I want to introduce you to an important lady in my life.
Meet Sophie, my "step-doghter." She's my girlfriend's 7-year-old English Setter mix and as you can see, she's the most adorable, snuggly creature ever.
She's also known around the house as "The Picky Pooper."
For all of her positive attributes, Sophie has an annoying quirk where she will only "do her business" in about three yards in our neighborhood... and they are all two streets away from my preferred walking route.
Since I work from home, I don't always have time between client calls to take Sophie far out of the way when nature calls. The result is a daily power struggle where I pull her leash to keep her on our normal loop around the block and she starts trying to pull me two streets further down.
It becomes quite a sight to the neighbors when they see me occasionally trying to rationalize with a dog on the street corner.
"C'mon, Sophie. I don't have time to walk all the way down there! Can't you just go here on this side of the street like your sister?" My dog Buffy is a 14-year old lab who pretty much goes in the middle of the sidewalk the second she steps out of the house. She's old and beyond worrying about pooping in a dignified manner.
No matter how hard I try to get Sophie to go where I want her to, she will refuse. Inevitably, I always end up having to circle back around to her preferred landing spot to get everything over with.
What's funny is for the ten minutes I waste every day trying to force her to go on my timetable, I could have just walked two streets over, let her do her thing, saved the time, and made things less stressful for both of us.
What do my dog's poop habits have to do with personal development?
A lot. Because it's made me realize how many situations in my life I try to control and make happen on MY terms. Perhaps you can relate.
I'm currently investing money in Facebook marketing, but of course I get frustrated because I want my mailing list to grow FASTER than it is. I have had talks about an interesting business opportunity which would allow me to spread my message to more people than ever... but I'm impatient as I wait for answers.
Each of us has a fundamental human need for certainty. We need to know that we can avoid pain and experience pleasure. Unfortunately, many of us (including yours truly) try to meet that need by attempting to artificially control other people or circumstances.
As I've learned with Sophie the Picky Pooper, that's a flawed strategy which will lead to frustration. Because just as I can't control my dog, I can't control other people. Nor can I control circumstances beyond my immediate circle of influence.
However, my efforts to do so take attention and focus away from the one thing I CAN control, which is my level of patience and attitude. Whenever I'm trying to be in control, I usually end up suffering. I can easily slip into blaming other people for my circumstances or just assuming the worst possible result is bound to happen.
When I let go and surrender the attachment to a specific outcome, I can just allow myself to be guided by the Universe and trust things will work out in divine timing. This doesn't mean I don't take action towards my goals each day, it simply means I stop stressing out over things I can't influence.
Now it's your turn!
Comment below and let me know what you are trying too hard to control. Are you feeling stressed out over election results you can't change? What if you shifted your focus to volunteering for organizations aligned with your beliefs? Are you telling yourself your relationship will improve if your partner would change? What if you focused the attention on how you show up?
Let me know where you are struggling and I will personally respond to each message to send support.
Just not while Sophie is pulling me two streets out of the way on our afternoon walk.
PS- This Monday night, January 30th, I will be hosting an encore presentation of my "How to Reinvent Your Life (at Any Age)" online training. I will share 5 strategies to get you unstuck and on the path to a more fulfilled life. Get more details and register by clicking HERE