Last week I promised to share some “stuff” I am working through in real timing. And as soon as I posted that blog I had some quick feelings of regret. While I am always writing about my current thoughts, I prefer to wait to share until I have had more time to process (aka— “figuring it all out”). I feel safer with some more space from the rawness of the emotions, and/or the impact of the decisions or circumstances are clearer.
But, I had readers reach out to thank me for last week’s message, telling me that it met them where they are in some way. And that makes sharing the real time process worth it.
So, I have made a blog series out of my very current struggles. I am going to share three weeks worth of my vulnerable humanness leading up to my Ironman 70.3 World Championship race at the end of October. I plan to apply some of these lessons to the experience, and will let you know how my work impacts the entire trip and weekend, in addition to the actual race.
I want to start with a concept I have been turning over in my mind for several weeks now (and even mentioned in my blog already):
Curiosity over Control.
Curiosity over certainty, or even curiosity over judgment.
I do believe that control in itself is not bad. It can be a great source of strength, and can help center us. But trying to control our circumstances and/or others can not only be exhausting, but it can also lead us to be blinded to how our actions are impacting our relationships and experiences. It is not the control that is inherently bad— what can have a negative impact is how energy used to try to control can be isolating, and often is at the potential expense of others.
I have had some life circumstances lately that have opened my eyes to just how much I try to control. And I also became very aware of how this trying can very easily lead to my desire to micromanage and manipulate people and circumstances (and in case you weren’t aware, that’s bad. People want to be seen and understood, not managed or handled). Most of us seek control when things feel out of control… and then the more we try to control, the more out of control we feel. It is a tough cycle.
And lately I have been in it.
I felt so out of control trying to sell our house (and ultimately failing). When we didn’t get a bunch of showings in the first weekend, I noticed that I wanted to blame our realtor. When that didn’t help I tried to do her job. I quickly figured out that was a stupid plan (duh), so I sought out validation from Jamie, friends, and the media as to how and why our house wasn’t sold “in a weekend,” as we we were advised would happen. And this whole time I prayed, but I realized early on that my prayers even felt manipulative. I was even trying to control God!
While that situation felt so out of control I sought out other things that I could get a white knuckle grip on. If I can’t control something so important and stressful then surely I can surely put that energy into something I can control! (Sound familiar?)
Well, long story short: it didn’t work. The short term hits of control wrapped in what appeared to be certainty still didn’t solve anything. And the accumulation of stress, anxiety, and exhaustion over my efforts to create certainty in a situation that just couldn’t be certain made me feel physically sick. And in the end it all unraveled out of my control anyway.
Thankfully, I know this short term problem was and is not “that big of a deal,” especially in the wake of the most recent devastation in Florida, or so many other truly tragic events. We still have an amazing, intact home that we love and I am not wanting to overlook that important fact. This story is not at all meant to pull anyone’s heart strings toward pity for me. I am telling it because I had such an important realization that I believe many could benefit from: how I go about trying to protect myself with an armor of control is a really big deal.
This kind of control is not love. It is not vulnerability. It is not honesty. It is not centering me or fulfilling an important need so that I can serve others better.
It is protection. It is unintentional separation. It is manipulation. And even though some things in life are recently hard, I feel so grateful to have had the opportunity to see something that is likely establishing a barrier between myself and others.
Although I have to remain aware of my default to be hard on myself, I am not “beating myself up” over this realization. I am doing the exact opposite. I am gentle with it. I am allowing it to be. And I am vowing to move forward with more curiosity than ever.
I am curious about how all of this will continue to unfold and am open to new ideas of where we will live and when.
I am curious about how I can love more and better without controlling people (or God ;).
I am curious about how my kids will continue to navigate their lives.
I am curious as to how all of this will help me be a more present and understanding coach.
And I am curious about how focusing on showing up more to my training without fearfully controlling the outcome can lead to even more breakthroughs in the sport I love so much.
As things continue to swirl around me, I have to admit that curiosity feels much better than control. It brings me back to the present moment.
I hope you can consider how you can do the same.