Like most other entrepreneurs even when I'm on vacation I'm always thinking about work, how I can work better, smarter, reading a book on leadership, or hopefully, having a spark of genius that I can take back and implement in my work. Entrepreneurs just can't help it; it's in our DNA.
Yes, I was on vacation. I'm not bragging it's just the state of what was when I had this spark of interest in developing and testing this small solo social experiment.
So I thought to myself, what if I consciously decided to let that all go? What if I attempted to go through an entire day without creating movement or momentum or making any real decisions? What does that mean?
I thought about it and decided that it meant that any decisions on how the day would progress aside of course from necessities like hydrating and bathroom breaks, I would relinquish control of. These changes were to be inspired by my environment: a random rainstorm, a server spilling a drink, my husband's unquenchable desire for tacos. I decided to see what would happen if I gave up control.
I became immediately anxious.
Here are the 5 things I learned:
1. The World Doesn't Move Fast Enough
I find this true of most successful entrepreneurs. As the driving force behind our business, it's fair to want things done and delivered yesterday because by then planning for tomorrow and the next month has already begun. This is the natural constant state of perpetual motion of the brain of an entrepreneur.
It's exhausting and thrilling all at the same time. As a whole, entrepreneurs just can't help it yet wonder why others can't catch up.
2. Most People Wear the Wrong Hats
Whether it was a grouchy receptionist or a forgetful waiter, what I began to observe was people in roles that they shouldn't be in or clearly didn't want to be in. While some may say a job is a job and a necessity, I believe that any job worth doing is worth doing well no matter how large or how small.
Human beings have the unique ability to make conscious choices, that and opposable thumbs. So I was left wondering why so many people make the choice to do something that they hated or simply were not programmed to succeed at.
3. Control Freaks Want to Fix Everything
Part of the nature of being a control freak is that you want to not only control yourself and your environment, but other's actions, abilities and decisions. Let's just say if we had been playing a drinking game and I had to drink every time I almost told someone how they could do something better I would be in the ER.
4. Control freaks are capable of going with the flow...ish
Yes, it took a few margaritas, but after the first hour or so I began to calm down and see the Zen in letting things unfold around me. I could appreciate and was conscious of the little things as I slowed down.
I watched a bird bathe in the pool. Listened to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore. I let my husband order lunch and decide where to make reservations for dinner.
It wasn't that bad. I thought, "maybe I should be like this in my daily life more." But then I realized, that wouldn't be me.
5. This is what makes me good at my job
Impatience and control have a very important place in the daily life of a business owner. It's what drives us to succeed and pushes us past our failures. It's what moves the goal posts each time we hit it so that we can continue to be the best versions of ourselves.
Is there a time to Zen out and let the world peel layer by layer like an onion? Of course, but to be honest, I'd rather dice that sucker and make a great sauce.
Was the experiment successful? Yes and no. I honestly only lasted about half of the day and it was a painful experience because let's face it; I am the epitome of an A-Type control freak.
But I have always said that if you are uncomfortable it means that you are probably doing the right thing, meaning, you are pushing yourself to try something different and that is where true growth happens. But there is no cocktail strong enough to turn off what makes me and all of you great leaders.
Call me a control freak. I own that.