I was recently listening to Dave Ramsey’s “EntreLeadership” Podcast. On the podcast the host was interviewing Dr. Henry Cloud.
Dr. Cloud is the author of:
- Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that All of Us Have to Give Up in Oder to Move Forward
- Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge
- and more.
When discussing one of those books, Dr. Cloud told the story of visiting with a frustrated CEO. The CEO was upset with the way something was going in his company.
Dr. Cloud asked the CEO a number of questions to help him realize that the reason his company wasn’t the way he wanted it to be was because of him.
When the CEO realized that it was his fault that things were the way they were, the CEO said, “I guess I am ridiculously in control aren’t I.”
Dr. Cloud responded with, “Yes. It’s happening because you’re causing it to happen or because you’re allowing it to happen.”
My faith tells me that I should always remember that God is in control. While I believe that’s true, sometimes we take that so far that we just sit back and let life happen to us. That’s not the way it should be.
Whether you think God is in control or not, YOU are ridiculously in control of your life. God may be in control of the big picture, overarching plan, but you’re in control of all of the details. You make all the decisions.
Think about the things that frustrate you in life. Think about the things you complain about the most. Do you realize that you are ridiculously in control of most, if not all, of those things?
Have you ever heard yourself say something along the lines of these statements:
- My house is always a mess.
- My children are not good eaters.
- I hate my job.
- I don’t have any energy.
- My spouse doesn’t give me the attention / help I need.
Take a 2 minutes and write down the things that frustrate you ( Seriously. Do it. Writing them down will help you.) Now, look at that list and realize that you are in control of those things.
My house is always a mess.
If you’re house is always a mess, demand that it be always cleaned up. Sit the family down, and let them know what the new normal will be. Then, the tricky part, enforce it. Your house is a mess because you’re allowing it to happen. It will be work to enforce your new normal of having a clean house, but if you stop allowing it to happen, you’ll get the help you want.
My children are not good eaters.
If you’re children aren’t good eaters, turn them into good eaters. I realize that you can’t force feed your children, but in most cases, the reason children aren’t good eaters is because they have been allowed to not be good eaters. More to the point, they have been taught to not be good eaters. If you’re willing to do the work and go through the frustrations, you can teach your kids to eat well.
I hate my job.
So you hate your job? Find another one. I know. Right now you’re saying, “I can’t. It’s a tough economy. I don’t have another option.” You do realize those are all excuses, right? There are other jobs. I’m not telling you to quit your job today and then go find one. I’m telling you to start looking for another one and then quit your job. Slavery was abolished a long time ago. You’re in control of where you work.
I don’t have any energy.
If you don’t have energy, change your habits. Our energy levels are the result of 3 factors: sleep, diet, and exercise. Guess who’s in control of all 3 of those. Are you making excuses about why you can’t do better at one of those? That’s ok. Just don’t expect your energy levels to come up until you stop making excuses. You’re in control of all 3.
My spouse doesn’t give me the attention / help I need.
If your spouse doesn’t give you the attention or help you need, then confront him/her. I realize that you can’t control your spouse’s actions. But what you can control is the confrontation. Most times your spouse just needs a little pep talk or a swift kick in the pants to help him/her notice that he/she isn’t performing his/her duties well. But we choose to avoid confronting our spouse because we don’t want to upset him/her. Choose the confrontation. Your marriage will be better for it.
Notice what all of the examples have in common – work. You have to make effort. You have to endure temporary frustrations. The reason we typically just “let” things happen, the reason we typically just “let” life happen is because we aren’t willing to put in the work to “make” them happen.
Decide today to take control of your life. After all, you are ridiculously in control.
Question: What are you going to take control of today?