Losing Control Without Losing Your Mind
6 Easy Steps To Save You from Losing Control
“It’s not the fall that gets you.” Have you ever heard somebody say that? I overheard two older folks talking about their fear of falling one time and one of them said that it’s not the actual fall that hurts you, it’s what you do to try and stop it. All the twisting end up making it all worse. Losing control causes the same reaction.
Every election cycle, candidates lose control of their races (more properly, they never had it in the first place!). When they realize they’re not actually in control, their reactions often make the situation worse. Like slipping and falling in the bath tub, trying to fight it makes it worse.
What Can I Control?
Here’s the thing. You can control variables that impact your campaign ($’s raised, doors knocked, systems, public speaking ability, etc) but you’re lying to yourself if you think you can actually control your race.
The problem arises when a candidate actually thinks they control the campaign. At some point, this lie you’ve been telling yourself is going to unravel.
So what’s the alternative?
Don’t lie to yourself. Focus on what you CAN control and acknowledge what you can’t!
Start off by reminding yourself regularly that you’re not actually in control of your fate. But you are in control of certain variables. Focus on those. In some cases, just saying those that out-loud to yourself can be a helpful affirmation.
Next, have a mental plan for what to do when you start to feel the tail spin coming on.
Here’s what I do when I feel out of control:
1. Stop everything and take a breath.
Losing control is a lot like falling. Both make you want to flail around and grasp at anything close by. That usually just makes things worse. At this moment, you need perspective. Detachment.
2. Physically distance yourself from the problem.
Push back from your computer. Put down the phone. Get out of the office. You need to give your brain a reboot and moving away from the source of the problem is a good second step.
3. Say a prayer.
As a Christian, prayer plays a big role in my life. While I may not be in control, God is.
4. Take a look around.
At this point, you’ve successfully detached yourself from the emotional ambush and are able to assess what the REAL problem is and the options you have to resolve it.
You’re thinking clearly and have appraised the problem you’re facing. There are likely multiple actions you’ll need to take, but there’s a priority order involved. Rushing to get them all done simultaneously is going to put you back in a tail spin. Write out your tasks and prioritize them.
Now is the time for action. By now, even if the problem you face is real and dire, you’re going to have a thoughtful plan to give Goliath a run for his money.
Trust the System
I’ll be honest and tell you that I sometimes the tail spin gets the best of me and I forget to use it. But I can’t tell you how many times this mental checklist has saved me from making problems worse! Following these 6 steps will empower you and make it so much easier to deal with the dark hours on the campaign trail.