I’m having control issues.

As an entrepreneur and the only full-time person in my business, I have gotten used to being in control of what happens. If I’m completely honest, it’s one of the things I love about working for myself. I get to be in control!

Can you relate?

But recently, my sense of control has been challenged. As we all know, there are certain things that are simply not under our control. The two that I’ve been facing most of all are emotions and outcomes.

Accepting Your Emotions

As a highly emotional person, I have strong feelings, both positive and negative, depending on the situation I’m in. It’s tempting to want to change the feelings themselves, especially when they are bringing me down.

Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.

I’ve learned recently that emotional reactions aren’t something we can control. However, we can decide what to do about it.

Rather than letting emotions, particularly negative ones, determine your action, step back and be intentional about how you are going react to them.

Some of the most common emotions that entrepreneurs (and everyone else) struggle with are disappointment, shame, and fear – with special emphasis on fear!

Everyone’s natural reaction to their emotions is different. In my case, blindly following my emotions usually means shutting down and ceasing all action. It’s easier to hide and do nothing.

But, that’s not actually what I want to do!

The next right action is also different in each situation. Sometimes you should heed your emotions. While other times you may need to acknowledge them and say “I’m doing this anyway!”

My inner control freak has enjoyed the power of separating from my emotions and taking responsibility for my actions.

A client of mine recently did her first public speaking appearance. She was paralyzed with fear! She almost didn’t respond to the invitation in the first place (except that I made her do it!) and was terrified right up to the start of the presentation. She couldn’t help how she felt, but she did it anyway! And the result was pretty fantastic, especially for her first time.

Not only did she get a bunch of potential leads, she gained confidence that will carry her forward.

Controlling Outcomes?

Another thing we can’t control, although we like to think we can, are outcomes.

Entrepreneurship is filled with a lot of experimentation. We try things, without knowing whether or not they are going to work. We can do our research, and follow best practices, and set ourselves up for the best possible outcome. But it’s never a guarantee!

Things don’t always work out the way we expect. There are too many other variables at play, like timing, technology breakdowns, weather, and who knows what else!?

We can have the best-conceived FB ad, and no one will click on it.

We can be a great sales person, and people will still say “No.”

We can market the crap out of our amazing event, and 2 people will show up.

Failures are part of this journey. As with emotions, understanding that we can’t completely control our outcomes is empowering. What we can control are our actions.

For me, the easiest thing to do after a negative outcome (which is probably accompanied by some emotions like disappointment and shame) is to stop. I don’t want to subject myself to that again!

But in order to get positive outcomes, you have to stay in the game! I can acknowledge that things didn’t work out as I had planned, make some adjustments and keep going.

Maybe it means trying again with a few modifications and see if the outcome changes. Maybe it means attempting something else entirely.

As entrepreneurs, it can be difficult to face the things that are out of our control. But it is also empowering because it shows us the things we can control. How about you? Do you struggle with your emotions and outcomes? Do you have an inner control freak? Join the conversation and leave a comment below!