With multiple priorities and responsibilities in our day to day lives it can be challenging to know how to move forward and feel a sense of accomplishment. At times we expend substantial energy; spiritual, mental, emotional and physical only to encounter unsatisfactory results. As demands continue and increase this can become a pattern leading to discouragement. There are things within our influence and control that we can employ to keep on track and feel good about it; even in the absence of immediate results.
Sometimes we need to feel a sense of accomplishment even when tangible change cannot be observed. Accomplishment resulting in satisfaction can be different for each of person. Yet, adequate results can be realized by targeting where we focus our efforts.
To begin, evaluate goals and priorities that you embrace; is it your goal/priority or someone else’s? If it is your goal, evaluate why you have the goal, it’s purpose and importance. Is it a another’s goal or priority that you play a role in? If so, you may need to take ownership and engage where you would otherwise choose not to. If you have no stake in the goal you may need to disengage from it. Upon evaluation you may find that you have taken on misguided responsibility. Is the priority of the goal low, medium or high in terms of value and time? Let this guide you in how you prioritize the time and specific efforts you invest in it.
Next, screen what is within your influence or control and what is not. Consider the following; others thoughts, choices, feelings, responses, and consequences. How about your own thoughts, choices, feelings, responses and consequences? Although you do not have control over another person’s thoughts, you do have varying levels of influence. For example, you can communicate with another person to discover his/her thoughts regarding a goal or priority. Once you have listened you gain some influence and can further your influence by communicating your perspective. For our goals and priorities we are responsible for what is within our control and where we have influence. Target and apply your energy to that. We are not responsible for what is not within or control. For example, if you have worked at encouraging a person toward a healthy choice your effort does not guarantee that person will choose the healthy path. Although you may be disappointed, you can give yourself credit for doing what was within your control, encouraging the other person toward a good choice. You cannot choose for that person; you are not responsible for that person’s choice. You are responsible for what is within your realm of influence and control. If it is not apparent seek the perspective of someone you trust. Sometimes you won’t know how much influence or control you have until you try.
At times we may not feel motivated to take action where we have influence or control. If it is appropriate, we can choose to take action even if our feelings are contrary, because we have control of our response in spite of how we feel. We can choose to change even when we do not feel like it; even when life is unfair. We cannot change how we got here today, we can change what we do with it, how we think about it and how we behave, either reactively projecting or proactively taking ownership toward a more promising and satisfying today and tomorrow. When you have engaged yourself where you have influence and control you can give yourself permission to be satisfied, not based on results alone, but based on that you have done what is within your ability. Today you can choose. You can focus to bring about change today through targeted efforts. Your choices today will lead to the tomorrow you experience. Choose to be clear on how you apply your energy today. Then give yourself credit.
Malcolm J Wilson Jr., LPC, NCC
MBTI® Master Practitioner