Control Freaks – 3 Tips For Less Stress

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I remember the conversation with my Mom like it was yesterday. I was 19 and she had come to tell me that the Doctor had called and told her it could be any day now that we would have to go say our last goodbyes to my Dad who was in the hospital battling cancer. My first fearful thought was I hoped I would be able to go. At that period of my life I had an alcohol problem which meant at any given time I might be in no condition to go anywhere. I hated that feeling of not being in control.

That moment eventually helped lead me to quit drinking completely, and most likely contributed to my penchant for wanting to be in control of my situation. While this wanting to be in control has helped me to achieve many things and exercising control over your body and mind is usually a good thing, it sometimes leads to the belief that you have to control everything else as well.

Age and hopefully wisdom have shown me that needing to be “in control” of everything all the time can lead to stress, unhappiness, and often do more damage than good. So, my apologies to you Control Freaks out there, but you just CANNOT be in control all the time! I empathize with you. I am a “struggling recovering” Control Freak myself.

Here are three things I have learned that will ease your stress and make life much more enjoyable.

1. It’s  Out of Your Control – Disc Dogging. You have worked tirelessly on a freestyle routine with your dog, and in practice the Frisbee’s are flying right, the entire sequence of tricks flows, and you are ready to step on the field and show the world how it is done. Sometimes however, your buddy has other plans. Maybe they want to go sniff the field, or just NOT run in the direction you have practiced a million times, or even decide that the middle of your routine is a good time to take that afternoon potty break. But it is out of your control. They don’t know how important this is – they are just having fun. So should you – you have to let it go, smile and move on.

2. Share Control – Playing in a Band. Playing with a band is all about teamwork. Well, unless you are a control freak, then it is about getting the team to all do what you want. But I have played with some amazing players, and I have learned if I only have them play what I think they should, I am missing out on all that they can bring to the table. Letting them bring their artistic vision to the jam can be what creates magic! Share control and see if you don’t come up with some great things! But you have to let go to find out.

3. Give up Control – At the Wheel. I usually am the one who drives when I travel anywhere, regardless of who is with me. I like it that way, except that when you are driving it is hard to relax and enjoy the ride. When going on a fishing trip in my friend’s boat however, I am usually not driving, he is. Those are some of the most peaceful times, not just because of the fishing trip, but being out of the tedious decision making process and just going “along for the ride”. That is a good thing to remember in life – occasionally just slide out of the driver’s seat and give up control, then sit back and enjoy the ride, it will keep your stress level down, allow you to see the sights, and maybe even help you get over your freak tendencies.

So for all of you Control Freaks, I suggest this: It is fine to control certain things that are important and within your grasp, but don’t forget to let a few things go that either you cannot control anyway, or that by letting them go will bring a smile to your face and some peace to your soul.

I would love to hear from any Control Freaks out there (either practicing or recovering) – How you deal with letting go of control?

  • http://www.facebook.com/brystrom Bryce Ostrom

    Nice words man, I too struggle with being a control freak (especially when working on non disc related dog training with my better half) She is a saint for putting up with my crap, and now i just try to remind myself how pissed off she gets when i act like a prick.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wickedair Laura O’Neill

    Hi. My name is Laura and I’m a genetically coded control freak. I’m told I spent all of my early life managing my family……I still have friends that appreciate when I ‘take care’ of things, but I too have had to learn to let go that which I cannot control. It is not my responsibility to FIX things for everyone, make sure everyone is happy, etc. I’m still trying to teach the bc to drive so I can enjoy the ride on our frisbee travels!

    Great topic Jeff!

  • Ron Holcomb

    I retired from a job that required me to respond to chaotic situations and restore order. These tasks usually require you to be in as much control of the situation as possible. After more than 27 years in that type of work I began to learn that regardless of the circumstances, we are actually in control of very little other than our own choice of how we will behave. Sometimes we blow that choice and have to make apologies. Generally, I have found that if I work like everything depends on me, and pray like everything depends on God, it all works out well even if the results are not exactly what I would have chosen.