What can you control?

We can influence a lot, but we control much less. Understanding the difference can help us focus our effort and increase our impact.

Many of my coaching clients don’t feel they can control their time. Their calendars are filled with what feel like mandatory meetings. One coaching client (the COO of a large organization) said she could only control two things: when she goes to bed and when she wakes up. This certainly helped her get better sleep but was a sad statement about how out of control she felt.

One of my clients (the head of OD in a technology firm) realized that he was intently focused on controlling micro tasks and short term outcomes. We developed some principles for him to get more comfortable with process and let go of outcomes.


Are You Busy?

My daughters Skyler and Taylor explore a beach near Stonington, Maine
How busy are you? When someone asks you how you are doing, do you often say, “I’m really busy!”
I am taking a firmer stand against busyness. I don’t want to be known as “busy.” I want to be known for other things, like being free.
Why do we proudly tell people we are busy? Some of it is the pace of life and work and families—there is a lot to keep us busy. So some busyness is realistic. I will get to how to handle that. But I think there are some other things going on too.


The Frustration-Criticism Spiral

I have been reflecting on what it takes to make people feel safe around me, and how to avoid a common negative spiral.
I want to get better, be happier and improve my life (perhaps not unusual). I look around and identify what is not right or effective. I get frustrated about what is not changing or improving fast enough. I then get critical of whatever or whomever is in my way.

I call this the Frustration-Criticism Spiral, and I fall into it often. Unfortunately when I do, it makes everyone around me feel worse and less safe.

I have found 3 strategies work for myself and my clients

Happy Whol-y Days

I treated myself to a Holiday. It was the first snow of the year here in Maine, and I wanted to get out and see my favorite spot—the Valley Trail on Beech Mountain. Luckily my wife Lisa was able to join me, so instead of “date night” this week, we had “date hike.”

Is it ok to take a vacation day in the middle of the week?

Chasing Rainbows

Why do we give up on our dreams? Often we seem to close down and narrow our vision as we age, but maybe we don’t need to settle so much.
We moved to this island to follow a dream I had for 40 years… it has renewed my belief in the possible and the power of pursuing dreams.

When we restored our 1910 Victorian home, Lisa designed the gable so there would always be a rainbow overhead.