I’m going to hold off on the next installment of Healthy Knee MUST’s for today (Ankle Mobility will have to wait until Wednesday) and address another topic: Controlling Controllable Factors.
Most people can, I’m sure, use context clues to figure out what this means, but just in case, here is my simple working definition:
Controlling Controllable Factors – the disciplined practice of directing one’s emotional and physical energy & effort toward those situational variables that can be influenced by this energy & effort.
Generally, this means “you don’t sweat the small stuff” or dwell on factors that you have no chance of influencing.
In the world of training, it usually comes down to the details, like giving every repetition the quality, effort, and mental engagement it deserves. If you approach each repetition this way, you will see a big payoff at the end of a training cycle. You can control each repetition!
On the other side, one of the usual pitfall trainees dwell on is comparing themselves to someone else. “I wish I looked like her!” style comments are pointless and do not direct your energy in a positive way.
But what happens when you dedicate yourself to controlling those controllable factors and you continue to get hit with problems outside of your control? How much can one person handle with positivity and grace?
Here’s an example: A basketball player has a history of knee ligament and meniscal problems. She is one of the most diligent and dedicated athletes I’ve ever worked with and, following a meniscal repair, adhered to both her rehabilitation and strength training programs to a “T.” Theoretically she should have been able to acclimate to court play in time for the season with no problems.
Unfortunately, there were some setbacks in the form of pain and swelling. She had to modify practices and sit out some games. I could easily see how discouraged she was and, often, this is when athletes throw in the towel (how much can one person take?). I was very interested to see if she was the kind of person who could turn the corner and take comfort in the details she could control (her rehab) or if she would give up the fight.
Happily, she was able to regroup and refocus her energy where it matters. As of right now, she’s playing great and contributing in a big way.
I don’t know what she did to pull herself back together, but she did it. And that final regrouping (after what seemed to her setback after setback) made all the difference in the world.
The idea of Controlling Controllable Factors can be scaled and expanded to fit virtually any scenario: training, dating, studying, business, raising children, and driving (that’s right… the person in front of you does not care that you are late for work, so don’t drive like every person in a car within 50 feet of yours can read your mind).
To bring this post “home,” I have had one heck of a few months with my business – and, no, not in a good way. While I pride myself on enjoying the daily process of owning and growing a small business, I have (figuratively, of course) felt like I got knocked out in December, kicked while I was down in January, and just when I was starting to pull myself back to my feet, I got sucker-punched right in the stomach.
That last part was today. And it feels like too much.
But, while I sit here in Starbucks grasping at straws, I know that it’s not too much and all part of that process I love. I’ll pull myself back together as quickly as possible and refocus, as always, on those factors that are worthy of my energies.
I have a statement I put together for times like this. I look at it early in the morning most days and check it again at times like this. It sums up the essence of why I do what I do, day-in-and-day-out:
To realize self-fulfillment, strive daily to achieve and enjoy success – in family, finance, and business – via unwavering strength and intelligent determination.
I don’t know if I’ve stood back up from the sucker-punch just yet, but I’ll get there soon enough.