’ll also be absolving your impact. If you believe that you have no impact, you, by default, are not in control and are on the effect end on whatever happens.
Instead, acknowledge what role you play in all situations – good and bad. Understand what impact you have. You do have impact!
That way, we can learn from mistakes, increase our confidence when things go well and stay in control.
Rule #5: Do What You Want
Our 2-year-old daughter is gaining her independence. It’s a vital developmental step in that she is figuring out what she can do on her own. To express this desire, she tells us “I can do what I want to.” No clue where she got from 🤣.
As funny (and sometimes challenging…) as it is for our child to do what she wants to, we all need to exercise that ability.
We all can do what we want. Not only can we do what we want, we must adopt the mindset that we can do what we want. Even in situations that are not the most fun, we can do what we want that is right and best for us.
Take these 5 rules and put them into play this week. You’ll find when you take extreme ownership, release negative emotions, find a positive angle, acknowledge your role and do what you want, you’ll get back to and stay at cause in your life. Be at cause and stay in control.