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This is a story about control…summon your inner Janet. Or, better yet, summon your willPower…for willPower is a manifestation of control…self-control…the only true form of control available to you. Any other form of control is an insatiable and hopeless pursuit of the ego – to control the uncontrollable or to control things you were never meant to control. (FYI – this is what insurance is for…)

We have no control over places or spaces other than our own mental place or space. Don’t let this dishearten you. Your control is a mighty force that magnetizes places and spaces to you, and is easily measured. If you’re wondering how high you register on the control barometer, no need to search your food receipts or count the number of gym check-in’s on your Facebook page, you simply need to check in with yourself and ask, “how am I feeling?”

We call frustrating anything we want the world to confirm as justification for not being able to control the way we think.” ~Joan Chittister

Next, take a look around. What kinds of places and spaces are you matching up to? The people and events that show up in your life are not the cause of your turmoil. Your mental garden is. Tend to it deliberately…with care. If a certain flower doesn’t appeal to you…or causes you to sneeze, why do you keep planting it? Same with your thoughts. A destructive pattern of thinking will never yield anything different. Yet, we keep going there. Out of habit. Or out of an underestimation of the power of our will. Test it. Discover the correlation of what you put out there mentally to what you harvest physically in the garden of your reality.

Control is cultivated with self-awareness of our thoughts.

Self-awareness strengthens our control…control of thought to change neurological pathways and beliefs, and to release triggers, pent-up frustration, and past hurts. With control, we effect change from the inside out. For that is the only way to effect sustainable change.

Discipline is conventionally measured by our commitment to something outside of ourselves. We think that our tough action justifies our worth. Not ever. Repeat, not ever! We are worthy because we just are. So, ask yourself, what is making it impossible for me to accept the good of where I am right here right this minute? With control, we train our minds to resist the negative impulses within that keep us from experiencing the joy of life and the fullness of who we are. We slow down to grasp the true essence of what it means to be a human being. A healthy holy life is under our control…our mind’s control. We are not a product of our environment. We are a product of our thoughts and our perceptions / distortions.

Control is a commitment to stop running from the truth of your life.

To experience your heart’s desires, there is a path that must be undertaken. Along the path, there will be challenges. Control helps us follow the path of least resistance. We check in with ourselves continuously to stay on that path. We understand the risk of staying where we are. Halfway home is not home. We must keep going, but we seek our heart for the best route.

Control means taking responsibility for shaping our lives as life shapes us.

Control is our inner power. This inner power is non-threatening and connects us to others as universal collective energy. Worldly power entails the false hope of controlling things, people or situations. It comes from a place of fear where control is used destructively. What does having a sense of external control do for you…require of you? Do you wish your legacy to be fearfully destructive or lovingly creative?

[Harvey Keitel:] Ms. Third ward, your first question – what is your aspiration in life?
[Beyoncé:] Oh… My aspiration in life… would be… to be happy.
Pretty Hurts

To boost your Inner Janet (or Beyoncé…):

1. CONTROL…your worry. Worry is the mental echo of your fears. When we become consumed by the unknown, we lose our confidence and we bow down to fear. Free yourself from worry and start living. Each step into the unknown builds our confidence. Reach out for others. Let their love nourish you instead of your fear.

I will always have fears, but I need not be my fears for I have other places within myself from which to speak or act.” ~Parker J. Palmer

2. CONTROL…the give and take. We can’t give, give, give (or take, take, take) without putting ourselves into disequilibrium. When you take on a new responsibility, release an existing one. When you buy new clothes, give away or donate something. Are you depleting yourself? Or putting yourself back together?

3. CONTROL…the labeling of yourself. There are built-in limitations within the roles we play or cast others to play. Are you flowing downstream in the direction of what you want…really want…or upstream because of what somebody else is doing, or what you used to do, or what someone else thinks you should do? When you turn inward and adjust your thoughts to flow with your energy stream, you start getting control over your life.

4. CONTROL…what you say, type, or express in your body language. It’s a personal responsibility. While we cannot control what others think, feel, act, or say, we can control our response to it. Take a moment to reflect, filter, pause, exhale…to choose differently if that feels right in your heart. Notice how often you dilute your positive statements with a “but…” or “if only”.

5. CONTROL…your breath. Breathe fully. When tense, just take a few deep breaths without doing anything else. Feel how it helps.
**Instructors, work on breath control. Avoid breathing into the mic. Improve your staming and endurance as part of your training & development.**

6. CONTROL…your fatigue. Control is easier to have when rested. Fatigue shortens our fuse. Think beyond sleep, too. We rest when we savor a good meal or linger at one of our favorite activities.

7. CONTROL…your momentum. Catch yourself entering the tunnel of negativity. It’s easier to stop momentum when we’re closer to the light, then once our negativity has immersed us in the darkness.

8. CONTROL…your multitasking. It’s more difficult to stay aware and present when we are doing multiple things at once. We also use multi-tasking to distract ourselves from listening to or dealing with the thing(s) that really matter.

9. CONTROL…your power. There is a way of standing in your power when you feel threatened or violated. This can mean not continuing a conversation that has no point except to attack or defend. Step outside it. Nothing can attack you unless you let it. Rewire your typical reaction to start a new pattern of behavior, to attract new opportunities…new ways of relating…new ways of being.

10. CONTROL…your guilt. We are emotional beings. Control doesn’t mean we hide our emotions or we get it right every time. Control means we learn from our experiences…with curiosity, compassion, and self-love.

This is a story about control. My control…Control of what I say, control of what I do…And this time I’m gonna do it my way. ~ Janet Jackson

Do you want to explore CONTROL further? Click here for quotes, mantras and our willPower dedicated weekly exercise!

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit www.starslocker.com.