Today is the day of the general election here in the United States and the results of this election have big implications. So if you’re feeling like you have no control over the outcome, or even if politics isn’t your thing, the meat of what we’re talking about on this episode applies to you.
In thinking about the 2020 political atmosphere and what we feel we have control over and what we don’t, this election is just one example of something that happens outside of us that we have little to no control over, and yet it has a direct effect on us. We struggle with wanting to have control over what goes on, but this is a misguided goal, and I’m showing you what you should be aiming for instead.
Tune in today as I show you why being in control should never be your goal, and why building the skill of emotional strength is so much more valuable to you. Basing your empowerment on whether you can be in control of anything in your life is a terrible choice, and I want to demonstrate how you can take action from a place of empowerment, no matter the outside forces.
You are listening to episode 52 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where we let this election show us why control sucks. What? Let’s go.
Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.
Hello my confident coaches. How are all my Latta loves doing out there? Is everybody doing okay today? Okay, so I am actually recording this still in October, like 10 days in advance before this episode drops. But it’s dropping – the day that this is releasing is Tuesday, November 3rd.
November 3rd is a bit of a big deal this year. It’s a really huge deal here in the States. And the outcome of today actually does have a huge effect around the world. So yes, even you, my European and my Australian and New Zealand and my South American listeners all around the world.
Today is the general election in the United States, and the outcome of this election does have both local, state, national, and International implications. No big deal, right? And in this election, it’s a bit of a contentious one.
I mean, we used to think they were all contentious, but then 2020 happened and we were like, oh no, we had no idea. This one, this election is a dumpster fire in the middle of a hurricane during an earthquake. I mean, it’s a fucking shitshow.
I mean, it’s 2020, right? Yeah, so even if you stay out of politics, even if this ain’t your thing, politics does affect you. Because not only are we voting for president of the United States for the next four years today, but many of us are also voting for governors, state and local representatives, propositions, state constitutional amendments, these decisions will affect our healthcare, our taxes, the environment, whether or not the teachers in our area get pay raises, if those bonds are going to pass so we can have updated roads and bridges and infrastructure.
So even if politics isn’t your thing, understand that you are still affected by what’s happening in the voting booth. That what we put into the ballot box affects our life and it’s actually really funny when you think about it, as we put so much emphasis on the president, that’s probably the one that has the least direct effect on us.
I mean, that definitely has an effect on us, but it usually is trickled down. Really, it’s our local politics that gets very little news that has the most direct what’s going to happen in my neighborhood kind of effect.
And this year, we have people who’ve never been particularly passionate about these kinds of things suddenly become very passionate because the two guys running for the president of the United States, it’s got a lot of us a little up in arms. It’s more than a little contentious.
For a lot of people, these are not who we would want to have to choose from. And it’s really funny because those of us who’ve always been super passionate, I can just tell you this; we have not been okay. I come from a long line of politically-driven family members and yeah, we’re all a little like, taking deep breaths over at the sideline.
But that’s actually where this podcast episode kind of came from was because I am so passionate about politics, because I am so passionate about policy. My sister even went into – she’s a political science major. She has a master’s of public administration. She’s worked in city government; she works for non-profits. This is in our blood.
And she and I have been having so many conversations about how this 2020 political atmosphere has affected us and affected what we think about in terms of our thoughts and what we feel like we do and don’t have control over. And that’s where this podcast came from.
So even if you aren’t a politico, even if politics isn’t your thing, that’s the framework that this episode came from. But the meat of what we’re going to talk about, about control and trying to be in control and not being in control applies to so many other things.
Because this election is just an example of something that happens outside of us that we really have little to no control over individually, and yet it affects us. And it might even affect us very directly. Like a law passes and now you can’t do something that you used to do, or a law passes and now you get to do something you didn’t use to do.
And our human brains don’t really like this. We don’t like the idea that there’s stuff out there happening, and it affects what’s going on in here and how we can live our life. It feels like a lack of control. It’s like, when we have all kinds of thoughts about things like this, like it’s not fair and they can’t do this to me, and I have to do something, and this isn’t right.
And then we feel helpless. We feel out of control. And we think the solution is if only I could have control over something. Now, there are absolutely other situations that may fall into this category, and so if politics isn’t your thing, and even if it is, I want you to think about the other areas of your life where this kind of situation may apply. Where there’s something happening outside of you, but it does have a direct impact on you and your feeling of being out of control or having a lack of control of it.
