Control, Influence, and Letting Go

Sam Mahlstadt, here. I'm the guy behind 

I was invited to participate in a leadership panel last week, answering the question "What advice would you give to someone wanting to be an effective leader?" You can watch the video below. 

I passed along advice I was given specific to leading during times of change. The advice, of course, applies much more broadly than leadership and change management. It was this:

  • Understand what is in your control 
  • Understand what is in your realm of influence 
  • Understand what is out of your control, and what you can't influence 

Start with what is in your control. Take care of you and your stuff.
There is a saying attributed to my grandfather that I love. 

It doesn't matter how much your suit costs; you can always shine your shoes.

Brilliant! No matter the situation we find ourselves in, we can always do something. There are things within our control, and it's our responsibility to control them. 

When people or things aren't within your control, exercise your influence. Build relationships, act with transparency, and establish yourself as one who looks out for others and for the greater good. When you do that, you will earn people's trust and be allowed to influence outcomes. Don't sit idly by if you can campaign for positive change, or on behalf of others. 

And lastly...
Let go of what you can't control.

Stop wasting your time, energy, emotion, attention, and yourself on things you can't control or influence. Doing so places you on the fast track to burnout and exhaustion. Be it relationships, outcomes, or sometimes potential scenarios that only exist in your mind! Let them go.