Journal: advance your effectiveness. My thoughts, tips and experiences – shared with you.

Time for YOU. Read this section with a cuppa. Take a moment to switch off, focus on my words of wisdom – support your development and effectiveness.

This is YOU

How often do YOU surf?

How often do YOU surf?

Our lives are full of the misconception that we can control an outcome. A desire to create certainty for ourselves, plan, manage our time and organise our next move.

Have you read the many articles talking about controlling what you can, how to gain control of your life, to work out what you can and can’t control as a way of getting ahead? But, here’s the thing – To control or to be in control is impossible. It’s a lie, an illusion, and our desire to do so has the opposite effect on our overall effectiveness. Our determination to control a project, career, home etc., actually increases anxiety, leads to burnout, unhappiness and breeds frustration.

  • A feeling of overwhelm

  • Always alert

  • Always ‘on’


This urge to control is one of the biggest enemies of personal and professional effectiveness that I observe amongst leaders I assess and coach. Our way of working and living is fuelling this unachievable expectation, and the danger for many is believing the opposite to be true. They may not say it out loud, but the intrinsic feeling of letting go becomes too much and they step in.


Does this sound familiar?

  • ‘If I work hard over these next few years, I’ll get the promotion I’m aiming for.’

  • ‘If I put all my energy into managing this, I’ll achieve what I need.’

  • ‘If we get this project over the line, I’ll be able to…’


Some of you may be reading this and thinking, rubbish – without control, life, work would fall apart. I’m not going to disagree If we use the word control for a type of life-or-death survival situation, then, yes, We need our flight/fight instincts to kick in, and being in control becomes critical. But how often are you faced with a life-or-death situation? Making sure you get through your to-do list and the day of meetings doesn’t count. The actual danger in the modern world is when our brain processes regular life challenges as a critical situation, sending a signal for you to act in haste with a sense of urgency and control what’s going on.

YOU go in to a state of fight/flight and ironically your mental capacity freezes instead of flows.


Therefore, how necessary is being in control, and more importantly, what’s the cost to YOU?

At the back of our mind, we all know that control is an illusion – we know we can’t truly control a situation, but the fear of not achieving our goals keeps us in that state of trying. So, what can YOU do?

Tech entrepreneur Mo Gawdat Mo Gawdat – Solve for Happy, and former Chief Business Officer at Google is known for developing an equation for joy. He recently wrote that the only thing you can control is your actions and your attitude.

It starts with YOU!


Here’s a question – How often do you surf?

Surfers don’t fight the uncontrollable nature of the ocean. In the same way, YOU can’t control the unpredictability of life, your job, your relationships.


YOU can be that surfer who is at flow with the waves, is at one with the board and acts dynamically when the right wave appears.

YOU can develop the mental muscles to surf through life, and when you catch the wave in the right way, the ride is exhilarating.


Learn to surf,

Learn to watch the waves pass you

Learn to act with decisive action and reap the rewards


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Leadership Effectiveness is the rock of every business. NewlandRock increases leadership effectiveness for talent-savvy companies and individuals going through a transition.

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