Posts tagged with ‘faith’

12 sep

Let Go of Control

MikeRobbins96I had a simple, but profound experience in the swimming pool last week – I floated on my back for the first time in my life. I do know how to swim and enjoy being in the water, but for some reason I never was able to figure out how to float on my back when I learned to swim as a kid and as an adult it hasn’t really been something that has come up as an issue in my life (although it has always been something that I wanted to learn, felt a bit embarrassed about not being able to do, and also didn’t quite understand).

Thanks to the help of my friend Steve last week, I was able to let go and allow the water to support me. It felt scary at first, but once I figured it out, it was an incredibly liberating and relaxing experience. As I was floating there in the pool I had many thoughts, feelings, and insights – the biggest of which had to do with my own obsession with controlling things, and my deep desire and fear about letting go.

How controlling are you? Would you consider yourself very controlling, moderately controlling, or not controlling at all? While each of us falls somewhere along the continuum of control and for some of us this is a bigger issue than others, for most of the people I know and work with, control is an issue that gets in our way – especially in the most important (and stressful) areas of life.

What causes us to be controlling?

There are many reasons, beliefs, and emotions that lead us to hold on tight and feel the need to control others, situations, circumstances, money, communications, food, workflow, details, our environment, and various other “important’ aspects of our lives. However, here are three things that are usually underneath our controlling tendency:

  • Fear – We worry that things won’t turn out, we will get hurt, bad things will happen, etc.
  • Unworthiness – We don’t feel as though we deserve support, help, or for things to go our way.
  • Lack of Trust – We’re scared to let go, count on others, and to believe that things will be okay without us managing every aspect of the situation, relationship, conversation, etc.

What does being controlling cost us?

There is a huge cost associated with being controlling. This negative impact is not only on us and our well-being, but also on those we love, the people we work with, and everyone around us. Here are some of the biggest costs:

  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Freedom
  • Energy
  • Creativity
  • Support
  • Ease
  • Connection
  • Love

How can we expand our capacity to let go of control?

There are many things we can do to let go of control. With compassion for ourselves, it’s important to remember that this is a process and something (especially for some of us) that may not come all that easy. Many of us have been literally “trained” (directly or indirectly) to be controlling and in certain environments and situations (at work and at home), being controlling has been encouraged or seemed necessary for our own survival and the survival of those around us.

That being said, here are some things you can do and think about to expand your own capacity to let go of control in a positive and liberating way:

1) Be honest with yourself – Make an authentic assessment about your own controlling nature. It probably varies a bit for you (as it does for most of us), but at the same time we all have certain tendencies, especially in the most important and stressful areas of our lives. With empathy and honesty, take a look at where, how, and why you hold on tight to control in whatever way you do. And, be real with yourself about what this costs and how it impacts you and those around you.

2) Ask yourself, “Am I willing to let go of control?” – This is an important question to ponder and to answer honestly. In some cases and in certain situations, the answer to this question may be “no.” It’s important to honor that if that’s the case for you. And, at the same time, the more willing you are to ask and answer this question, the more likely you are to start letting go of control consciously (assuming it is something you’re truly interested in doing). You may not know how to do it or what it would look like, but authentic willingness is always the first step in positive change.

3) Consider who could support you – Getting support is one of the most important (and often most vulnerable) aspects of letting go of control. Even though we sometimes feel like we’re all alone, that no one “gets it,” and/or that we couldn’t possibly make ourselves vulnerable enough to ask for help (especially in certain areas of life), it’s difficult to let go of control without the support of other people. The irony of asking for help is that many of us don’t feel comfortable doing so and fear it makes us seem weak or needy, and on the flip side most of us love to be asked for help and really enjoy helping others. We can’t do it alone! And, the good news is that most of us have lots of people in our life that would jump at the chance to support us – if we were willing to ask for help more freely.

