The Client-centred Blog

Giving up the illusion of control

I am writing this piece whilst on a train back home from meeting a valued and trusted client in London.

An idea for a new programme had occurred to me and it had been percolating in my mind. I had met with my client to ask, “What do you think of this idea?”

Will the idea take off? Will it gather momentum? Will people want to attend?

Right now, it feels good, but I cannot answer those questions because I do not know.

What I do know is that the idea has flow. It feels effortless.

Psychologist and coach Dr. Robert Anthony describes this kind of flow as ‘doing without doing’. When in this space we are totally ‘on purpose’ and yet not trying to make something happen through force of will.

This a wonderful way to create stuff in your life. Think of a time or times when you have created without effort – it is a great feeling, right?

So, how can we experience this powerful flow energy far more of the time?

It seems to me is that there are three distinct approaches to life, based around our understanding of control.

Let me explain…

  • Feeling we have no control – at this level of consciousness we see ourselves as having very little control over our lives. Our perception is that the world just happens ‘to us’ and life feels full of uncertainty. This is a difficult place to create anything from.
  • Feeling we need to be in control – this is the level of personal empowerment. At this level we take control by believing we must forcefully or, through power of will, make things happen. The fear is that if we do not take control then we will end up back in no control. We can get stuff done from this space, but it is exhausting.
  • Feeling we can release control – this is the level of effortless creation and beyond empowerment. At this level we have let go of the need to control and the need to feel certain about the outcome (both of which are born from fear).

In this space there is a complete absence of fear. It is like we are getting pulled along rather than having to make things happen.

A new level of understanding

We all get stuck in life from time to time. What this means is that we are in a state of mind where the thinking we need is not coming to us.

If we become unsettled when this happens then one (or both!) of two things tend to happen:

We feel helpless
We try to force things to happen

Neither of which work very well. What does work brilliantly well is understanding the natural, inherent design of the mind.

When we stop trying to control our thinking (which is impossible to do anyway) then thinking naturally changes, and we effortlessly fall back into a fresh, insightful and productive state of mind.

Control is an illusion. We have control of very little indeed and the more we try and exert control – over our thinking, behaviour, events, outcomes, timing – the more we stifle our creative genius.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.



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