As leaders, learning to focus on the things we can control and let go of those we cant is an important skill that allows us to remain focused and effective. When we talk about a sense of control, we are talking about the measure of how much control you believe you have over your ability to overcome the obstacles that come your way.
These concepts were introduced into psychology by Julian Rotter. “Rotter posited that a person with an internal locus of control believes that their achievements and outcomes are determined by their own decisions and efforts. If they do not succeed, they believe it is due to their own lack of effort. Whereas, a person with an external locus of control believes that achievements and outcomes are determined by fate, luck, or other. If the person does not succeed, he or she believes it is due to external forces outside of the person’s control.” (Stangor & Walinga, 2014)
Today’s challenge begins with a journal prompt where you can either write, think about, or speak about what areas of your life you do not have control over, and what areas of your life you DO have control over. After completing this exercise, your challenge is to go through your day intentionally focusing on what you can control.
Brainstorm areas and aspects of your life that you don’t have control over, for example, the weather, the reactions of others, the perceptions of others, and gravity. Be as specific as possible, you can even focus on one particular issue or topic for today.
Now, brainstorm all of the areas and aspects of your life that you DO have control over. Some examples are the thoughts you focus on, the way you speak to others, and the social media you consume in your spare time. Be as specific as possible, again, you can focus on one particular issue or topic for today.
Now that you have completed this exercise, throughout the day your challenge is to focus with intention on the areas and aspects of your life that you DO have control over. You can choose one, or multiple, and take moments throughout your day to check-in and refocus on those things you control.
At the end of the day, reflect on what changed or did not change. Reflect on if you noticed anything different about your mood, energy, focus, and that of those around you.
APA dictionary of Psychology
Rogowska, A. M., Zmaczyńska-Witek, B., Mazurkiewicz, M., & Kardasz, Z. (2020). The mediating effect of self-efficacy on the relationship between health locus of control and life satisfaction: A moderator role of movement disability. Disability and Health Journal, 100923.https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1936657420300480
Stangor, C. and Walinga, J. (2014). Introduction to Psychology – 1st Canadian Edition. Victoria, B.C.: BCcampus. Retrieved from https://opentextbc.ca/introductionto
Karaman, M. A., & Watson, J. C. (2017). Examining associations among achievement motivation, locus of control, academic stress, and life satisfaction: A comparison of US and international undergraduate students. Personality and Individual Differences, 111, 106-110
Weir, K. (2020). Seven findings that can help people deal with COVID-19. Monitor on Psychology, 51(4). Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/06/covid-findings