Since the beginning of time, human beings have tried to control their environment. But as much as we think we have created control, the world around us continues to appear to be out of control.
Actually, a lot depends on how we understand what we can actually control. When you try to solve problems, you have to try different things and even take risks. Good problem-solvers try multiple approaches, and then use the one that works.
They also remember all of the approaches that did not work, and know that they might be able to adapt some of them to a different problem.
I try to live by the mantra, “Control the things that you can control, and adapt to the things you are unable to control.” As human beings, we all struggle with feelings of guilt, shame and failure. But I do know that if something goes wrong in my life, and I honestly did the best and the most I could with what I knew and had, it doesn’t feel as bad.
As humans, we don’t know what we don’t know, and we don’t always recognize what we already have in terms of resources, skills, and knowledge.
That’s why I am always learning. I read, I listen to podcasts, I take courses, I talk to interesting and knowledgeable people, and I have a coach.
My coach helps me in many ways, but one of the most powerful is when she asks questions that cause me to re-evaluate my limitations, both perceived and real.
I too am a coach. I have been a business coach for automotive shop owners for 15 years. For the first 12 years, working for another organization, I essentially coached everyone that was brought to my coaching groups.
They were wonderful years, and I met a lot of great people and worked with many wonderful engaged shop owners.
But I also worked with a lot of people that were looking for quick fixes to their challenges. After they had picked all of the low-hanging fruit, they would stop implementing change or learning new things, or pushing themselves. When it was time to go to the next level, they would resist, argue, tell me that it would not work in their shop or their town.
Now that I have my own company, I get to be more selective. My current clients have chosen to work with me, and I am very grateful for that.
They are in my coaching groups because they have chosen to be, not because a supplier or sponsors has paid them to be there.
The shop owners that achieve the best results are the ones that bring the most to the table. They don’t approach coaching from the point of view of “what can I do for them?,” but what they can do for themselves with the tools and resources I bring them. So what do they bring to the table?
- Commitment. Coaching and training are a priority; they schedule time for it and consider themselves and the business worthy of investing time and money in.
- Courage. They may admit they feel fear, and still move ahead.
- Openness. They are open to new ideas and new people. They see new ideas as possible solutions to some of their problems. They understand that there are people out in the world that know something they don’t know.
- A “growth,” as opposed to a “fixed,” mindset. They know they don’t know it all, and don’t know what they don’t know. But they also are confident that they can learn, change and grow in knowledge and skill.
- Accountability. They learn how to make reasonable commitments and stick to them.
- Action. We will never achieve results as long as we don’t take action. Action plans can change when new information comes to light. However, you can steer a boat that is moving forward. Going in circles might make you feel busy, but you are not getting anywhere.
- Self-awareness. This is the ability to look inwardly and build conscious awareness about our own unique selves; learning how to understand ourselves, how we relate to others, our key motivations, habits, challenges, and weaknesses. Success in every situation depends upon our understanding of ourselves.
- Long-term thinking. They understand the need for planning and goals and objectives. They have the ability to tolerate ambiguity and possible discomfort in the short term to achieve their long-term results.
It is all in what you bring to the table. Control the things you can control, so that you can deal with and adapt to those you can’t.