Controlling Your Destiny


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For those who may not have already guessed, I’m a control freak.  It can be a terrible characteristic if it is manifested in micro-management, constantly being in tell mode, not listening.  Over years, I’ve spent a lot of time looking at what I can control–and makes sense to control, and letting go.

As much as we like to think we can control things, there is so much beyond our control.

We can’t control our customers or their buying process.  We can only seek to guide it, influence it, help our customers navigate the buying process, but they have to control and manage it themselves.

We can’t control the conversations with our customer or our peers.  As much as we would like to think we control it, we actually lose so much of the valuable interaction when we do so.  We focus on what we want to focus on, perhaps not what’s important.  We suppress engagement when we try to control the discussion.   High quality conversations are two way, we need to share control with the other person.  This doesn’t mean we don’t set an agenda or goals for what we would like to achieve, but that we also have to be aware of what the other people in the conversation want to achieve.

There are lots of things in our sales strategies that are outside our control.  We have to be aware of them, we have to plan for how we might deal with them, should they occur  (we always should have contingency strategies.)

There are things that are, largely, controllable or in our control.  Ironically, they are the things, too few pay attention to, as a result, they fail to achieve–or tend to wander.

We must control our time.  We disciplined in how we use our time, we have to block time effectively, we have to focus on the important, rather than the urgent.

We must control our distraction.   One study shows people checking their phones/devices about 80 times a day.  Another shows millennial looking at theirs as many as 150 times a day.  These distractions are a drain on our productivity and effectiveness.  They rob us of time to think and reflect.

We are in control of how we prepare and execute–but too often, we don’t take control and actually do those things that cause us to be impactful and effective.

We are in control of our emotions —  sometimes, it’s hard to be, but I sit on my hands, bite my tongue and count to 1000  😉

We exercise self control over a number of things, beyond our emotions.

We must seize control of our learning, we cannot cede this to anyone, or fail to have established our own learning and growth objectives.  Too often, I speak with executives and business professionals.  I ask about their personal learning plans—What are you reading, why?  What podcasts/books are you listening to?  What seminars/courses are you taking?    What are you trying to learn, how are you going about it?  Too often, by questions are met with blank stares.  Sometimes, people tell me the training programs their companies have required them to take.

Learning and growing is critical if we are to contribute to our customers, companies, industries, communities.  If we don’t control our own learning agendas, we aren’t growing, or we are ceding our growth to someone else—how can one be a control freak and let this happen.

There is so much we cannot control.  But, by controlling those things we can, we can control, we can more effectively influence those we can’t.

Funny how that works.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dave Brock
Dave has spent his career developing high performance organizations. He worked in sales, marketing, and executive management capacities with IBM, Tektronix and Keithley Instruments. His consulting clients include companies in the semiconductor, aerospace, electronics, consumer products, computer, telecommunications, retailing, internet, software, professional and financial services industries.


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