So this election is an example of that. I have another example in my life in that my husband has a daughter from his first marriage and she’s now an adult. She’s now 21. But my husband and I started dating when she was only two. We got married when she was four.
I can tell you this right now, I could have used a stepmom coach. I can tell you that right now. If I had only known. Because I struggled so much with my thoughts. Now, at the time, I didn’t think I was struggling with my thoughts. I now know I was struggling with my thoughts.
But at the time, I really struggled that there’s this woman, my stepdaughter’s mom, who makes life decisions that I have no control over. I have no input on, and those decisions directly affected my life. I struggled so much with this. I definitely could have used a coach.
So what other kind of situations might fall into that category for you? Maybe it’s a financial situation that’s not in your control, or a parenting or relationship situation. Really, anyone who makes any decision that you have no influence over, and yet those decisions do have a direct impact on you. I mean, so aggravating, right?
Well, here’s what I want to offer you. So have that in your head, have that in mind. What are some situations that you can think of in your life where you have felt like that and the frustration and the aggravation? And what if it didn’t have to be that way?
Now, most of the support, most of the advice that I’ve seen in this area has told me that instead of trying to control what’s out there, because remember, you can’t control what other people do, I should try to remember what I do have control over and that’s me, and I have control over how I’m going to react, and I have control over my actions.
And I personally think this advice is terrible. That’s terrible advice. And do you want to know why? When you say the only thing I have control over me is, I’m like, have you met me? Why do you think I have control over me? There is a lunatic living in my head. Her name is Helga.
Y’all remember Helga? We all have one. That inner cavewoman, that primitive brain, she’s freaking crazy. She trash talks me all the time, she changes her mind every five minutes, she loves our kids, she hates our kids. She’s always talking about the worst thing that could ever happen. She’s always telling me that I shouldn’t do that and that’s a terrible idea and we’re all going to die.
You think that that’s something I have control over? When we’re told to remember what we do have control over, which is us, it turns me inward and it reminds me how little I feel like I actually have control over that part of my brain. Because I think the goal of having control over our thinking is misguided because being in control assumes that the opposite is possible.
I’m in control or I’m out of control. And if I’m in control, then any number of things may happen where I might lose that control. You get what I’m saying? If my desire is to be in control, that means that there’s a state in which I’m not in control. And it’s this battle to always stay in control.
It’s like that phenomenon where we grind and grit out way into a number one position, and then once we’re there, we have to fight to stay in the lead. We see this in sports, we see this in business. It’s ingrained in TV shows and in movies.
It’s like America loves an underdog until they’re no longer an underdog, and then we love to take down the top dog, right? It’s ingrained in our society and in our culture that we want to achieve this certain thing, control, but then once we achieve it, we have to fight tooth and nail in order to keep it. So I just think it’s entirely misguided to ever have the desire to be in control of our thinking.
Being in control should never be our goal. Learning that we don’t have to be in control and we can still be okay, now that’s a goal worth having. So there are all manner of examples of things that are outside of our control that we wish we had control over. But since today is election day, that’s the example that I was going to use here.
So today, millions of Americans are voting. We may or may not know the results by tonight. I mean seriously, I hope we know the results by tonight because do you all remember the year 2000? That was freaking awful. Let’s hope we don’t have a replay of that.
But we might. Or we might know by the time the late news come on. We literally have no idea. We have no control over that, right? We have no control if the guy that we’re voting for is going to win or lose. And tomorrow, or whenever, a heck of a lot of people are going to be really happy and a heck of a lot of people are going to be really upset.
And no matter which camp you fall into, there’s not a whole heck of a lot you can do about it. Now, side note, this is not an anti-voting message. In fact, it’s the opposite. No, absolutely vote. No one single vote may matter in the scheme of hundreds of millions of votes, but collectively, they matter a whole lot.
You are listening to a former rock the vote volunteer. I mean, voting rights and get out the vote campaigns are my passion. This is my thing. But in the end, after you’ve mailed those mailers or placed those calls or talked to all your friends or donated all your money to all of those causes and to those organizations that you support, or just stepped into the ballot booth and cast your ballot, there’s not much any one individual can do as you’re watching TV tonight looking at the results pour in, right?
And if you view these types of events with it’s not fair, I can’t control this, I can’t believe this is happening this way, this isn’t right, I have to do something, think about how helpless that feels. Think about how disempowered that feels.