4) Surrender – This is the bottom line of letting go. Surrendering doesn’t mean giving up or not caring, it means trusting and allowing things to be taken care of by others, by the process, and by the Universal Intelligence governing life – some call this God, some call this Spirit, some don’t call it anything, but most of us have an experience of It at some level. Surrendering is about consciously choosing to trust and have faith. It is something that can liberate us in a profound way and is all about us choosing to let go.

When we look back on our lives in hindsight, we usually see that “things happen for a reason.” What if we lived in the present moment with this same hindsight awareness? As one of my mentors said to me years ago, “Mike, you’re living your life as though you’re trying to survive it. You have to remember, no one ever has.”

Letting go of control is about loosening our grip, allowing ourselves to be supported, and trusting that things will turn out as they are meant to. Is this easy? Not always, although it can be. However, as we practice this and expand our capacity to let go, we’ll be able to release and transform a good amount of unnecessary stress, worry, and anxiety from our lives, our work, and our relationships.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on September 12th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, Health, Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

21 jun

Trust Is Granted Not Earned

MikeRobbins96How easily do you grant your trust to other people? What factors play into your ability or inability to trust certain individuals around you? What do people need to do to earn your trust?

As I personally reflect on these questions, I’m reminded of both the importance and complexity of trust in our lives, our work, and our relationships. Trust is one of the most critical elements of healthy relationships, families, teams, organizations, and communities. However, many of us have an odd or disempowered relationship to trust – we’ve been taught that people must earn our trust, when, in fact, it’s something we grant to others.

I learned early in my life that it wasn’t always safe to trust people – my folks split up when I was three, I went to tough schools and found myself in some difficult situations, and part of my “street-smart, survival kit” was to be very suspicious of just about everyone I came into contact with. While this did serve me to a certain degree as a child and adolescent (at least in terms of survival), as I got older I noticed that my resistance to trusting others created some real issues in my life and my relationships.

No matter how many “tests” I put people through in order to have them “earn” my trust, at the end of that whole process, it was ultimately up to me to grant them my trust (or not) – and then to continue to trust them (or not).

We each have our own internal process about trust – much of which is based on past, negative experiences. In other words, we get burned, disappointed, or hurt in life and then decide, “I’m not doing that again” and we put up barriers around ourselves to keep us “safe.”

While this makes rational sense, it usually leaves us guarded, leery, and insecure – unable to easily create meaningful and fulfilling relationships with people. The irony is that no matter how guarded we are, how thick the walls we put up, or what we do to try to keep ourselves from getting hurt and disappointed; it usually happens anyway.

One of my teachers said to me years ago, “Mike, you’re living as though you’re trying to survive life. You have to remember, no one ever has.”

What if we granted our trust more easily? What if we were willing to make ourselves vulnerable, to count on other people in a genuine and healthy way, and to expect the best from others authentically? Michael Bernard Beckwith calls this being “consciously naïve,” which may seem a little oxymoronic on the surface, but at a much deeper level is very wise and profound concept.

Will be get hurt? Yes! Will we be let down? Most certainly. Will people violate our trust? Of course. However, this will happen anyway – it’s just part of life. Ironically, the more we are willing to grant our trust consciously, the more likely we are to create a true sense of connection, cooperation, and collaboration in our lives, relationships, families, teams, and more – even if we feel scared to do so or it seems counter-intuitive at times.

We almost always get what we expect in life. What if we start expecting people to be there for us, to do things that are trust-worthy, and to have our backs and our best interests in mind? As with just about everything else in life, it’s a choice. As Albert Einstein so brilliantly stated, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.”

I choose “friendly,” how about you?

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on June 21st, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

23 feb

Never Miss An Opportunity To…

JayForteWith Valentine’s Day just behind us, I was reminded of our tradition to take a day and celebrate special events. We celebrate mothers, fathers, pilgrims, veterans, workers, religions traditions, famous people and presidents. Overall, a good idea.

What struck me more is the concept of a holi “day.” If these are really important events, why do we limit the celebration to just a day? Shouldn’t we identify the reason for the celebration and build them into all aspects of life each day?

