As a recovering control freak, there are three things I know for sure about trying to control things: We let go.And we open ourselves to all sorts of wonderful possibilities that aren’t there when we’re attached to one “right” path.
Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.” ~ Unknown I’ve always been a control freak. I was born with the ability to quickly envision the most efficient way through a task, activity, project, problem, puzzle, or challenge. “Anything worth doing is worth doing right.” That phrase was nurtured into me as a child. First, I lovingly acknowledged my Control Freak persona for all the good she’d been to me and for me. I used to be all about “my way or the highway,” and now I’m more like, “My highway has all sorts of new twists and turns to explore.” I began to enjoy being a passenger when the person driving went the long way to our destination because they didn’t pre-plan the route. (Laughing at myself here about saying “let” and “better”—the control-freak phrases still lurk within! Working with others is so much more interesting than working to control them. I’ve never been hooked on an outcome, just on the process for getting there.
This has made me useful to many people, especially in my workplaces. Especially when I’ve expected others to buy into the approach I knew would work best, fastest, most efficiently. If I delegate a task to somebody else, it won't be done the “best” way, will it! It’s a good philosophy, but sometimes I’ve taken it too far. Then I accepted that she was officially in my past. ) Yes, I still often envision a “better” way, but I began to appreciate alternate ways just as much. I’m now enjoying not being hooked on the process either. Relinquishing control is as rewarding and as powerful as taking control.
This is a good retirement attitude, and these days I’m all about learning how to be retired. Now I focus my control-freak persona on only those things. Mostly, they are things that nobody else cares about, nobody else will even notice whether they get done or not. There are still times when I crave that I’m-in-control feeling. I’ve decided that, for me, it’s really a craving for getting something done.
The good news is, I don’t need to do that “right” either. A craving for control is actually a craving for that feeling of accomplishment we all get when we complete something and/or do something well. Be completely open to alternative ways of doing things.
Perhaps my way was very efficient, but not necessarily ideal. I began a personal challenge to unlearn that old behavior.