It is often within our nature to want full control when it comes to work, projects, events or even relationships. We figure that if we have complete control then the result will be exactly the way we envisioned it or have the relationship the way we want. Sometimes we go even further to say that if we leave it up to anyone else things will fail or we can’t trust anyone else to do it but ourselves. This territorial way of thinking may not work out to our advantage.
Having a plan or direction is always encouraged. It is important to know where we want to go or what we want to do. We need to be careful though of the tunnel vision of our vision. There is tremendous value in letting the reigns loose a bit to allow for even better results than we expect. When we are engage in the process and enroll others to participate in it we operate on a higher level. The results become bigger and more inclusive and we may feel more satisfied.
I was once in charge of a men’s retreat weekend to address different men’s issues. The planning process lasted a year and I was able to assemble a group of eight men to develop a powerful weekend. As the leader of this group it was my responsibility to hold the vision and context of what we wanted to accomplish over-all. As the planning progressed I recognized the importance of providing the opportunity for other groups of men to be in charge of specific topics. I trusted these men and empowered them with my vision. The events that these groups came up with were even more powerful than I would have imagined.
There were times during the process that I tried to micro-manage and strictly abide by a timeline. When I was too focused on the result I found myself getting increasingly frustrated and I was disempowering men to the point of them almost pulling out of the retreat all together. Thankfully, I received immediate feedback from the men and I was able to step back. There was also a time during the weekend when I was so focused on the time-line and exactly what I was going to say that I was feeling tremendous anxiety. I finally took the time-line and speeches I prepared and threw them away and I immediately felt a tremendous release. I was able to come from a more authentic place and the men got a lot power from that weekend.
In our relationships with our partners, siblings, parents and sometimes friends we often envision a particular relationship we want. We may feel the need for control in order to keep the person close for fear that they will leave or that chaos will come about. Frustration may come about as a result of one person demanding the attention of the other. When someone attempts to force a certain outcome in the relationship the other person may either leave or build up resentment. It’s important to have the vision in mind without having an exact result in mind or a need to control the process. This allows one to be fully present in the relationship.
I remember a few years ago thinking I wanted a closer relationship with my brother. We didn’t speak that often and I thought our conversations were a bit dry. I soon realized that I was trying too hard and was getting more in my head about our relationship. At times I was sounding more like a therapist than a brother. I had to accept that this was our relationship and that closeness would come when it did. These days when we do get together (a rare occurrence) we are organically closer because I let go.
So let’s do our best to take a step out of our heads and into our hearts and enjoy the journey of life. If we try too hard we will miss out on pleasant surprises that come along the way. Sure we will make mistakes and possibly get hurt but at least we will know we were coming from a place of heart and authenticity.