Every one of us has a multitude of personality traits within us – we are soft and strong, reserved and outgoing, ambitious and easygoing. We are one way with our partner, another way with our children and yet another with our colleagues. In different environments and circumstances, we call upon the traits that best serve us in that moment. But what happens when you fall back on traits that you are most comfortable with, rather than reaching into yourself for the one that is most appropriate – especially when things get tough? Instead of learning how to take control of your life, you settle for what’s familiar, generating results that leave you wanting more.
The following case study illustrates how your mindset can hold you back. Sarah was a passionate business owner, but her leadership style left her feeling out of control. When she attended Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery event, Sarah embraced a pivotal reality: When someone embraces a growth mindset, it opens doors to greater mastery. With enhanced self-understanding, you can take control of your life and get what you want out of life.
Sarah spent her lifetime caring for others. As a child, she cared for her own mother who leaned on her for stability and support – in fact, she still does this now. At home, Sarah is the mother of three young children, ages 1, 4 and 6. Given this pattern, it only felt natural to her that she would also be a caretaker for her employees and her business. She was a mom at home, and carried that role with her to work.
When Tony asked Sarah at Business Mastery, “What is the chokehold on your business?” she answered like most people do, citing tangible numbers-based evidence to say that she was growing faster than working capital could keep up. But when Tony dug deeper, Sarah admitted the real problem that was preventing her business from growing: she doesn’t like to fire people.
Tony always says, “The chokehold on the growth of your business is the psychology and the skills of the leader.” In Sarah’s case, she had the leadership skills and the drive to build a thriving, highly profitable hospice business, but her psychology was holding her back.
While Sarah loves her business and is deeply connected with her mission to serve people, her leadership style was driving her margin down and threatening her future, and the future of all those she serves.
Sarah was operating her business as an artist and as a mother. She was passionate about her work and about her clients, but she also let her employees take advantage of her compassionate nature. What she needed was to tap into her inner manager and stop taking care of her employees in order to take control of her business. Sarah was beginning to understand that, in order to learn how to take control of your life and your business, you must step up to the plate.
Many business owners believe, like Sarah did, that their employees are causing their business pain, frustration and loss of revenue and holding them back from growing. But as Tony tells her, you get what you tolerate. If, like Sarah, you’ve created a workplace culture that tolerates anything less than the best from your employees, that is what you will get. Sarah had to set a new standard and raise her expectations if she was going to create a more profitable business.
Learning how to take control of your life puts you in touch with your most authentic self. Use the following strategies to put your true purpose into motion.
Learning how to take control of your life starts with curiosity. What are your natural skills, talents and gifts? Sarah learned that her gift in business is that of the artist. But in order for a business to be successful, artists also need manager/leaders and eventually entrepreneurs if they are going to grow. When you take a close look at your values, at what energizes you and at how you best interact with others, you can discover your own true gift. When Tony helped Sarah better understand her gift as an artist, she was empowered to become the leader her business truly needed. Sarah’s business and her employees didn’t need a mom – they needed Sarah to become a strong, certain leader instead of a pleaser.
When thinking about how to take control of your life, it might seem that control equates to an iron grip. If you could force yourself and your circumstances into submission, you’d feel in charge of your life. In reality, the opposite is true. Human beings are holistic creatures, and building self-efficacy requires tending to your intellectual, physical and emotional needs.
To accomplish this, prioritize self-care. Nourish your intellect with stimulating conversation and activities. Care for your body through optimal nutrition and regular exercise. Learn to master your emotions so you’re operating out of a peak state. Only when you take care of yourself are you able to give yourself to the world.
Learning how to take control of your life is a process of exploration, and it’s normal to get “stuck.” If you’re having a mental block, the key is to shake up your norm. The options are endless. Try connecting with a mentor over lunch or go on a weekend trip to reinvigorate yourself. Prioritize the extracurricular activities you love that seem so hard to “fit into” your schedule. When you explore multiple avenues of inquiry, you’re able to discover yourself on a more meaningful level.
As ironic as it sounds, learning how to take control of your life requires acceptance of the present. This doesn’t mean settling for the status quo or pretending you are fulfilled when you’re not. To take control of your life, you must first appreciate what your current situation is trying to teach you. Instead of resisting life’s difficult lessons, embrace them. Your path to fulfillment is much like the martial art of jiu jitsu, where fluid movement is far more effective at softening blows from your opponent than is fighting back. When you “go with the flow” and embrace curiosity, you’re not distracted by your frustrations and can see new possibilities.
When you feel out of control, it’s only human to feel afraid. So when you’re learning how to take control of your life, it’s common to experience anxiety. To mitigate those fears, work on building practical skills like creating time, learning to delegate and fostering rapport among your team. These are skills that will increase your self-efficacy and prepare you for lasting success.
Get the support you deserve to take control of your life with Tony Robbins’ 7 Forces of Business Mastery, a free content series designed to help you be an authority in work and life.