(Just in case you wondered, as a counselor, you never want to yawn in a session, because heaven forbid your client think that they’re boring you or not important enough to stay awake. As a coach though, a yawn in session can serve as a powerful tool to let a client know that, yes it’s true…your story is boring me. Is it actually interesting to you? Or have you just told it so many times you don’t know what else to do?...Okay, I digress.)
Concealing a yawn was much easier that controlling my apparent disdain or confusion about a particular idea or course of action. So there I sat, with my face contorted, snarled lips, eyebrow up, scrunched nose…it’s ridiculous actually. My family calls it the face that makes them feel stupid. They’ve asked me to stop doing it too. We’ve all agreed it’s a bad idea – my family, myself, and my face – we are in one accord.
Here’s the thing. I might never be able to completely control this face of mine. The world and its secrets thank me every day for deciding against a career in espionage. However, maybe control isn’t really the issue. The more I work with myself and others the more I realize that control is kind of an illusion. There are few things that we can control and there are lots of things that we cannot.
After this particularly jarring episode with my face, I realized that rather than trying to figure out what I can control, I’d rather spend time on what I can influence, what I can choose, what I can skillfully direct. I can influence just about anything. I can choose from a wealth of options. I can direct with clarity and courage down any number of roads.
This approach leads me to expansiveness and creativity and love and wonder. That’s an approach that my family, myself and my face can all get behind.
A friend in the same meeting caught my face in the act. For a moment we paused awkwardly and then I started to laugh. “I’m sorry,” I said “for a moment, my face thought it was the smartest thing in the room. We’re still learning how to work together.” The whole room chuckled and we proceeded with fresh authenticity and connection.
What are you trying to control? How would influencing look different? What approach opens you up to wonder?