In my 30+ years as a counselor, I have found myself working on a particular issue over and over again despite a client’s age, gender, race, career choice, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, etc. and regardless of why they say they are seeking help. This issue is the desire to control the behavior of someone else.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to make anybody do anything you want any time you want it? Get over it! That is never going to happen! I don’t care what dynamic or diabolical schemes you come up with. Every human being has the power of choice.
At this point you may be saying, “Dr. Lori you said this was about unlimited power. Now you are saying I have no power over other people. What’s up?”
This is what’s up, “You cannot control the behavior of other people. You can only control your reaction.” Accepting this gives you unlimited power. By now you could be asking, “Do I have power or not Dr. Lori?” The answer is yes you have an abundance of power.
The only reason any of us wants to control anyone else is due to our reaction to something that person does or does not do. Your power comes from how you choose to react and/or respond.
As an example, your son comes home from school everyday with his pants unzipped. You can decide his open zipper makes you the worst mother in the world and, to prove otherwise, you must show up at school daily to check his pants. Or, you can ignore the zipper, realize neither you nor your son is perfect, and save yourself a ton of anguish (not to mention time).
The bottom line is your only source of control over other people’s behavior is your reaction to it. In fact, you may find that changing your reaction causes a change in them. Even if it doesn’t, your control of your response prevents you from giving your personal power away.
Dr. Lori M. Hobson is an author, motivational speaker, and trainer. You can choose one of Lori’s signature workshops or have one designed especially for your organization. To learn more about Lori, visit her website. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Norfolk State University, a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Hunter College in New York City, and her Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Nova Southeastern University in Florida. Contact – Website – Facebook – LinkedIn
Photo Credit – Serge Bertasius Photography