There are many situations in which we find ourselves stuck. We wanted to achieve something, made suggestions, described what was to happen and find ourselves wondering.
Things don’t happen as planned.
Standard reactions then are “I know I can’t control things” or “What can I do about it?” with a note of despair.
While it’s true that there is a limit to our ability to control things, it helps to take a closer look.
There is a difference between changing others, controlling a situation or trying to influence others. Quite often they are being confused with reaching the expected result.
Change is constantly with us. When discussing a plan with someone else, both persons involved will be changed. By exchanging information and questions with each other we add to each other’s knowledge and ideas. We also become aware of the existing options which create new options and ideas. We influence each other’s thinking and feelings, but we don’t control them. Individuals automatically decide how they will use a piece of given information by filtering it. The decision to accept a proposed change or not is a follow-up step which depends on their perception of the proposal.
That decision is outside of our control.
What’s in our control is the way we frame the situation or our proposal.
I’ve seen this yet again a few days ago. A participant shared his plans with us and explained his doubts explaining that he didn’t know who would ever listen to his proposal. By inviting him to change the doubt into “why would they listen to him?” he started looking at the situation from a different angle. The situation had shifted from “I doubt my success” to “to succeed I need to find the right person”.
It’s a subtle shift in our wording and a big shift in our thinking.