When to Let Go

When to Let Go by Dr. Robert Gerwig

Photo by Author

Focus on the things you can control. And don’t worry about the rest! … These are words I share with others several times a week. A reminder. To help provide perspective. To keep from getting discouraged. To make good use of time, money, and other resources. To keep out of the weeds. To avoid being a victim. To take charge. To get results.

OK, confession. I think a person can influence almost ANYTHING (but that’s another story). … What I’m talking about are the times when it becomes apparent that individuals (or a team) are getting “stuck” worrying about (talking about, commiserating about, being negative about, …) things they can’t control (the weather, the economy, organizational decisions made by the board of directors).

Over time, I’ve learned that I have more patience than the “average” corporate executive. I have tons of patience with people as long as they’re trying their best, working hard, making progress, etc. On the flip side of the coin, I have learned that I have nearly zero patience for people who play the “victim”, people who sit around worrying about a decision that “might” happen, and how it “might” impact them. Honestly, these people drive me C-R-A-Z-Y!!! (and through the behavioral consequences of “shaping”, I help them grow out of this habit or help them find a better “match” somewhere else).

There are plenty of actions you can (and should) take: Data to analyze. Conversations to have. People to reinforce. Strategies to develop. Plans to execute. Letters/emails/texts to write.

Focus on the things you can control and don’t worry about the rest. It’s amazing to me how few of the events people worry about ever take place. Why waste time & resources worrying about something that is unlikely to occur? And if it does, you’ve already taken all the action you can (that was within your control) to mitigate major areas of concern/risk. Right? … I’m not saying you shouldn’t have contingency plans and strategies. I’m saying that once the plan is developed and you’ve done what you can (through hard work, discipline, and executional excellence), be at peace.

Prepare. Plan. Pray. But don’t worry. It won’t help. It brings you down. Makes you less effective. And hurts others around you.

By the way, these are words I say to myself as well. I need the reminder, especially during challenging times. Times of crisis. Times of chaos. Times when the wind is blowing strongly. Don’t worry about I can’t control. Do what I can. Today.

What tips do you have for how to keep focused on the things at hand and not get distracted by things beyond your control?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. The floor is ALWAYS open.

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