I’m a firm believer in going after what you want. If there is something in my life that I wish were different, I will do whatever is in my power to change it. However, there’s always a bit of difficulty in deciding what is within my power and what is outside my control.
There is a point when you’re working towards something when you have to relinquish control and just let things happen. But I’ve learned that I’m not good at identifying when that point arrives and deciding to let go at the appropriate time. Part of this is possibly due to my anxiety, part of it is probably because I’m a perfectionist who is fiercely independent and wants to do Everything For Myself. And part of likely comes down to the fact that I’m a bit impatient and I want everything good to happen Right Now.
I feel as though I’m constantly torn between two beliefs: that of “If it’s meant to be, it will be” and “If you want it, you have to make it happen”. I often feel the pull between these two ideas, never quite knowing how to draw the line between them.
On the one hand, I’m not about to sit on my backside and wait for good things to come to me. It’s not in my nature to just wait patiently while expending only the energy to send out some positive thoughts. While I think that positive thoughts are great, they need to be coupled with dedicated action if you’re actually going to get somewhere.
That being said, all the dedicated action in the world isn’t always enough to propel you towards your goal. Sometimes, even though you’ve worked really hard, the stars just never quite align and opportunities don’t present themselves as quickly as you’d hoped. If you keep slaving away, you’ll eventually just work yourself into the ground, so you have to just let things go a little bit.
For me, one thing that has helped me to straddle the line between “working towards a goal” and “letting things unfold naturally” has been to identify where the control in a situation lies. Often in a scenario, we have some degree of control, but we aren’t able to influence the entire outcome. Once I’ve found the things I can control, I put my energy into working on these areas. For example, if I’m going for a job interview, I can’t control the questions I’m asked or the final decision. But I can control my presentation by making sure I’m well-dressed and that I’m equipped with an up-to-date resume. I can control my ability to answer the questions by researching the company I’ll be working with, thinking about some answers to common questions and trying to remain calm during the interview. Once I’m out of that interview room, there’s little more I can do, so worrying about it is pointless. So I try to put my worries out of my mind.
When I get to a point where I’ve done all that I can do to the best of my ability, it’s time to step back. It’s true that sometimes you have to be patient and just allow things to happen. And once you’ve done your bit, it’s that much easier to hand the reigns over to the universe and let it drive for a while.
Also, if I get to a point where I feel like I’ve been working my fingers to the bone and I’m still beating my head against a wall, then I find it’s time to relinquish my stranglehold on the situation. Often, things take a bit of time to take shape and you need to give yourself space to see the bigger picture. It will pay to let go a little, trust me.
Do you struggle between control and letting go? How do you deal with this conundrum?
It’s a hard call. Being on the other side of job interviews is a great way to get inside. I’ve not actually sat in on the process but went through resumes with my boss once. Sometimes there’s an agenda that you don’t even know about or they have someone in the forefront before the interviews even start. Maybe you can wow them out that mindset but it’s a much harder battle. I had one awful interview with a big car manufacturer and my feeling from that was that they wanted to employ a male but felt like they had to interview a woman to look like they were being fair.
I’ve also found with jobs, if things don’t feel right to start with, they are never right. The worst jobs I’ve had were bad from the get go – even the interview and other contact before the offer. Of course, sometimes the money situation means you turn a blind eye but that doesn’t mean you don’t keep looking 🙂
You’re totally right. Sometimes you have no idea what the interviewer is thinking before you even get into the room. Unless it’s a group interview, you probably won’t have a clear idea of your competition either, so my approach is to just do the best I can possibly do and then just let it go.