Ever feel out of control because you just won’t let go of any control? For you, perhaps, the circumstances of feeling overwhelmed and overextended are beyond your control. You recognize control freaks, but don’t believe one’s looking back at you in the mirror every morning.
Just for giggles, then, how would you answer these questions:
Will it take less time to just do things yourself?
Do others check in with you frequently to make sure you are OK with what’s being done?
Do you brag about not having taken a vacation in a long time?
When others let you down, do you get judgmental and angry?
Are you always buried under with work and other responsibilities?
Do others seem annoyed when you check in with them again?
Do you have too many meetings, but all are too important to miss?
If you answered “No” to all the questions, you should move on to other fun activities. No need to read further. If you had just one “Yes” you might like to explore a bit more.
Those are the types of questions asked by Cheryl Cran, author of The Control Freak Revolution, as she helps others acknowledge how such behavior can block a higher level of success.
If you listen you can hear a control freak a mile away, or perhaps in the next office. They say things about what they need to do. Here’s some I’ve heard: I need to stay visible to customers because others don’t care as much as I do. I need to be available to answer employee questions so they can get their work done. I need to keep a close watch so they don’t screw up… or screw off. I need to do it myself because they just don’t get it.
These “needs” can stem from a lot issues, but a frequent one is lack of trust. It is no different whether considering the context of work, community group or family. And it’s not something we usually can hide very well. Therefore, it can sabotage any attempts we do make to share the load or delegate.
Think about any time that you were assigned something by another, knowing they didn’t believe in you or your abilities. How did you feel? Doubtful? Stressed? Inadequate? How did you behave? Tentative? Lacking focus? Maybe you even procrastinated a bit?
We can conjure up enough doubts on our own without having the boss, parent or community partner adding to them. If you want to catch your breath, create time and space for other things, or just stop for while, you are going to have to learn to trust. That means letting go, turning over some control to others.
It’s natural to want to maintain control of everything. It’s just not realistic, productive or fun… nerve-wracking most likely, but not incredibly rewarding. And besides, sometimes your better way is really about preference, not quality or efficiency.
I bet you can count on less than one finger how many highly successful people claim to have achieved their accomplishments solo. You have to admit even those who perform individually, like athletes and musicians, have coaches, trainers and other support folks.
It’s not that you can’t achieve a certain degree of success on your own, but at some point you are blocked from going further. Even with the best tools, you can only fit so much in the given 24 hours of a day. That means without help you are limited.
Cran would advise taking it a small step at a time. Hand just a couple of things off. As a business owner, she had to get over this trust hurdle herself. She hired an assistant and was easily converted after experiencing how much more she could do. Not only was she able to do more, she did to a higher level of quality.
So, once again, it’s up to you to remove the limits, share the load and move on to greater success and satisfaction. Just dip your toe in, so to speak, and let yourself drift to a more sane place.
Anita Ancel is President of Ancelary Group, a Vermont firm who helps CEOs and their teams develop attitudes and habits for ongoing success.