An Analysis of Control, Lack Thereof
Could you possibly apply better control in your life or work during a stressful situation, particularly regarding your money and assets? Let me share a story that may shed some insight and, hopefully, useful advice.
Some night’s back I went to a minor league baseball game with my son’s family, including my three-year-old granddaughter. In a 2-1 ball game our team’s new guy led off the inning by hitting a rocket off the left field wall and then being thrown out on a bang-bang play at second. I became very angry and started yelling at the umpire with words my 93-year-old mom would not approve of. She had raised eight kids, the oldest of which are boys.
My wife said, “Honey you can’t say things like that!”
Before I could take a breather, I glared at her and said, “I have been keeping my mouth shut for forty years. I don’t have to anymore.”
The back ground to this statement is that a few weeks earlier I had ended a four-decade career of coaching high school baseball. I had almost never argued with umpires, and in fact I had penned many articles in a Collegiate Baseball national publication about the futility of arguing with umps.
Now I remembered why I had seldom liked being just a fan in the stands. The only thing I can do is yell and complain about mistakes made by players and umpires. Now I really understand why I stand, and yell at my television at the 49er players, and the zebras that do stupid things. It is hopelessness! I can’t do anything about it. A complete lack of control over the situation.
At least as a baseball coach the following week, you can practice the areas your players fail at to try and rectify their mistakes. I worked on my relationship with the umpires so that I could discuss the play as I saw it without losing my cool and being ejected from the game, which is a failure of leadership in many cases. I knew that the umpires would be in my space far longer than any single player I coached. I felt that maintaining a good relationship with them would put me in a better position to have an influence over their judgement, rather than having them show up at my games knowing that I was going to complain about everything.
Was there ever a time I felt they were really bad? Yup! But I knew I represented my school and everything about my philosophy for our team. Our mantra was “control the controllable.”
So, back to that night. Fighting off the urge to go to the edge of the stands so I could get closer to the ump that blew the call, I remained in my seat and reflected on why my reaction to this one particular play on the field had stimulated the old anger in me. I was paying no attention to the game while my mind raced through the past forty years on the baseball filed. I could feel the anger and emotion spitting from me when I was young, to the serenity of controlling myself as I matured as a coach. By the end of this personal reflection I had calmed down.
I laughed at the next picture that came up in my mind of a 100 mile an hour foul ball coming back over the screen and smacking me in the forehead because I wasn’t paying attention. It was a gift from the gods of baseball reminding me to stay focused on who I am and what I was doing. It is a reminder that complaining about something that has already happened is like trying to put spilled milk back in the glass.
As a company owner, all problems are completely my fault because my team is not prepared to deal with the situation. My anger was based on not being prepared for, or not exercising, the proper amount of control when it was mine to exercise.