“Please control me,” said no one, ever.
Major disruption magnifies the feeling of being controlled, as it seems the outer world also wants to control, or consume, us. Anything that has been an annoyance in ‘normal’ times is amplified.
Can you relate to any of these scenarios?
- Mike’s staff member seems to be using the current ‘virus’ climate to disappear from his work without notice. The staff member is great at playing to Mike’s sympathies, after the fact. Trouble is Mike feels controlled and manipulated; explaining policy has netted no change.
- Alex wakes up every night at 3 o’clock in utter fear about her future. While the concern is real, the fear is controlling Alex.
- Bud dreads the barrage of emails sent out from his kids’ school. Anger bubbles up every time he sees them come in. He appreciates the teachers; education is of high value to him. The quantity amplifies his feelings of overwhelm that control him.
- Val notices wine time is getting earlier every day. While working from home the accessibility has come to control her.
- Mary has some underlying health conditions. Her college age children’s behavior worries her about exposure to the coronavirus. They control her by avoiding the conversation.
- Eric is consumed with the racial injustice and the news is controlling his emotions and attention.
- Finally, there is that dog that barks endlessly.
These are all client scenarios. Yes, now they’ve moved beyond feeling totally controlled to having more control in their lives.
What’s the secret? Keep reading…
Spiral Impact® is grounded in aikido, a martial art. The above photograph is a classic attack; the attacker grabs the wrist to control the person so he can land a good punch. There is much to be learned for everyday life in this scenario.
What to do when you feel controlled? First, recognize the attacker (what controls you) can only control your wrist when you respond with resistance. It is the focus on the wrist that freezes you in struggle, giving the attacker more energy and power – control. Also, it blinds you to other things – like that punch coming.
The beginner forgets that his entire body and other arm is free. The wrist is inconsequential unless you engage with it. You are free to move in many other directions when you become proficient at aikido and Spiral Impact.
When you struggle against the control, you give it more energy and strength.
It also blinds you to other things going on.
While I could write a short book about each of these, here are some small parts of how the people in my examples begin to loosen control.
- Instead of continuing to ‘hammer’ or repeat the policies to the staff member, Mike let go of the struggle. He ‘spiraled’ asking the staff member to share his understanding of the policies. Make “Gave him the rock” so the staff member owns his behavior. Then documenting the conversation in writing and both signing it. Going forward, they have an agreed upon process. (see Giving Deliberate Feedback for leaders www.karenvalencic.com/resources)
- Alex’s fear isn’t totally gone. But, she has taken up a breathing and meditation practice that helps immensely. She has my support to continue to explore strategies for her life. She has noticed the meditation practice helping her see her life in a better light.
- Bud has clarified his intention about this time with his children. He realizes that while their education is important, so is his quality time with them, he can’t let being overwhelmed interfere. He wants to model what he’d like them to do as young adults.
- Val’s growing desire for drinking made her realize there was a conflict between her drinking and her performance and health goals. She increased her knowledge by reading a sweet little book, “This Naked Mind” by Annie Grace. Her knowledge about alcohol has spoke to unconscious mind and radically changed.
- Rather than issuing orders, Mary decided to have a conversation with her adult children about strategies for staying healthy. Since the kids were involved and treated as respected members of the family, they’ve been more honest.
- Eric is just beginning to recognize fighting anger and hate with anger and hate goes nowhere. He is day-by-day centering himself with the intention of promoting inclusion and personally seeking to understand people more deeply. This is a changing dynamic situation. As he gets perspective that this is a time of great change, he wants to be part of it in a positive thoughtful way. (I will be writing more about this soon)
- And, the dog…this became an exercise in focus and more than I can write about here!
These disruptions present the perfect environment to deepen your conflict mastery skills. Master Conflict, be more free! And, remember it’s an ongoing process – a spiral.
What are you letting control you?
Would you like some help? Check out my summer of 2020 virtual development options here.