Are You In Control of Your Life?
Are your dreams of starting and running your own business on hold? Are the following thoughts frequently popping into your mind?
• “I wish I were as confident as they are!”
• “There’s no point in trying I know I will fail anyway.”
• “I don’t have the experience and knowledge.”
• “The bank will never loan me the money to start a business.”
• “The economy is not good at the moment. I will wait until the economy picks up.”
• “I’m too old/too young! No one is going to listen to me.”
• “I haven’t got the time to get started now as the children are too young and they need me.”
Are thoughts like this keeping you stuck, feeling miserable and unable to move forward with your dreams of starting your own business? If these questions pop into your head on a regular basis it is no surprise that you ask if you are in control of your life!
In life, it’s easy to attribute our success or lack of success to factors outside of our control. If the above thoughts resonate with you it is likely that you have an external locus of control.
In the 1906’s, Julian B Rotter developed the concept of locus of control, whereby he investigated the extent to which individuals believe they can control events that are happening to them.
People with an external locus of control believe that they have no or little control over what happens to them. They are likely to blame the economy, other people, or attribute circumstances down to luck or chance. Whereas, those with an internal locus of control will work hard to achieve the things that they want, will feel confident in the face of the challenges they face and are less likely to be influenced by the opinions of others.
If you feel that you have little control over what happens in your life it is likely you have an orientation towards an external locus of control. If you want to feel happier, less stressed and more in control you need to have more of an internal locus of control or else you will believe that life is futile, and feelings of futility will result in you taking little action to grow as a person.
The following tips will help you to achieve more of an internal locus of control and to take control of your life:
Be Aware That You Do Have a Choice
It is important that you realise that you always have a choice, whatever the situation… That choice could be to take action or not… to wait or to start now… to get help or struggle alone… Once you realise that you do have a choice you will find it empowering and liberating. Realise also that these options are not always an either/or situation. Spend some time to brainstorm your ideas and come up with alternate options and to run them by some trusted friends and family members.
Notice Your Language
Are words like “can't,” “won't” and “never” featuring in your everyday language?
These words can be debilitating as they programme your brain to think and feel that you cannot and will not have the things you desire. You can change your language to be more positive.
Instead of saying "I'll never…" say something like "I'll find a way to…" or "I'll work it out." Don’t say "I can't…" or "I'll try to…" say "I will…” These changes to your vocabulary may not seem like much, but in effect, you are reprogramming your brain and getting rid of those debilitating words and instead training your brain to think that anything is possible.
Be Proactive Rather Than Reactive
We all know people who seem to have their life “together” - people who manage their time and balance their work responsibilities with work and family obligations and even managing to fit in a few hobbies. They appear to be happy, stress-free and are making the most of their accomplishments. On the other hand, there are others who are constantly fire-fighting and moving from one crisis to another. To get more control you need to respond and not react to circumstances. You need to be taking the initiative and doing what needs to be done instead of waiting for things to force your hand. You can do this by prioritising what needs to be done and distinguishing between urgent and important.
Work with a Coach
When you are caught in a negative spiral of thoughts it can be hard to move forward, especially when you lack vital support from your friends and families. The beauty of working with a coach is that they can help you to find the answers from within. They are there to support and motivate you and to evaluate the options that are available to you. In so doing you will discover that you do have more control than you thought.
Working with a coach will also help you to achieve your goals faster than if you are working alone.
Finally, I would like to say that if you are waiting for a better time to start your business, you should know that a better time rarely appears. There will always be something getting in the way. Take courage, get support and take control of your life now. Start your business now as it takes time to get things off the ground. Start with your research and working on building strong foundations.
About the Author
Sandra Hinshelwood is a business coach and mentor and editor of Business Partner Magazine. She works with small business owners and solo entrepreneurs, helping them to eliminate overwhelming feelings and empowers them to focus on their goals and visions with greater clarity and confidence.