Years ago I had a dream. It is, by far, one of the most vivid dreams I have ever had.
It was nightfall and I walked off a city bus into bustling activity. Running through the city was a river with a gentle current. A woman who stood beside me jumped into the water
While treading water, she called out to me, “Jump in!”, her face beaming with adventure.
Fully clothed, I jumped in and joined the fun.
She looked over to me, “Are you ready?” she asked.
Not knowing what she meant, I looked ahead and saw a waterfall.
I watched the woman disappear over the edge and soon it was my turn.
I dropped into the waterfall.
I curled up with both hands protecting my neck; a panic came over me.
Suddenly, I heard a soft-spoken voice, “Let go, Karen. Let go.”
I knew the voice was right. I opened my body up and let go of my neck. The sensation of the free fall was exhilarating. The thunderous water silenced the noise in my head. My fear dissipated and a calmness enveloped me.
My body plunged into the pool of rapids; the water felt like satin. I held my breath and the current controlled my destination.
Soon I was by the bank of the river. I walked onto the land, turned and looked to see the view of what I had just experienced.
My eyes sparkled like the sun flickering on the water’s surface, and I whispered, “This is what I want.”
At that moment, I awoke.
Ever since that dream, “Let go, Karen”, is a re-occurring theme in my life. Falling through the waterfall is an impression forever embedded in my imagination.
Letting go is the antithesis of needing to be in control.
In this article I want to explore the word control.
Like most personality traits, someone’s strength can also be another’s downfall.
For example, you might have a strong drive which propels you forward in your career or you might be so driven that you neglect self-care and run yourself ragged.
You might have a strong work ethic which makes you a valuable team member or you might have a strong work ethic that pulls 12 hour work days and leaves no room for romance.
There’s good control, as in self-control and taking control of a messy situation. And there’s troublesome control, as in being controlling or feeling out of control.
How do you know you’re being controlling? How do you know you’re feeling out of control?
I believe there’s four reasons a person is being controlling or feeling out of control. They are either foreboding, anxious, frustrated or annoyed.
Hence, the new acronym “fafa”.
How do you live a successful and fulfilling life without all the bleepity bleep “fafa”?
Right now, today, what is causing you the most fafa?
When you bring awareness to these four specific emotions, and get fafa under control (that’s where control is a good thing!), you have a greater chance of experiencing the vibrant life you long to live.
The dream described the exhilarating experience of what letting go of control could feel like.
Switch one acronym for another.
The goal is to replace “fafa” with the 4 Cs: You get to live your life with your calm, confident, carefree and content self!
Below are a series of questions to help you journal your thoughts.
– Karen Thrall | Business Coach | Human Catalyst
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT
Find a quiet place, go for a walk or listen to calming music to help you reflect. These questions will help you look at the situation with a clearer perspective and step out of the emotions of foreboding, feeling anxious, being frustrated or annoyed.
1. What is causing me the most “fafa”? Where might I need to let go of control or where do I feel out of control?
Which emotion do I experience the most? (foreboding, anxious, frustrated, annoyed)
What is the most realistic scenario that is likely to play out? Focusing on what is most realistic will help calm my “fafa”, help me decide what steps I can take, and help me let go a bit more.
Reflecting on my past experiences and successes, what is a more natural way for me to engage with my situation? Who am I when I’m not “fafa”?
Will this area in my life fall apart if I let go? What do I look like when I don’t feel out of control?
Can I prove my “fafa” to be true or have I over-exaggerated the state I’m in? Or what ‘pretend future’ might I be creating? For example, “What if I can’t pay my bills today and I have to foreclose on my home?” The pretend future is “foreclosing on my home.”
Start today and reframe your perspective by replacing troublesome control with your best natural way of thinking. The way to let go is to make sure the feelings of control and out of control don’t control you. (heh heh, a little play on words)
Once you choose how you want to adjust your behaviour, the final step is to share your thoughts with a close friend or loved one.
ps. Once a month I send out heart-felt insights to empower you to live your life with confidence, clarity and purpose. Every day there are limitless possibilities surrounding you; and it is perspective that opens your eyes to see how significant each day truly is. Please join our professional community.
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