A few weeks ago I had a quick procedure at the hospital that meant I would be going under for about 30 minutes. While for most people this wouldn’t be a big deal, I was quite frightened about the anesthesia. I’ve never gone under before and the thought of being knocked out scared me. They present you with the worst case scenarios beforehand and you have to sign so many waivers. It’s no wonder when your head starts taking you to the “What if….?” places.
I realized that this fear wasn’t about my procedure or the anesthesia, so I wanted to get to the root cause of it. As nervous as I was, I realized: all of this is out of my control. I can’t control what’s going to happen once I’m out and I can’t always control what’s going to happen in life. I was rolled away while thinking, “I’m in good hands and whatever happens, happens.” I needed to let go of that control.
As expected, all went well and I left the hospital that afternoon feeling good, but that experience taught me a lesson that relates both to my personal and professional life. As a mom of a five- and a seven-year-old boy, I’ll be the first to admit that I worry about them constantly. I’m sure I share that sentiment with most parents. From a young age, we worry about them hitting their milestones. Then when they go to school we worry about them be socially accepted, make friends, and be respectful and happy. When I talk with parents of older kids, they always say this continues as our kids get older: “small kids, small problems; big kids, big problems.”
My point isn’t to pretend that the worry isn’t there. We have to acknowledge that so that we can manage it and come to term with the fact that we can’t control everything. As much as we would like to, it’s just not a healthy frame of mind. There will be bumps in the road with our kids along the way, and there will be difficult times in life. No one can predict the future but that much is certain. Instead of expending too much energy on worrying, I believe the best thing we can do is be present and know what we can and can’t control and do our best within those boundaries.
In my other role as a business owner, I’ve also seen how being in control flies out the window as we’ve grown. When I first came to work at Shop4ties, my father Arnie was running a one man show. He had his way of doing things that worked, but he wasn’t ready for change and to relinquish control in order to allow me to help. When my mom and I took over after his passing, I was ready for change. I knew that meant losing control of some things and I was okay with that.
As we continue to grow, one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how important it is to let go of things and have other people take command. When we have the “right people in the right seats,” they help us drive our companies to where we want to go. Just as in everything else, in my business there are certain factors that I can control and others I can’t. Sometimes it’s best to put some of the control into other people’s hands so we can work together to build our vision as a company. So for now, I’m spending my time focusing on creating a company where everyone feels in control of themselves and their destiny, and letting go.