Sphere of control

Graphic of part 3 of Work Well Feel Well seriesWhat we experience in life can be out of our control. What we can control, however, is how we react. This doesn’t mean staying positive in every situation and hence suppressing or ignoring how we really feel. All emotions are valid and deserve to be acknowledged and accepted. They provide useful signposts, such as anger indicating when a boundary has been crossed.

In challenging situations, it helps to understand what we can control or influence, and what we can’t. This sphere of control gives us the clarity to move forward, changing what we can and accepting what we can’t.

Large circle with two circles within in
The sphere of control: change what you can, accept what you can’t

We can take back more control of a situation by reaffirming our boundaries and saying no. There are many examples of saying no respectfully to protect ourselves from becoming overloaded. Here are just a few:

  • Thank you for thinking of me, but I can’t.
  • Unfortunately, it’s a not a good time.
  • It isn’t possible with my current workload.
  • I have other priorities that are more important at the moment.
  • I’m not able to prioritise that right now.
  • I already have plans. Perhaps next time.

We experience a range of emotions each day. Taking a moment to observe our emotions and develop a plan or intention (see exercise below) that is respectful of our needs, can guide and help us to enjoy a balanced position to external pressures.

Take action

As part of the “Efficiency and caring at work” campaign, the Work Well Feel Well website now offers useful resources that can be downloaded, including an exercise on observing emotions, defining needs and developing a plan or intention.

In addition:

This is the third of a 12-part Work Well Feel Well series, with articles publishing every two months.