Control the “Controllable”

In business and life, many circumstances are outside of your control, so it’s best you don’t lose sleep over them.

My top five uncontrollable life factors are as follows:

1) There will be people who are smarter than you
2) There will be people with greater resources than you
3) You will never have more than twenty-four hours in a day
4) You will most certainly face adversity during your lifetime
5) You will have to deal with inconsiderate people occasionally

Now that I have defined the uncontrollable let’s focus on what is in everyone’s power to change, and what I consider to be the “Great Equalizers.”

1) How hard you work
2) An obsession with answering the What, the How, and the Who?
3) Making the most of the time, you do have
4) Overcoming adversity and not letting it stop you from trying again
5) Always being kind and respectful to others- “Playing Nice.”

Working Hard

As simplistic as it seems working hard, and having a strong work ethic solves many ills and the inequalities in life and business. It is indeed the one area in living where you have the most influence and control over potential results. You may not be the smartest person or have the most resources, but when it comes to the type of effort you can give, you have the same opportunity as anyone.

An obsession with answering the What, the How, and the Who?

Early in my career, my fortunes began to dramatically change in sales when I stopped promoting my product features and started seeking answers to these three questions:

1. What are the underlying business processes my products supported?
2. How were those specific processes executed and managed today?
3) Who were the process owners and the people who had the most to gain or lose?

As I assumed various roles in marketing, whether developing new products, new solution positioning or new marketing campaigns, all those initiatives started with the common objective to answer those three questions.

I am a staunch believer that all innovation must begin with a question.

Making the most of the time, you do have

How much you accomplish in a day solely depends on how you use your time. While that sounds a bit trite, time is something lost quite easily and unintentionally. It can be easy to be trapped in a series of meetings or bogged down in answering your email.

For me, I found the best way to optimize my time is to focus on my big rocks by starting my day well before everyone else. This uninterrupted, three-four hours each day enables me to focus on the essentials to get accomplished to meet my personal and professional goals.

Whether you choose to watch TV or spend that time doing something potentially more productive, these are time choices under your direct control.

Overcoming adversity and not letting it stop you from trying again

You’re going to face difficulty at some point in your life or business career, so you better learn how to deal with it and move on. As a parent, what I desire more than anything else for my children is that “they can take a punch” and get back up again.

Things will not always go as planned so when that happens; I want them to have the strength to rise above any challenge and the resolve and determination to move forward and try again.

Shortly before my father passed away after a horrific car crash, he kept inquiring how I was doing. He knew at that specific time in my life; I was not mentally prepared to deal with this kind of adversity. As a concerned father, he was looking for the assurance I would be ok and move on to fight another day.

Always being kind and respectful to others- “Playing Nice.”

During a recent trip to Disney World, my job became appreciably harder as a grandparent when I had to continually explain to my nine-year-old granddaughter the need to still respect other peoples property and demonstrate kindness, in the face of other parents acting like children and their children misbehaving.

Having manners and showing consideration for other people shouldn’t be forgotten in business or your personal life.

How well you treat people is indeed under every person’s control, and it doesn’t cost a dime. I am far from perfect in always doing this, but my recent experience this past week has heightened my awareness for the need to treat everyone a little better and with added kindness.

Avoiding the trap of worrying about what is uncontrollable can be a struggle, but it doesn’t need to paralyze you. By keeping a daily focus on what you do control, you can gain further empowerment and the confidence to overcome any unexpected challenge that may come your way.

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