Originally written and posted the day after the 2016 US Election.
Can we talk about control for a second?
Right now, I know a lot of people are feeling like things are out of control.
You may be one of them.
Right now, today, for many of the people I know—that feeling has been magnified by the recent results of the US election.
But let’s also acknowledge that politics is just one arena in which it’s easy to feel like things are out of control. It’s a big one, yes.
But it’s not the only one.
We can feel out of control in so many areas of life … and yes … in business.
I don’t feel like I’m always in control of my business. There are things that feel out of control.
And I know you feel the same.
Maybe for you it’s lead gen. Getting the right customers? Feels out of your control.
Maybe it’s the way things are (or aren’t) getting done. There’s a way you’d like things to be done, but they’re not. It feels out of control.
Maybe it’s your market. You want them to want your thing, but they’re human beings with autonomy and agency. They’re out of your control.
Maybe it’s something else.
Of course, the reason for this is that there are actually very few things that are truly, completely, fully within our control.
So what do we do when confronted with that reality?
How do we deal with things being, seeming or feeling out of control?
In my martial arts class, one of the things the instructor reminds us frequently is that the past cannot be changed. The future cannot be predicted. All we really have is the present moment.
I agree, and …
… I also believe that it’s what we DO with the present moment that matters.
In this present moment, you cannot change the past—but you can learn from it.
In this present moment, you cannot predict the future—but you can set things in motion that will affect it.
Ultimately, in a lot of ways, what this means is that in this present moment, we have two choices:
We can plan, or we can act.
Both are important, and in fact, it’s only when you do both that you can see the biggest, most successful outcomes.
And so, in the coming weeks, I want to explore this together with you.
I want to explore the relationship between plans and action. And I want to show how it is in bringing them together that we are better able to overcome the challenges we face, the obstacles in our way, and—yes—the things that have us feeling out of control.
Because, of course, at the end of the day, the only thing we truly have control of is ourselves, and how we show up in the present moment.
I’ll be keeping the discourse firmly centered in the subject of business; after all, we are approaching the end of the year, and so it’s an amazing time to focus on planning and action.
But of course, the lessons will apply elsewhere should you wish to look at them through that lens.
Until then—here’s one final thought I’d like to share:
“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” – Alan Lakein
Here’s to planning—and to action.