Newsletter from Employee Health Promotions

October 2.0 Edition 2020

Regaining some sense of control when everything feels out of control

It’s hard to feel accountable when we feel like things are out of our control. And yet, taking accountability is one of the critical steps in regaining a sense of control -- even if that control doesn’t extend to everything in our lives (spoiler: it never will). So how do we dig deep and tap into ourselves to find some sense of control as things around us continue to change at warp speed?

Recognize that you control the energy you bring to everything. All the time. Your energy can have negative effects or positive effects. I’m not saying that you have to be cheery every day or even be optimistic every day, but be aware of what you are bringing into the room.

Find one thing to care about truly. Each day or week, or within each project, connect to at least one thing. That might be a customer who you really enjoy, do your best work for them. It might be a meeting you are excited for, look forward to that. Having even one thing you can latch on to will help you feel more grounded and focused.

Turn the blame around. When you think to yourself, “This place sucks,” do yourself a favor and pause. Allow yourself to turn that around and own the moment. The thing is, no matter what the original problem is, we become the newer and bigger problem if we don’t try to fix things. A workplace is made up of thousands of tiny individual decisions, thoughts, and interactions all day long.

Realize that nothing was ever within your control in the first place. I know this sounds meta or like mindfulness fluff, but it’s true, and when you can embrace that, you release a little of the fear that builds up around that reality. And it allows you to actually take action on small things with less worrying about all the things.

Most people look to leadership or management to make all the decisions for how things work and how they feel. We all relinquish responsibility for culture, for the health of the workplace, for the values. But when you show up and do that, you will own something: your experience at work.

Written by Nancy Lyons for her newsletter, From the Nan-Cave. You can find more of her work at

Tools for Your Fact-checking Toolbox

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