I was reminded today of the concept of Locus of Control. The idea is basically this: to what degree do you feel you’re in charge of your life? Or your business? You might say, “That sounds interesting, but what difference does it make?” When I hear that argument, I’m reminded of a quote:
“Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.” – Henry Ford
Do you ever wonder why some people seem to achieve their goals and some don’t? Why some businesses excel and others struggle? One of the main differences between those types of people is where their locus of control lies.
There are two kinds of locus of control: external and internal. Someone with an external locus of control feels that they have very little control over what happens in their business. The government, their banker, the economy, etc., are all plotting against them. Someone with an external locus of control might say, “We would have had a good year but then the economy went bad.” Or “There’s no way we can be successful with all those government regulations.” Those with an external locus of control blame outside forces for the course their lives take.
On the other hand, those with an internal locus of control feel they have the opportunity to make a difference in their lives and their businesses. Someone with an internal locus of control might say, “We didn’t plan appropriately for potential changes in the marketplace.” Or “We hadn’t invested enough in compliance and it cost us.”
Do you see the difference between these two outlooks? One (external) sees all their issues as created by someone else. Understandably then, they see no way to improve their situation. The other (internal) sees their own behavior as the driving force behind the outcomes in their lives and businesses.
Which outlook do you think produces the best results? I’m not arguing that there are no uncontrollable events in your world. The point is to focus on what YOU and YOUR BUSINESS can do about them.
There are three types of people. Those who make things happen; those who have things happen to them; and those who wonder what happened. Given that you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re not the last type. Which of the first two types do you want to be? Those making things happen are focused on what they can control and how they and their business can be successful. Those people are the ones with an internal locus of control. Those people are the ones with the chance to be great.
So where does your locus of control lie? Listen to your response the next time something happens. Are you blaming others and making excuses? Or are you thinking through what you could have done differently, or what you’ll do better next time?
Focus on what you can control – your business depends on it.