We decided to take the boys for a walk after dinner.
Before the twins became mobile, this was a daily activity. However, now that they have willpower and ability to move, sitting in the stroller doesn’t bode so well.
About 10 minutes into our walk, they started to get testy.
Their fussing was causing an equal response within myself. I could feel my emotions rising.
“Why won’t they just sit and enjoy this? I would love to be pushed in a stroller.” I thought.
I quickly saw my desires were for my own benefit. It was much more convenient for me with them in the stroller.
In that moment, I made a decision. Let them walk too.
Their response taught me something. They were so excited to walk themselves that they began to listen to us. It gave us an opportunity to teach them to stay on the sidewalk.
In any position of influence or leadership, it’s important to teach people how to ride, but it’s also important to let them walk.
Why do we have a desire to control our environment?
We tell ourselves, “Maybe if I can fix everything just like I want it, then I will get the exact results I want.”
I believe we’re educated enough to know the fallacies of that statement, yet we continue to think this way. Now I would agree that certain actions lead to certain results, but everything doesn’t always have to comply to our mold. Much like walking my boys, enjoyment didn’t only come from being in the stroller, we could enjoy walking as well.
By letting go of our control, we saw that it gave the boys a sense of belonging and they jumped right in.
As leaders, we have to lose control just long enough to let those around us walk. It empowers them and give you the opportunity to teach.
An interesting aside: After about 10 minutes of our boys walking on their own, they hopped right back in the stroller.
Whether in your family, your business or in friendships, you have influence.
Sometimes you take control by giving it up.
Three quick questions to help you:
1. Where are you trying to take control? What things do you desperately want and you’re trying to force them by controlling your environment? Controlling your environment doesn’t always get the results you want. Rather, see yourself in your environment. What benefits could you gain be approaching control from a different angle? We found an opportunity to teach the boys how to use the sidewalk. Seek other benefits of your environment rather than changing it.
2. Where are you trying to force the results that you want by fitting them into the mold you know? To get different results, you often have to take different action. What can you do differently? Most of us refuse because of fear. We’re afraid to let the kids walk outside of the stroller because it’s dangerous. You’re right, sometimes new things are dangerous, but we have to give them a shot. If it doesn’t work, you can try something else. Be adaptable.
3. What are the motives of your desire for control? I wanted my boys to stay in the stroller because it was easier on me. Selfish motives often lead to a cycle of frustration that will only tighten your grip on control. The harder I fought my boys staying in the stroller, the louder they screamed. Are you have control standoffs within your family or business as a result of self-centered motives? Try giving up your motive and seeing how others respond.
I’m reminded that we are called to be stewards of that which we have been entrusted. The tighter we grip control, the more we feel it slide through our fingers.
How can you live richly by giving up control today?
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