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Circle of Control

Control is a funny thing... being in control can help you feel calm... AND it can make you feel totally lost and terrified and like you're drowning...


Here's the thing, that drowning feeling... that comes from trying to control things that you just CAN'T. And learning to differentiate between the things you CAN control and the things that will leave you flailing and gasping for air is a HUGE life lesson.

So try this:

Take your sketchbook and draw a circle in the center of the page.

The draw another, bigger, circle around it.

The smaller circle is where you'll write the things that you CAN control.

The larger circle is where you'll write the things you CAN'T control... because there are more of those. Like a lot more.

One of the things I LOVE about this exercise is that it points out how much of what happens in the world and around you that is simply NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. All the things that your worry WON'T FIX. All the things that your attempts to control might actually make WORSE.

Letting go of control means accepting that bad things will happen, but not having to worry about them. Because if they're not your responsibility, then they're not YOUR bad things and coping with them, finding a way around them, or working through them is SO MUCH EASIER if there isn't a whole pile of internalized guilt and stress weighing you down at the same time!

All the things in the outer circle... let them go. Focus on the things you CAN control. No drowning. Just breathe.

Personal vs. Professional: I can't control what my daughter's life is going to be and I can't control whether a client is ultimately going to say yes or no. I'd LIKE to think I have some say in BOTH of those things... but I don't. Not really. What I DO have control over, for each of those things, is how I show up. How I show up for my daughter and what lessons I teach her, now, that can prepare and guide her. How I show up for prospective clients in meetings, in correspondence, how I care for them, and how authentic I am to myself and what I want in MY life. If those things align with that prospect, then they'll probably say yes. But I'm not in control of that and I shouldn't WANT to control it... because that's how toxic working relationships happen...

And, of course, if you're not feeling super confident in your circle-drawing abilities (I know... in mine I broke out of the circles and did a funky, cracked eggshell thing), you can always download the template below, print it out, and glue it into your sketchbook. Let that be something you don't have to control!

Download PDF • 1.30MB


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