Pain is outside events and people controlling your actions.  For some people, that’s not painful, but somewhat pleasant.  Not making decision, not living with the consequences of their actions.  Some people seek this out.  You do not.  You strive to answer the question “how can I better myself?”  One answer, for you, is to have your input into these external events.

You will never control all of the external actions that affect you, because we live in a society that requires a certain amount of regulation.  But the decisions you feel intuitively should be yours – when you eat lunch, when you see your children, how you write a sentence in a letter – can be under your control.  You can have more influence over the events that influence you.  Taking control is also one of the most visible of several leadership characteristics.

Here are 5 steps you can take immediately to have a controlling influence on external events that influence you:

1.       Creative problem solving.  Look at situations that arise as problems to be solved rather than as stress or as pain.  Approaching it as a problem will kick your creative juices in. Your body and emotions react more positively to solving a problem than they do to fighting off stress.

2.       Time management.  Time management is actually self-discipline.  It is more than just “to do” lists and endless prioritization of tasks.  It is is the self-discipline of making and sticking to these lists.  It is the self-discipline of refusing new tasks that will detract you from what you are working on.

3.       Creative thinking.  Creative thinking is the next step above creative problem solving.  Using and developing this skill helps you anticipate rather than merely react.  It helps you create more and more attractive alternatives, rather than locking into a limited number of paths.

4.       Perspective.  This is the ability to look at situation from another’s point of view.  By using this consistently, you can see problems and solutions to the situation.  A good trial lawyer prepares his or her client’s case.  An exceptional trial lawyer prepares his or her opponent’s case, to see how to make the client’s case that much better.

5.       Focus on what you can control, not on what you cannot.  So much energy and time is wasted by people fuming and scheming about things they have no control over.  Think of how much farther along your own projects will be this week, if you spend all the time this week that you spent last week talking or worrying about things you have no control over.

Doing nothing is ceding control of your life and your dreams to someone’s life and dreams.  This is easy in the sense that you do not have to make decisions.  But it is hard because when you do have to make a decision, you won’t be able to.  Your dreams stay simply dreams, instead of becoming reality.  And taking control the wrong way can wreck your dreams and plans.  Being constantly confrontational or contrarian to people with organizational authority over your position is rarely productive.   Using the 5 steps above, you can oppose authority without being oppositional.

The solution is to have a comprehensive system that includes taking control as a key component.   Most people have a “system.”  These systems run the gamut from “sticking reminder notes on the computer” to “certified XYZ time-stress-project management expert.”   The key is to develop the system that works for you personally.   Martial arts like karate and judo teach specific moves and holds, but a black belt will combine those teachings into the system that is personal.   Using the tips in this article, combined with the skills and knowledge that you already possess, can help you create your personal system to implement the “how can I better myself?” objective.

STRESS JUDO COACHING is designed to be that comprehensive system.  The Yellow belt level is focused specifically on taking control of stress.  Designed around the exclusive progressive belt training system, this unique training and coaching program can be personalized, for you to reach your black belt potential. Just JOIN THE COMMUNITY using the box to the right (-->) and welcome!