Mind Matters

Control – or lack of!

LearnedWhenYouTryToControlI had a day this week where I felt like a car going 100mph. A car with un-responsive steering and defective brakes. A car that unless handled carefully would crash at any moment.

When I got home from work, I needed to reflect on what caused me to feel how I had so I could prevent it happening again in the future.  I started with the facts:
  • I’m transitioning into a new job; having to learn new processes and working with a new team.
  • I had lists, but they were disjointed and some hadn’t made it out my head and on to paper, so my head was spinning.
  • I kept gaining stuff to do which wasn’t on any of my list and they needed my immediate attention.
  • I’ve worked waaay more hours than I normally do in a week, meaning my me-time has suffered.
  • Wednesday night I only managed three hours sleep.
  • Good ol’ self doubt was creeping in, telling me I’d bitten off more than I could chew and that I wasn’t coping.
MasterpieceAndWIP.jpgWhen I read back the above, it’s no wonder I was feeling hot under the collar. What I’d really needed to do, was cut myself some slack, take a step back and breathe.  I was trying to do too much and manage too many emotions all at the same time.  I knew what I had to do to gain back control, but when your mind is racing a million miles a minute, it’s hard to find the brake pedal. Knowing what you need to do, but feeling like you can’t do it, feels a bit like having a bad dream, you know it’s a dream, but you can’t wake up.

So what happened? Someone basically shook me (metaohorically speaking!) and woke me up. AnythingYouCantControlThey forced me to take time out away from my desk to do what I needed to do to get control back.  I plugged myself into my headphones, took a blank A4 sheet and transferred everything in my head onto the paper.  There was no neatness, order or logic.  I wrote fast which showed me how stressed I was – I just had to get it all out.  After I’d downloaded, I felt slightly more in control.  I re-read my list and grouped items in terms of priority.

 The way I was feeling (self-doubt, overwhelmed by the new job etc), I knew was due to tiredness.  Pretty much everything on the above list was or had been in my control.  They were my own choices/reactions.  On reflection, some of them maybe weren’t the best choices, but that’s to think about another day !

WhenYouCantControlFinal thought: What I’ve learned is that I need to keep more of an eye on myself. Instead of applying my ‘head down and keep going’ technique, I need to force myself to take time out as soon as I start to feel like I’m veering off course.  Easier said than done, this is going to take a lot of practice!  It’s also useful to have at least one person around who knows you well enough to see you are about to start to lose control of yourself and help you put the brakes on.  I’m off to find myself one of these people!


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