You take over someone else's responsibilities because they're not doing it fast enough or efficiently enough.
The person forgets or never gets around to doing what they said they would.
You avoid asking for help because you don’t have time to explain what you want.
When this is the norm, it becomes part of your identity: Superman, Wonder Woman, and The Go-To Person. And with all the potential accomplishments and accolades of being “super” comes exhaustion and a storehouse of resentfulness and projections.
Many of us have been conditioned to believe we must always be in control and that others can't be relied upon. It's a tricky pattern to break, especially if you've had to be self-reliant at a young age and have had your trust broken over and over.
Reality always conforms to what we believe, so if we believe we have to do it all, everyone will oblige. What if you let go of that need for control? What if you allowed others to step up and take responsibility? Are you ready to adopt new beliefs to create a new reality? There is an alternative way of functioning that will get you results and a happier, healthier life. Here are some important shifts you can make to create this new reality:
I. Be A Receiver
Ask the “do-er, in charge” parts of you to stand back and trust the “willing receiver” in you to come forward. This mental “role” change in you will energetically, and almost immediately, change any situation. It will require you to make a series of shifts in how you are thinking and behaving. These include:
*Be willing to live with discomfort. Most people can only tolerate a few minutes of discomfort in their bodies before their minds and then action orientation takes over. Learn techniques (i.e., meditation, anger management, breathwork, and journaling) that will enable you to sit in the discomfort and wait for it to dissolve, all without saying or doing anything.
*Accept that there are other potential outcomes than what you believe is best. If you operate from a place of control, you probably have high standards and high expectations. You also most likely have a vision of what “good” is. Keeping high standards is fine as long as you also allow other people to bring their own vision and definition of good. Allow your partner or teammates to establish and raise their standards and commitment, which may mean you refraining from imposing yours. *Allow other people, projects, and processes to fail. Contrary to what many of us want to believe, failing is always an option. Rarely is this the result you want, but it is always a possibility. Trust that you can stay calm, clear-headed, and functioning with excellence when the situation is showing signs of failure. Unless the situation is life-threatening or career-ending, do not intervene. Allow everyone involved to experience and learn from the results that they have earned.
*Own 100% of your experience. This item alone might be a paradigm shift for you. It was for me. It may sound contrary to what I have suggested in previous bullets, so let me be clear: I am NOT saying that you take 100% for the situation and everyone involved. That is the old way. The new way is that your priority is to monitor and manage what you are thinking and feeling at any given moment, without asking that other people do anything different for the sake of making you comfortable or satisfied.
II. Accept People As They Are Accept that other people can handle their responsibilities and tasks, and when they can’t, they will be held accountable. It will feel uncomfortable at first, but allowing and trusting others to show up and take responsibility is demonstrating your commitment to the team, family, or relationship. This new approach empowers everyone and allows everyone to take their power back. Their choices must come from a place of wanting to meet their commitments, wanting to be good at their job, and valuing their relationships.
III. Boundaries & Agreements For change to be sustainable, and for people to know you mean business, establish new boundaries. Declare your new intentions without drama and be calm and clear about the responsibilities of everyone involved. Allow the other people to accept or adjust their understanding of what they will or won’t do. The goal is for you to not take on tasks that aren't yours to handle. No ambiguities. You communicate clearly with others about what you need and expect, and what they should expect from you. By setting these boundaries, you can create a sense of clarity and demonstrate personal accountability.
IV. Empty Space, Mistakes & No Letting go of control and inviting others to get in the game also means accepting that things won't always go as planned. This can be difficult if you're used to being the one in charge, but it's important to remember that mistakes and miscommunications are a natural part of life. Some people won’t believe that you want them to show up. They might be hesitant because in the past, you have expressed disappointment or disapproval. As a “willing receiver,” you must make the invitation and then receive what comes, allowing the other person to own the success or failure of their action or inaction.
It's critical that you also learn to take “No” for an answer. Some people may never do what you need or want them to do. This is reality, and often, this is what we have been avoiding with all the over-functioning. If their words or actions say no, believe that to be true. Adjust your expectations. Live with the disappointment that you expected too much or that they are not the person you thought they were. Don’t convince, chastise, or manipulate. If the new reality requires someone new in the role, take informed action to attract or hire a person more aligned with your vision and style. Don’t settle, but also don’t waste your energy trying to change people. The goal is a life where you do not shift back to doing everything.
It also means you restraining yourself and NOT stepping into the void when one presents. This is why being comfortable with being uncomfortable needs to become your new superpower.
V. Adopting A Growth Mindset It’s crucial to practice self-compassion as you work through this process. This may all be new thinking for you. If you have been a workhorse and the most reliable person, it means you have been sacrificing and overworking yourself for a long time. Letting go of control can be challenging, and you may experience some setbacks along the way. This is going to require reflection and regular meditation, exercise, and self-care practices as you feel that need to “lean in” and take over and choose to NOT act on it. This is referred to as a “growth mindset.” You will move from wishing other people would be different to expanding your capacity to create an inner and outer world aligned with your values, dreams, and goals.
When you take on a new role, receiving and allowing others to step up, you create space for new ideas and perspectives to emerge. You also foster a sense of trust that brings balance to the give and take in your relationships. This is hugely beneficial for everyone involved, and frankly, creates game-changing balance and harmony in your life.
If you are ready to live your life with people who value you and “show up” but you need help implementing these ideas, join our free AVVI Collective Membership. You’ll get immediate access to tools and group coaching designed to accelerate your path to sustainable change. Let’s do this!