“Let us not seek to fix blame for the past – let us accept our own responsibility for the future.” – John F. Kennedy
I enjoy watching sports, and I watch a lot of them. I enjoy watching teams over the course of a long season, the inevitable ups and downs, wins and losses, etc. As teams’ seasons start to wind down, the best teams start talking about playoffs, and winning championships, and all those kinds of things. Inevitably, some player or coach will be asked a question about all that stuff and will respond with some version of “We control our own destiny” or “We just need to take care of our own business” or something like that.
I wish I heard more of those comments in business, or frankly, in life. We spend a lot of time worrying about a bunch of things we can’t control, that could maybe possibly go wrong, that might get in our way, or that could throw us off track. In fact we spend so much time on those things that we don’t spend enough time on the things we can control, our own stuff, the things we can impact today and tomorrow and next week.
As you go through your day and beyond, pay attention to the things that are taking up your mental energy. Are you spending time worrying or focusing on things you have no control over? Or are you focused on stuff you can change?
And here’s the great part: you can control way more than you think. You aren’t helpless, you aren’t just floating along, living a life completely controlled by outside forces. Your life is largely the result of the choices you make. Your business isn’t losing customers just because the outside world is challenging – it’s because you’re not providing the value those customers are looking for. You didn’t lose a great employee just because somebody else offered them more money – it’s because you didn’t create an organization that they wanted to be part of or that engaged them in a way that made money less relevant.
Yes, there are things you can’t control, and yes, they will have an impact. But don’t use that as an excuse. You have far more of an impact on what happens in your life and your business than those outside forces. Accept responsibility for the future – and make it your future.