Control vs Influence

This past Monday morning, I was distracted as I got ready for my day.  I make a cup of coffee and a protein shake every morning and have been for years.  Try as I might to keep my mind focused on what I was doing, I kept slipping.

This is how the protein powder ended up in my coffee.  

I was not present in the moment, but thinking about an appointment I had scheduled that morning.  I was focused on all the things I didn't know and frankly, things I had no control over.  I was worried about traffic, finding parking and if I'd have to wait.  

Did I affect anyone else?  No, my coffee didn't taste bad after all and I had the extra protein, so everything was just fine.

Now, what if I had been speaking with a client and couldn't focus on what they were saying?  What if I was driving my car?  The results may not have been fine.

Do you find that you are distracted and focused on things that you can't control?  Do you worry about the future, about money or your family? Are you fully present when you are with your clients?  

Let's talk about Control vs Influence.  In this context, control is a positive attribute.  

There are things in this world you can control and things you only have influence over.  Let me give you an example.  In my story above, I knew I had no control over the rush hour traffic.  I could, however, decide the time that I left for my appointment.  I left two hours in advance and breezed through traffic arriving 1 hour ahead of time.  I could not control the number of cars in the parking lot or the size of the parking lot, so I didn't know if I'd find parking.  Well, I did, because I was early, I patiently went up and down the rows until a spot opened up.  Did I have to wait?  You bet I did.  So, I had a really good book and enjoyed my 1.5 hour wait.  I couldn't control the wait time, but I could decide how I spent my time.

While I couldn't control traffic, parking or my wait time, I could influence each one.  By choosing to leave early, traffic and parking were easy. By thinking ahead and bringing a book, I enjoyed my wait time.  

You'll never be able to control everything in your life or business, but you can influence everything.  So, instead of trying to be a "Control Freak" try being an "Influence Freak".  

Oh, and if the protein powder ends up in your coffee, go with the flow.  It actually tastes pretty good.