Here’s the thing; when we focus on control, being in control or not being in control of these situations, we give up all of our power to do anything. And here’s the thing and why it’s so important is because you’re going to base whether or not you can feel empowered and in control over the results of an election that’s based on millions of people voting. That’s a terrible thing to base your empowerment on.
The results of an election, or the result of anything outside of you. But you can feel empowered no matter what happens tonight. Here’s what I want to offer you instead. The outside world is going to outside world. Those things out there are going to do what they do.
And if you want to have a voice in it and if you want to feel empowered in the face of those outside forces, your work is not to be in control. Your work is to learn to be okay no matter what. That you are okay no matter what. Because the worst thing you will ever experience is the emotion of your thoughts. The fear, the shame, the grief, the disappointment, the despair.
And when you learn that you were built for all human emotion and you were designed to experience and embrace all human emotion, you learn, you realize that you can and you will be okay no matter what. Truly, it’s not about controlling or not controlling them out there or even your thoughts, or even your emotions. It’s about allowing.
We contain your brain. We contain inner Helga. We can run models on when I think this way, this is how I feel, and I don’t want to feel this way, so I can change my thinking. But life is still going to give you a chunk of good stuff and a whole heck of a lot of shitty stuff. That’s just how life is. Life is always going to life. It’s always going to happen.
Things are always going to happen out there, and it’s always going to affect you. And there won’t be a lot of things that you have control over, except your ability to allow the emotions of all of those different life things happening to you with the understanding that you are going to be okay no matter what.
And your ability to allow all the emotion that comes with the good and the bad in life, that is our goal. Control is an illusion. It’s not even desirable. Emotional strength on the other hand, that is invaluable and that is our goal.
Because with emotional strength, you can learn how to embody all the emotions that you’re going to experience so that they can pass you through, so you can allow them and experience them and not have to have them stop you.
When you allow with emotional strength, you can pass through neutral and come out the other side, and then we can ask, alright, so now what? And that is so much more freaking empowering, right? When we want control, we are tight and narrow-focused, and we feel incredibly disempowered.
And when we feel that way, how do we show up? Are you open to new ideas you haven’t considered? Are you finding out of the box solutions? Are you truly serving yourself and serving others? I mean, when I’m wanting to control and I’m feeling tight and restricted and disempowered, I’m either ranting and freaking out and being pissed off all the time, or I’m hiding because it’s all too much.
But when I realize that I’m not in control and I don’t have to be, that the world out there can be what it is and I can build my emotional strength by allowing myself to experience all the human emotion that’s offered to me, I feel more sure, I feel more empowered, and then, then I can show up powerfully on that action line.
I can rest when my body needs rest. I can move my body to release those emotions and reconnect my brain and my body and myself. I can connect that mind-body-spirit. And then I can open my mind for solutions I’ve never considered before.
I may not be able to help all the people and I may not be able to do all the things, but when I let that need for control go and I remember how emotionally strong I am, I start asking, who can I go help today? What small thing can I go do right now? What organization is doing the work that’s important to me that I can go volunteer for or that I can go donate to?
So whatever situations that you have that are like this, these situations that are outside of your control but do have a direct impact on you, apply this thinking to that. Your goal is not control. Your goal is emotional strength. You were built for all human emotion, the full scale. And when you allow all of those emotions and you allow yourself to feel all of them, you learn there is nothing that cannot stop you and you can take action from a place of not control, but of empowerment.
And as for this election today, tomorrow’s going to come. Tomorrow’s going to come no matter what. And while I truly do, from my heart, I hope that we will see a change, back to decency and less cruelty and more love and more humanity, no matter what happens, I will do the work that I can do.
I’m right here with you all and in my own community. I will pour my influence and my power into groups that are on the ground helping to empower women and children because I still believe that when we elevate women, we elevate communities. When women take a seat at the tables of power and position, we will change the world.
That to me is what matters most. And as long as I’m willing to not have to have control of it all of the time, and as long as I’m willing to express my emotional strength and allow all of those different emotions, then I can step up powerfully to be at those seats of power, to fund women to be at those seats of power, and to do what I can do today in my community, in my home to support that vision and that future.
Are you with me? I hope that you’re with me, my friends. I love you all so stinking much, my Latta loves, my confident coaches. I could not love you more today and here’s what I know for sure. With this conversation right here, until next week, let’s go do some fucking epic stuff. You with me? Alright my friends.
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Thanks so much for listening to The Confident Coaches Podcast. I invite you to learn more. Come visit me at amylatta.com and until next week, let’s go do epic stuff.