I am a control freak.
There. I’ve said it.
I like to know what happens when, with whose participation, for how long and with which anticipated results. That’s why I love having an agenda, and why I expect everybody to be on time and well prepared. That’s why I get annoyed if someone shows up for a meeting and hasn’t read the documentation beforehand. That’s why I have to make a conscious effort to NOT follow up on my team every time I hand over a task.
Theoretically, I know I don’t control everything.
Practically, I know that I can’t do everything myself.
Emotionally, it’s still difficult.
Action items: Trust your choices
Not doing everything myself is not the end of the world, but hopefully the end of ego. This does not mean I can just decide to let go. Instead, I am slowly learning to add more choices to the mix then just the “I’ll do it myself”.
Language is powerful, and by naming different options I bring those options into being, while giving my brain the illusion of control.
- Would you like me to send you a summary in advance, or do you prefer me to walk you through the results in our meeting?
- How would you like to receive this data? Do you prefer the spreadsheet or a text document with explanations on how we did the analysis?
Asking questions and clarifying options, has two distinctive advantages:
- It reduces complexity for the other person / the team. It’s much easier to decide between a limited set of options than between the entire universe (see: paradox of choice).
- It allows my brain to keep up the illusion of control for herself, keeping the options as wide or as narrow as she feels comfortable with at any given moment/
Letting go is a process, both in the physical world as well as in the intelectual and emotional realm.