Control the Controllables

“Suffering arises from trying to control what is uncontrollable,

or from neglecting what is within our power.” Epictetus

Control the controllables is a popular term in sport. This concept refers to focusing on areas of your performance that are within your control. Your attitude, your preparation, your effort and your focus.

Often we can waste our mental energy worrying about, or getting sidetracked by things we cannot control. This can lead to frustration and decreased performance in all areas of our lives.

In these circumstances, identifying what you can and can’t control is important. Letting go of what you can’t control and focusing on what you can, enables you to continue moving forward and avoid getting stuck.

This often begins by considering your attitude and response to your situation. Remaining positive and focusing on what you can do now, can create the best environment for success.

If your circumstances feel out of your control today, take some time to refocus on your controllables and put your time, effort and energy into what you can do.

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Purpose

We live in a rich, diverse world where the depths of understanding about leadership have not yet been fully plumbed. Yet, despite our gaps in understanding, we are a species that seeks out role models and leaders. We want to follow something or somebody.

People follow purpose.

People are not just interested in how intelligent or technically proficient you are. This alone, will not satisfy them. They are also interested in why you are doing what you are doing and for what reason. They want to hear the greater story. They are interested in your purpose.

When your words and actions don’t match, people notice. They get curious. Something doesn’t quite add up and this has the potential to generate doubt and hesitancy in those you are trying to lead. If you lead in a way that displays commitment to your purpose, the hesitancy and resistance in others subsides.

Leading with purpose also helps you to influence the future. You don’t live on this planet in isolation. You are part of a much wider system that you have interacted with since infancy. As a leader, you are still interacting with this system and you have a part to play in the shape and future of it. If you can begin to get clarity about your purpose in your career, then you will know what part to play. You will proactively influence the future you want.

Your journey as a leader is a story.

How do you want the story to end? And if you are not completely clear about that, what sections of the story do you want to write today?

What is your purpose as a leader? We want to encourage you today to engage in this question of substance. It will serve you well. As Viktor Frankl said, “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”

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