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control what you can control

Earlier this week, I was a coach at a function that was targeted at managers.  The event provided a forum for the managers to share experiences on how they overcame the plethora of management challenges encountered in this recession.

During the discussions, it became extremely evident, to me, that some of the managers were worried about any cuts that the company have to make to survive. I provided them the following guidance:

“control what you can, know what you cannot control, and make peace with it”


control what you can (green)

This takes a significant amount of effort because it takes a constant level of vigilant awareness to look for new opportunities.

Here are some examples of what can be controlled:

  • your boss & peers
  • your actions, attitude and demeanor

I put boss & peers down as items that can be controlled because they can be influenced if you have the credibility and trust established.

know what you cannot control, and make peace with it (red)

The key here is know your limitations, the constraints that have been imposed on you and to make peace with it.  It just does not help to beat yourself up about the stuff that you cannot control.  Here are some examples of things that we cannot control:

  • the weather
  • the economy
  • senior management (assuming that they are more than 2 levels of separation)

So if you cannot control things like this, it just does not help to worry or beat yourself about things like this.  So make peace with things and focuss your efforts and energy on the things that you can control.

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