Many of us feel most comfortable when we think ahead, plan and prepare. But high-achievers, in particular, can fall into the trap of becoming a control freak.
Over time, demanding constant certainty from yourself and others can be tiresome — and frankly, annoying. Perfectionism, anxiety, and anger are all associated with a high need for control, which can obviously interfere with your relationships and happiness in a big way.
Although we may rationally know that life is unpredictable and perfection isn’t possible, it can be hard to let go of Type A tendencies. My client, Katie, struggled with this as a new manager who was tasked with delegating more. Logically, she knew her teammates were smart and responsible. Yet she found herself constantly checking up on them. She stayed late to re-do their work.
At the root of it, Katie’s inability to relinquish control came down to fear. Like many of us, she used control as a defense mechanism to deal with discomfort and worry. As we worked together, Katie learned to favor resiliency over certainty and control. She grew to shine in the face of setbacks. More importantly, she stopped over-functioning on behalf of others.
Curbing your inner control freak doesn’t happen overnight. Letting go is a process, but these three steps can help you get started.