Control vs. the Power of Choice

Control…it has the ability to make us feel powerful and powerless at different times. We crave it. We feel drawn to it. It can be an all consuming feeling to try and achieve it. We feel powerful when we are in control. The captain of our own ship but even capable captains can’t always predict the storms. Many situations are out of our control. When we feel that loss of control coming or happening many of us spiral. We grab onto the things we think we can control and grip as tightly as possible. But the truth is our control is in our choices. We can’t control other people’s behaviour (as much as we think or wish that we could…if you don’t believe me ask an overtired toddler), the weather, flight delays or certain difficult situations. But we can make a choice in how we react, respond, and move forward.

“I am not what happened to me. I am what I chose to become”

~Carl Jung

I have experienced a number of situations that have challenged my need for control. Infant loss, miscarriage, and a very challenging pregnancy/subsequent NICU stay for my son to name a few. As awful as these situations were they challenged me to look at what I had control over vs. what I had choice in. After we lost our first son almost four years ago I knew I didn’t have “control”. I certainly didn’t have control over what happened to him because let me tell you if I had control over that I would have exercised my control! But I did have choices to make. Choices about how I wanted to move forward, show up in the world, support other people, and ultimately live my best possible life. Ultimately I had choice in what I could be grateful for.

Does that mean that every day is sunshine and rainbows…absolutely not! Grief is like walking on a beach you never know when a wave will hit you and often they come up out of no where on a calm day. But I have choices, choices about my outlook, my attitude, my forward motion. My resilience is fuelled by the knowledge of my ability to choose and my ability to laugh as often as possible. My resilience made it possible for me to survive a subsequent miscarriage and a very challenging pregnancy because I had a choice in how I showed up every single day. I could be angry and bitter with what had happened but that was not the life I wanted.

Coaching can help you move forward with the power of choice.

What does all of this have to do with coaching you might ask? Coaching helps you to see how the power of choice can trump the need for control. I have had several coaches myself over the years remind me of this power. A coach can often see what we are blind too. They can make observations about patterns in our behaviours, attitudes, and actions. Often when we’re feeling stuck in our careers or in life there is something we are gripping onto or something we are not seeing. Coaching can help with this, so if you are feeling in the grips of wanting control or feeling stuck, feel free to reach out. Coaching can help move you forward with the power of choice.