“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future but from wanting to control it.” Where does this need for control come from? Coach and motivational speaker Tony Robbins states, the need for control comes from self-doubt and fear. People seek control to get a temporary relief from anxiety and to find assurance that their life will be okay. There is no question that in order to get through life there needs to be a heathy sense of control, otherwise we would never accomplish many of our goals or passions in life. D’Souza and Renner in Not Doing explain that control is a way to relieve powerlessness, avoiding the idea of not knowing and trying to reach a level of certainty. So, what, if anything, is the potential answer. According to Edwin Friedman in his book The Failure of Nerve, he discusses the importance of becoming a differentiated leader. Differentiated leaders maintain a presence of non-anxiety amidst anxiety. They have the ability to make a stand despite the drama of the moment and are willing to say “I” when everyone else wants to say “we”. They are clear about their personal values and goals. They take ownership of their own emotional wellbeing and refuse to blame others or the circumstances around them. They can also cease being part of the emotional rollercoaster. In other words, differentiated leaders deal with their self-doubts and personal fears, not buying into the anxiety around them.
As a father I didn’t pay my kids to do chores or to make their beds. Right or wrong, to me these were a part of being a responsible member of the family. This may very well have been due to being raised on a ranch with the expectation that ranch chores were part of our livelihood. As they entered high school, I paid them to read books. Not just any book, but books I chose. Books on leadership and Christian living. They were required to read the book, give me a one-page report and discuss the book with me. I gave them $35 to $45 a book depending on the size. They read things like Maxwell’s Failing Forward and Cook’s Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. Now that I am older, I wonder what books I would pay them to read if they were back in high school. Would I continue to focus on leadership and Christian living or move them more toward an understanding of being emotionally aware? As I continue to watch each one of my adult children interact throughout their adult lives, I am amazed as to what stuck and what didn’t. During this time of COVID 19 there is one thing that is obvious. They could all benefit in becoming more differentiated as individuals.
I try to keep in mind this journey in Christ is one of faith and not sight (2 Cor. 5:7). I tell myself that the book of Hebrews reminds me that faith is the assurance of things hoped for and the conviction of things not seen. Meanwhile, I focus on finding the balance between having a healthy sense of control, becoming a more differentiated person and letting the future unfold in Gods timing not mine.