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​Letting Go of Complete Control and Just Getting in the Driver's Seat

The Conversation (1)
Paula Gibbs09 Sep, 2020

Great article! I love this analogy! In the driver's seat you have to get now with it, drive and make the best decision you can in the moment.

Fresh Voices
5 min read
Self

Independence is one of the building blocks to a strong foundation for success. I take pride in my independence, but I have also recently drawn a direct correlation between my strong sense of independence with my intense need to control many, if not all, situations.

The question now is, why has personal independence forced us to become dependent on our ability to control every single situation?

There is a misconception that in order to maintain our independence, we must be completely self-reliant. But sole self-reliance tends to increase our need for control everywhere. It's a vicious cycle of maintaining independence based on total self-reliance while needing to retain optimal control due to that same self-reliance. For me, this has always been career-focused control, but I'd be lying if I said I cannot find comparisons in my personal life as well. The question now is, why has personal independence forced us to become dependent on our ability to control every single situation?

We've been given a narrative—one that matches the status quo—for all areas of life. So many of us strive to remain aligned with this narrative so intensely that a need for control is only a natural reaction. But that need for control that protects us from going outside of the traditional narrative has also heightened unnecessary anxiety and caused an internally driven pressure that actually results in an overall lack of independence and a loss of individuality. We become so focused on self-reliance that our need to be independent actually becomes codependency centered around maintaining control.

Our feelings of control exert a big influence on how we see risks. The less we feel in control, the less willing we are to take a risk. I believe my issues with control have been primarily career-focused, because those are some of the biggest risks I've taken in my life. Even if our control is only giving us a false sense of sole self-reliance, it allows us to feel safer taking career-related risks.

If you feel in control, you may feel more comfortable engaging in risky behavior due to that sense of control. While that has been the mindset I tried to operate under for the formative years of my career, I see now that it was one of the biggest falsehoods in my professional life. You do not need to control everything in order to feel confident enough to take a risk. Risks are not meant to be cushioned by your level of comfort or they wouldn't be risks!

We become so focused on self-reliance that our need to be independent actually becomes codependency centered around maintaining control.

In recent years, I've made an ongoing and conscious effort to shift my mindset from maintaining forceful and commanding control of everything to simply allowing myself to be in the driver's seat and going from there. This was a major turning point in my career.

The driver's seat allows us to take ownership and responsibility while not holding ourselves hostage to a controlled predetermined narrative.

Why is total control a losing mind game?

  • Control forces you to fake it until you make it. It's the worst advice I'd ever been given. Faking it until you make it is the moment when you completely lose sight of the value of your current self.
  • Control forces you to live a life according to the status quo. When we force ourselves to live according to the status quo, we ultimately limit our true potential.
  • Control leaves us with a continuous letdown cycle for a lack of perfection. Total control, like perfection, is unattainable leaving you in a constant state of discontent and disappointment.

How can adjusting to a driver's seat mentality make the difference?

Take Ownership and Accountability

You can go as fast or as slow as you'd like, but you can't control the outcome, only your effort. The truth is, since shifting my mindset, I find the reward to truly be in the effort—the journey over the actual accomplishment. The growth is the true gain, far more than any tangible asset. When I looked at success in this way, versus a controlled skillset, I thrived.

Build A Personal Relationship

Turns out a release of control allowed me to establish a better relationship with myself. The driver's seat allows you to focus on your wants and ambitions instead of what is expected of you by others. Since I've made this change, I've found myself in a greater state of self-acceptance. I'm not beholden to perfection and control, thus allowing my individuality to resurface. I can directly attribute my career advancement to my individuality and how that has allowed me to navigate a more meaningful career path.

Adaptability Over Accordance To Plan

I know the direction I want to go, but I refuse to write the ending before I get there. Release of control has allowed me to pivot and produce more than what I could have concocted in a controlled environment to meet the narrative I had assigned to my ambitions. It's the "unexpected" that has brought me the greatest victories in my career. If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that we must hold adaptability with the utmost regard in all aspects of our life.

You do not need to control everything in order to feel confident enough to take a risk. Risks are not meant to be cushioned by your level of comfort or they wouldn't be risks!

The most valuable aspect of mental growth that has impacted both my professional and personal life, respectively, was eliminating the idea that control was of the highest value. My independence was built on my strength, not on sole self-reliance. Understanding the difference between the driver's seat and total control was pivotal to my journey. While we can't create our destiny by control, we can direct our path in the driver's seat, a path that makes the most sense to each of us as individuals, not the status quo.

3 min read
Lifestyle

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.

-Sadsies

Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.



I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!



- The Armchair Psychologist

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