You wouldn’t know it from the title of this blog post, but I have a soft spot in my heart for control freaks. If you would consider yourself a control freak, then there’s likely a reason why – someone saw something in you that was valuable, or you know there’s a better way to do things. I just want you to know – it’s not all bad! I see you out there and I totally get it.
If you’re a mama, if you’re a business owner or in some position of authority, or all of the above – you have had to take control and you’re no stranger to it. However, something I didn’t recognize for a long time was that while I was taking control – especially with things I couldn’t really control in the end – I was ruining my chances of success, damaging relationships and internally taking the blame when things didn’t work out. No wonder they call it control freak!
If that sounds like you at all, read on – I am in a constant work-in-progress of my control freak ways and here are some tips I’ve come to learn that have helped me. I hope they help you also!
Shifting a mindset. A lot of habits start with mindset, and shifting mine was the first step. If you need to go back to this first step a lot, then you’re not alone. Basically, the mindset of a control freak needs to shift from “I can maintain complete control in any situation,” to “I cannot control every situation, just my actions, and that’s okay.”
While we’re on the subject of actions, once you realize that trying to control everything doesn’t really work, you’ll be in a way more balanced state of mind. Honestly, trying (and ultimately failing) to control everything only provides more anxiety, feelings of failure, and imposter syndrome. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
Do it scared. When something comes up that feels big, and feels like I’m going to try and wrangle it down to the ground to control the crap out of it – there’s a reason. The reason is most likely fear. I’ve learned that for me, I’m scared of a ton of stuff. I’m fearful that my business will crash, that my daughter won’t learn right from wrong, that people will be disappointed in me – and honestly, if I do things out of these fears, it reeks and people can tell. And your kids are confused as heck, too.
Instead, I look at every situation and try to decide what parts I can control, and what parts I can’t. I can’t control a tantrum from my toddler, if it’s in public or not - it happens to the best of ‘em. I can control how I deal with it though – and that’s where my child will start to learn right from wrong.
I can’t control that people just don’t buy a shirt in my shop – but I can control my messaging and making sure I’m reaching the people I really want to help with my clothes. It takes a little creative thought, I’ll be honest. But acting out of fear is something I no longer do (that much).
Brain dump your responsibilities. Recently, I was feeling overwhelmed with how much I had responsibility for in my business. Pros and cons lists have really helped me with decision making in the past, so I thought another huge list making session might help this feeling of trying to control too many moving parts in my business. I wrote out a huge list of the things I do and that fall under my responsibility at work. After that huge list was written, I already felt better. Sometimes putting something down on paper feels like a great first step!
After I looked at my list, I ranked them by things I love to do, and things I don’t love to do. For example, I hate photography. I’m using the word hate here, to describe how terribly I feel about the idea that I have no business behind a camera, and guess what? I wasn’t willing to learn. It was something I was having control over, but had no idea what I was doing, therefore my messaging and visual imagery was just not clear to my target audiences. It became clear that I needed to hire someone for that task and manage them, instead of control something entirely on my own that I was feeling insecure about to begin with.
Disclaimer: when it comes to business, I don’t believe outsourcing is always the option – I actually believe that in your first year or two, if you’re willing to learn, you should absolutely learn all you can.
Do you consider yourself a control freak? What do you have trouble relinquishing control over?