What can you control?

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IMG_3645If you try to control everything, your actions lead to stress, frustration and sleepless nights. As a start-up, small business owner or entrepreneur you can only control so much although you’d like to control everything.

When you have so much to do, so much to get off the ground, so many elements to control in your new product, service or new venture, things can get out of hand. I was reminded about this the other day when I heard an entrepreneur who runs an aerospace engineering company talking about how difficult it is sometimes just to get some sleep. Cash flow, he says, can be a nightmare that keeps you awake, getting only two or three hours sleep a night.

What can’t you control?

One entrepreneur or start up can’t control the economy. Whatever the economic conditions are you have to accept them and see what opportunities it provides. The other thing is how other people react. You can’t control their reactions. Whether it’s through miscommunication, blatant lying and cover up or sheer greed, other people can throw stones at you, criticise you can trash you but what can you do? You can only react in a way that calms the situation and subdues the flames of aggression. Likewise, you and your customers perceptions are their own. Yes, some may say that you need to be persuasive as a entrepreneur or small business owner but how much controll do you really have over your customers perceptions? It’s difficult to change attitudes and beliefs.

All these things such as the economy, other people’s reactions and customers perceptions are external to yourself. You may be able to avoid negativity and criticism but sooner or later these things will confront you and your reactions to determine the quality of your well-being and peace of mind.

Some things you can control. These are the more important things that act as a counterbalance or counterforce to the jungle where lions, jackals and vultures roam. First up, your emotions. Life is an emotional game. You have to learn how to control your emotions whether it is to get you into an emotional state where you feel energised and happy or to counter daily onslaughts of criticism and negativity. Another thing you can control: your reaction to others. A calm, well-balanced person doesn’t overreact when things go wrong, when people fall short and personally attack you. You can also control your own attitude and perspective even in the most difficult of circumstances.

These things are all internal and depend on your level of self-esteem, confidence and self discipline to manage your inner world. I once heard a wise person say that you should think of a candle inside your body that is continually burning. By controlling your inner world, you never let a candle flicker to the external forces around you.

In this economy, you need to take time off, whenever you can, to get perspective. All around you is change. We we need to realise and accept that we can’t control change. Change will happen whether we like it or not. Change is a dangerous wind but it also represents opportunity, the opportunity that entrepreneurs and small business owners need to be on the lookout for. We need to be open to change. Change allows us to grow.

It’s all about needing to know and understand what things we can control, the things that matter most: our inner balance and harmony. If we can manage ourselves, through self-discipline and acquired wisdom, then we can be more resilient to the forces outside of ourselves, the rough seas and stormy weather.

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