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Letting Go of Control

Letting Go of Control
Are you trying to control things that are really beyond your control? The article below will help you put things in perspective.

It is human nature to crave stability in our lives, whether it concerns our finances and relationships, our physical safety and even our daily habits. For example, I like our house to be clean, orderly and everything in good repair. For many of us, stability has become synonymous with control; we like to think that if we are running the show, nothing can go wrong. However, as illustrated in the story of my near crash, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

I tend to be one of those people; when things are out of control, I am outside of my comfort zone. I had to learn through experience that in some situations trying to keep things under our control can only make it worse.

I recall the time my wife and I were on our way to the airport in Knoxville, Tennessee to catch a flight to Atlanta; from there we would connect to a flight to Florida, where we were attending the Feast of Tabernacles. As we pulled out of our subdivision in Morristown, my wife looked at the flight itinerary and realized that the time she thought we would leave Knoxville was actually the time we were supposed to arrive in Atlanta. There was no way we would make it to the first leg of our flight. I knew then that this was a big test of my attitude. I had no control over the departure times, but I could control my thoughts and emotions and not let the frustration get the better of me. I knew that if I did not pass this test, we would certainly not make it down to Florida in time for the opening night of the Feast. I would also be giving added stress to my wife, who had made an honest mistake and could not do anything to fix it. I decided I would not get upset with her, and she did what she normally does in situations like that: she prayed. We got to the airport and caught the next flight to Atlanta and, guess what? When we touched down in Georgia, the plane to Florida was still standing there! The test was not over, though, because we were then bumped off the second leg of our flight, and it was overbooked! I asked the attendant in the boarding area if she could put us on the waiting list, gently trying to get her sympathy as we had our son, who was not quite two years old, with us. She said she would do what she could to help us out. We were the last three people to board that plane.

The point to this story: being a hard-nosed control freak who has to get his way would not have helped the situation. It only would have made it stressful, exhausting and embarrassing for everybody. Being demanding with the representative at the gate probably would have made her less cooperative, and chances are we would have never made it to Florida that evening. This had clearly been a test of how I would respond to an inconvenient and frustrating situation, and I had passed!

In situations like that it helps us to remember the admonition of the Apostle James: “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience“ (James 1:2, KVJ). Instead of being frustrated, we can look at each situation as a learning and testing opportunity.

And even if we do miss a flight, who knows, there may be a reason and a purpose. Learning to trust that things will work out, even when they do not work out the way we expected, we can rest in the assurance “…that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose,” (Romans 8:28, KVJ).

There are many things beyond our control – the wind and the weather, other people and a whole host of circumstances – but we can learn to control ourselves, and how we set the sail in response to each challenging situation.

This is common sense, but unfortunately not so common a practice. I know, because giving up control of circumstances is not something that comes naturally for me, thus I continuously need to remind myself to shift my focus to controlling my own reaction to them.

I find it helps to think about those situations before we get into them. The more we can think about them rationally, rather than reacting to them emotionally, the more we are trusted and respected by other people. The more we are respected, the more influence we have, which usually yields much better results than our attempts to control. The more we practice controlling ourselves, the more our influence will grow. Then a lot more things will go the way we hope them to go without being demanding, manipulative and unpleasant in the process.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What situations have I been in, where I tried to control a situation and made it worse?
  • Have I had situations in my life where I stepped back, and did not try to control a situation and things worked out just fine?
  • Are there situations right now in my life, where it would be best to just let go of trying to control them?
  • What would I tell myself in the future when I get into a stressful or frustrating situation?
  • What would the best response be if I acted rationally and in faith?


Reinhard Klett, Performance Coaching, uniquely personalized to their specific needs.

As a Certified High Performance Coach™ I coach my clients to apply the 5 High Performance Habits which extensive research has identified to be strongly correlated to higher performance and fulfillment in life. To raise their profitability, I help leaders to develop outstanding company cultures with fully engaged employees.

Another tool in my coaching program is my highly rated book “Letting Go Saved My Life”. Sharing the lessons from a personal story of survival in which letting go literally saved my life, I have inspired many readers to let go of things in their lives, which hold them back from becoming their best, and do the things that matter most to them.

Working in the corporate world for 30 years I have experienced many different corporate cultures.  This has given me a keen sense on how cultures impact productivity, employee health and satisfaction, and the bottom line. Hence my passion to coach business leaders.

You may also contact Reinhard at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.


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