"Learn to let go of the things you can’t control"
I just spent a wonderful weekend filled with master classes, mock auditions, and pre-screens with my My College Audition family in Boston, MA. Upon returning to NYC, many of my private students were clicking submit on their early action college applications. A common theme emerged as I coached these students to take the next step, “control what you can control and let go of what you cannot.” Even as I write these words, I am reminded of how important this is in my own life.
We spend so much of our energy worrying about “what if’s” and the unknown, all things that are out of our control. Instead, we should focus our energy more on the preparation of the things we can control. For example, my students preparing for college auditions can control what they choose to wear in the audition to present themselves in a professional manner. They can choose to smile and make eye contact when slating their name and audition material. All of these things do not take a lot of energy or time to prepare, but they do create an impression and set the stage for a positive experience. They can’t control whether the pianist will know how to play their song perfectly or if the adjudicators are running behind and therefore cutting everyone off half way through their songs or how many performers of their exact type are auditioning that day. By worrying and stressing over unknown elements, they are allowing negative energy to fill their mind and body, which can turn into anxiety, low self-confidence, debilitating self talk, and possibly low motivation. All of which are distractions and common obstacles for optimal performance.
Worrying about things outside our control means we are not fully present in the moment. By not being present, we are not engaged preventing us from reaching a Flow state. As talked about last week, being in a Flow state allows us to find fulfillment in our lives, which leads to happiness.
So how does this all pertain to everyday life and what tools are there to help us? We all can reflect on times when we were trying to control things outside of our capacity; maybe it’s a relationship with a colleague, or waiting to hear back from a new job, or starting a business and trying to build your client list, or planning an event for your community. My two favorite tools to use for the things we can control are “walk the walk” and “talk the talk.”
Simply put these are about preparation of the mind and body. Even if you don’t feel completely confident in what you are doing, walking and holding yourself up like you are will go a long way. It’s amazing the effect our body has on our mind and energy. Walking into an interview with your head held high, chest open, and a smile shows the other person you are ready, prepared, and confident even if on the inside your stomach is in knots. What you say about yourself and the language you use, whether out loud or in your head, is important. We know this already from the several posts on self-talk. We want to be mindful that we are supporting our positive self-talk allowing for us to create an upward spiral and not giving energy to our negative self-talk which creates a downward spiral. By always “walking the walk” and “talking the talk,” we can be confident that we are putting our best self forward and that is all we can ever ask of ourselves.
Now, for the letting go part. As much as we may want to we cannot control other people. Letting go is about being present. For the next week, if you find you are trying to control something out of your control, check in with your breath. Take a “time out,” focus on your breath for 5 min, and then come back. Use your thought-stopping and positive replacement techniques to change any negative self-talk that may be creeping in. Go back to your litany and repeat the mantras you created for yourself. This is where your practice comes in to help you and be there for you. Lastly, there has to be an element of trust that everything will unfold in the perfect time/space sequence.
Do you need more guidance in letting go and creating a more present and fulfilled life? I'd love to help you! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your FREE 30 min complimentary coaching call!
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