Written by 7:46 am Pursue Greatness

Manging the Uncontrollables

Beat Yesterday shirt

It’s hard to stay consistent these days.

There are a million distractions every single day. Life seems to change every other week since the covid-19 pandemic started. Work from home (WFH) has replaced our morning commute.

Gyms. Restaurants. Life, in a lot of places, has seemed to close down.

Today, it’s one thing. Tomorrow, it’s something completely different.

How in the world are we supposed to maintain consistency in our workouts (or life!) when it feels like so much is changing every day?

We stay consistent by not letting what’s outside of our control become the excuse for how we respond with what’s in our control.

There are still four things you control every day regardless of what is going on in the world around you.

  • Attitude
  • Actions
  • Effort
  • Focus

You 100% decide each morning what you’re going to do with each of these “controllables” and how you’ll show up today with them.

So your gym got closed? You can do bodyweight workouts in your apartment, local park, or garage every single day if you choose to. There are hundreds of free & paid workout programs for at-home, no equipment workouts.

So you’re struggling to balance kids & WFH? So are thousands of other parents. Test & try different schedules. Laugh at uninterrupted Zoom meetings. Stay flexible while staying focused. Other people have found a way to do it, so can you.

So your speaking gig was postponed again to next year? I get it, so were a bunch of mine. Figure out how you’re a) going to support the client during this next year virtually with relevant content, and b) utilize the time you would have spent researching, rehearsing for, & traveling to that gig to instead make sales calls or create new content.

Unexpected challenges happen to all of us. It’s just that most of us fail to see the power we have in our response. If you want to be someone who makes progress in the midst of uncertainty, make sure you…

Learn to Let Go

You’ve got to let go of control and accept the cold, hard truth about life – certainty does not exist outside of the four things you control. You can’t control what’s not your controllable, no matter much you want to.

Even worse, worrying about something doesn’t actually prevent it from happening. It’s simply wasting energy & emotion into “hoping” for something different instead of investing that same energy & emotion into improving our positioning for tomorrow.

There’s pain, and heartbreak, and a whole lot more that we have to deal with in life. But the first step is taking a deep breath and letting it go with the reminder that “we can’t control it.”

Evaluate Your Perspective

Evaluate your perspective and how you see the situation. Is this situation something you can actually influence? If yes, then evaluate how you’re seeing it and using your controllables to influence it in your direction.

If it’s not, ask yourself why you keep investing focus into it? Ask yourself, will this matter in a week, a month, or even a year? If the answer is no, don’t let it take up any more of your today.

Concentrate on Your Controllables

Concentrate on what you can influence (your controllables). How will you respond with your:

  • Attitude – will you choose optimism with a focus on what you control, or pessimism with a focus on what’s not “going your way?”
  • Actions – how will you respond? Our actions tell the real story.
  • Effort – will you allow what’s outside of your control diminish how much effort you give today?
  • Focus – this goes back to our shifting perspective. Are we choosing to focus on what’s in our control (and how we respond with it) or procrastinate by focusing on what’s outside of our control?

Remember What Competition is About

Competition doesn’t equal victory. You aren’t guaranteed to win at everything. We all fall short in the pursuit of meaningful victories. It’s going to happen.

Now that we’ve established it, if you’re someone still willing to show up and compete, then focus on how you’re competing today. Put your efforts & energy into the process of making progress today instead of being solely fixated on your outcome.

Most people quit when they’re consumed with the outcome and don’t see immediate success, or they fall short of reaching it. Champions are made of the few people who focus simply on the process to get better. When they fall short of their goal, they evaluate how to improve and start again.

Do the same.

Be Honest With Yourself

Give yourself one of those “heart to heart” conversations. Is the time you’re spending focused on what’s outside of your control for problem-solving or is it for sitting in the “What if’s,” “shoulda, woulda, couldas” outside of your control?

If you’re not actively working on a solution for the problem, you’re waste today by choosing to stew on what’s outside of your control.

Own Your Controllables by Taking Responsibility for Your Response

Take responsibility for what you control.

Too many people are quick to “pass the buck” for their own decisions (or lack thereof). They fail to see that they still have control of their controllables, and what they do with them isn’t the government, their boss, or even their spouse’s fault. It’s theirs.

Being consistent in the midst of inconsistent circumstances is about owning our actions and response. When we fall short of the standard we’ve set, we own it. We don’t make excuses. We figure out why we fell short and make adjustments so that we meet – or exceed – the standard in the next attempt.

This past year has been anything but perfect. There are challenges big and small that every single one of us is facing, but too many of us are using what’s beyond our control to be the excuse for how poorly we respond with what’s in our control.

We build our resilience (and ability to adapt to change) by learning to embrace the steps above & our relationship with uncertainty. If you’re committed to becoming someone who can make progress despite outside challenges, be someone focused on their controllables & consistently showing up to compete every day.

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