Here’s my thought. Holi “days” aren’t cutting it. The daily celebrations are too infrequent and don’t encourage enough of the right behaviors to last all year. In a world that is increasingly unkind, selfish and confrontational, couldn’t we make an improvement if we were to extend the meaning of the celebrations? Couldn’t we stay more focused on being kind, considerate, passionate, loving and respectful?

In my house, we wake up each morning and say either “happy anniversary,” or “happy Valentine’s Day.” Every day we celebrate our relationship as the cornerstone of our lives – a good and happy place. The message of both an anniversary and Valentine’s Day is a daily celebration.

Imagine if each day were a “thanksgiving” celebration. What if each day you made time around the dinner table to celebrate one great thing that happened. Imagine how it could change the victim and cynical perspective that our troubled world inspires. Make the home the safe place, the grateful place, the loving place that supports, inspires and protects. This prepares each member of the house to boldly go into a challenging world and be more upbeat, optimistic and caring – something the world could use more of. And we have a chance of making it happen if the thanksgiving celebration was a daily event.

I find that holidays have become either commercial events or traditions. Neither supports the true intent of the holiday. Gift giving is a great thing; it should never be obligatory. A celebration of faith and belief should not put you into debt. A celebration of freedom and of those who fought for it should be a daily event, lest we forget the degree of their sacrifice and the requirement of our continued sacrifice. Again, daily lessons, daily celebrations.

So my suggestion is to replace holi”days” with a “never miss an opportunity to…” approach – a new daily focus on celebrating what matters most in life. Here is the start of my “never miss an opportunity to…” list. What would you add?

“Never miss an opportunity to…”:

  • Tell (and show) the people you love how much you love them and what they mean to you.
  • Share a story about your life’s success and failures to teach someone else.
  • Make someone else feel important, even if you did most of the work.
  • Show your patriotism and respect for your country.
  • Show your tolerance for and acceptance of someone who does not look like you or believe in what you do.
  • Stop and appreciate a flower, a tree, the wind, a star, rock formation or any other part of nature.
  • Know yourself, your talents and passions, so you can build a life that makes you happy, successful and engaged.
  • Say thank you, hold a door open, let another person or car pass ahead of you, or to be kind to someone you don’t know.
  • Give away some of your “extras” to someone who has no “extras.”
  • Learn something new to expand what you know and your contribution to the world.
  • Make the first call even when it is the other person’s turn.
  • Share a call, thought, card or gift with someone you love or who needs to hear from you – just because.
  • Say you are sorry when you hurt someone – even if you didn’t mean to.
  • Allow another to have an opinion different than yours, and still respect them.
  • Spend more time with your pet; be kind and respect all life.
  • Develop your personal faith; have it encourage your acceptance of yourself and others; allow it to accept, not reject others.
  • Keep your planet safe for those who will need it after you.
  • Talk about differences instead of fight about them; find commonalities and reasons to get along instead of disagree.
  • Respond to natural and social tragedies with care, urgency and self-sacrifice.
  • Sing, dance, laugh, tell a joke, cry or be more human, even when others you don’t know are watching. Invite them to join it.
  • Smile at someone you don’t know.
  • Bound out of bed, excited you have another day.
  • Remember you must share the planet with others who have the same right to be here, be respected, earn a living, find love, develop their talents, create a life, share a history and make and impact.

How will you never miss an opportunity to connect the very special people in your world? And how can you make the core of our holiday messages become part of your daily approach to life?

Never miss your opportunity to celebrate and to make a difference. Your life, your choice.

Jay Forte is a motivational speaker and performance consultant. He is the author of Fire Up! Your Employees and Smoke Your Competition, The Hunt for Opportunities Success Manual and the on-line resource Stand Out and Get Hired. He works to connect people to their talents and passions to work strong and live stronger. More information at www.LiveFiredUp.com.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Jay Forte on February 23rd, 2010 in Family, General, Health, New Directions, Relationships, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , ,