Three simple steps for taking control of your life

Apart from Women’s Football and Commonwealth Games there is very little in our world in the moment that feels positive. The news is dominated by the cost of living crisis, war in Ukraine, climate change and child murder. When I go to work the extreme pressures on the NHS are evident, everything is much, much harder, the world seems such a terrible place. If I don’t check on myself it is very easy to go down the helpless out of control rabbit hole. We are all experiencing this, it can feel like there is no respite from bad news. Well we can find respite from all this negative input. There is a way to view the world as it truly is, which is a mixture of beauty, wonder, challenges, difficulties, love, hate. laughter and sadness. Our world is wonderful and terrible, and it is not helpful only choosing to see one aspect. It is also not helpful pushing against all the issues in the world we have no control over. There is an awful lot in our lives we can control and our energy is better spent managing them rather than attempting to problem solve our way out of situations we have no control over. Over the years I have quoted Dianne Coutu’s research into resilient organisations, I do this because it is simple and makes sense. These 3 simple steps you can take to take control of your life are based on this work. If you take these 3 simple steps you will feel more in control in these volatile and uncertain times.

Step 1: Be Realistic

The world is not set up for our convenience. Life will not always go to plan, we will experience failure, loss, illness, resistance, etc. We need to be prepared for this as well as success, happiness, love and support. It is important to have contingency plans for overcoming setbacks, and not relying on blind optimism. As well as having plans for when things go wrong, it is also important to consider you may need to change how you do things in response to events, and sometimes stopping doing certain things altogether. Knowing when to give up and cut your losses is just as important as persevering with a task. Experiencing so called negative emotions is just as vital to our lives as experiencing those so called positive emotions. A better way to look and emotions and situations we face is to frame them as helpful or unhelpful. Negative emotions and situations are not necessarily unhelpful. Ask yourself if this experience will serve you well in the future, will it help you develop and grow or will it hinder your progress.

If you are unsurprised by setbacks you will be better able to respond to them in a helpful way.

Step 2: Have a purpose

Be clear on your reason why. As Simon Sinek says, do not just concentrate on what you do, but be clear on why you do it. I find a good starting point is understanding what you value in your life, and then how you want to lead your life in relation to your values. You can do this as a family and as an individual. There are a few exercises available online to to identify your values, I also offer one to one or group coaching either face to face or online to help you discover what you value. I found defining my mission statement really helpful identifying what I value, and what my purpose is. I also offer this as a service too. If you want to know more, get in touch via my contact page.

A sense of purpose provides an anchor to prevent you drifting away from your values, when life gets challenging. It helps you make choices in your life that are fulfilling, wholehearted and meaningful.

Step 3: Be creative

Work with what you have in front of you, rather than wating for the ideal resources or circumstances to improve. We never have all we need, and if we spend our lives chasing our dream life with an abundance of resources we will never take the action to live our lives now. Creativity ensures we take action now, we stop dreaming and start living. If you don’t have the tool you think you need to complete a task, what could you possibly repurpose to fulfil the need. No doubt we have all used a butter knife as a screwdriver to change an amp in a plug, or used a chair as a stepladder to change a lightbulb. There are times when we just need to get the job done. Instead of sitting back and saying we cannot do something because we do not have all we need, we take control look around us for possible solutions to achieving the task without using the absent resources. This is an opportunity to take those thoughts and statements that hinder our progress and turn them into helpful questions that help us explore possibilities that will help our progress. Instead of saying…”we cannot do this because we don’t have the money”… we can ask…”how could we possibly get this done without spending any money?” We can then start to explore all the possibilities using the resources we have around us.

Being creative is all about taking control over what we are able to control, and even discovering that we can take control over a lot more than we first thought.

To start to take control of our lives effectively it is important to take all 3 steps. These 3 steps create an agile, purposeful and creative action oriented mindset. If you want to work with me creating this mindset for yourself and your family please get in touch with me either via the contact page on this website, messaging me via social media or via my email


Published by Matt Smith Personal and Professional Coach

Performance and Life Coach

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