I have been reflecting on the events of the past 2 weeks.
First, my husband became an Australian citizen last week and I was extremely proud and humbled by this. For someone to make the choice and commit to a country they weren’t born and raised in is a huge decision. Cody now has the rights of an Australian citizen but also the responsibilities of one. Responsibilities aren’t always easy.
Second, we remembered those who fought for our rights and freedoms on ANZAC Day. An emotional day where we pay our respects to our servicemen and women past and present, ANZAC Day provides us the opportunity to give thanks for the choices we can make today, because of the battles they fought and continue to fight. Having choice is a gift.
When I talk to people about crunch times, they talk about feeling out of control. About feeling like they’ve left the iron on when they left for work that day. About overwhelm.
When we feel out of control and overwhelmed with responsibility, there is only one option. Choose to regain control.
Every choice is our own to make.
We can’t predict what others will say or do, or what the environment or market will throw at us on any given day. But there are countless choices that we can make - and have made - that can help us regain control.
We may not have chosen the colleagues we work with or the leaders we work for, but we chose the organisation for a reason. And that reason is valid today, even if the context has changed. So own it. Collect up all the small choices you have made in the past few days and combine the power in those choices to regain control in your mind. Because you may not be able to control what others say or do, but you can control yourself.
One of the things you can do is create an ‘ignore list’. One of my favourite books is '18 minutes: Find your Focus, Master Distraction and Get the Right Things Done’ by Peter Bregman which provides a daily 18 minute practice to help you perform at your best. What I love about the book is the ‘ignore list’. In essence, it is the list of ’should-dos’ that permanently sit on your ‘to-do list’. It does nothing but serve as a constant reminder of your inability to complete those tasks. Making the choice to put something on your ignore list immediately injects you with a boost of empowerment, lightening your mental load and freeing up brain capacity. You regain your feeling of control enabling you to deliver more effectively during crunch times.
Own your choices and notice how quickly you get back in control.
What 3 choices can you make today to keep you in control tomorrow? (Hint: at least one can be your coffee order!)
 I have created an ‘Areas of Focus’ template which includes the ignore list based on ’18 minutes’. Access the free download from my website here.
About Alena: Alena works with leaders and their teams to connect technical and leadership skills so they can deliver to deadline without killing their people. She is a mentor, trainer, facilitator and coach. Contact her today on firstname.lastname@example.org