My college girl is amazing. I’m not playing favorites, all my girls are amazing. On the daily, my breath stops when I think how lucky I am. My girls are strong, smart, capable and move through life with dogged determination. So, why do I crumple like a cheap suit every time they have a big issue? Because I’m a mom. As such, my knee-jerk reaction is to fix problems for my kids to save them pain. However, as a life coach, I know that pain and struggle is just what’s needed to create grit and resilience.
We can’t control the pain and suffering of our kids, but we CAN control our own—by being a calm compassionate observer and staying in our own lane.
But this doesn’t have to be about your kids. It could be that you’re easing into (or crashing into) your spouse’s lane, your parents’, your co-workers’, or the president of the PTA’s. Control freaks exert their energy in a ton of scenarios that might resolve themselves without their very particular assistance, which isn’t usually requested.
This was my specialty—fixing problems that were not mine. Not in my lane. Not even on my highway. I was a champ at finding a solution to a problem that the other person didn’t know they had yet.
I did everything outside my lane and used up all my energy, only to let the things in my lane crash and burn.
I would construct elaborate scenarios of how to get my boss to do things my way, while leaving sensitive financial documents on the copy machine. Or the year I micro-managed our office Christmas party and forgot to buy gifts for my youngest daughter. Walmart at closing on Christmas Eve is no place you want to be.
We only have so much energy and focus at our disposal. Doesn’t it make sense to use it where it’s really needed?
Then when people need your help, you have the energy, compassion and focus to decide if you want to help or if it’s better to let them find their own solution. When we value our time and energy by staying in our own lane, we use that energy more wisely for things that bring us greater joy and less resentment. If you want a little help sitting on your hands, write me at firstname.lastname@example.org or bend my ear at the front desk.