The Only Person You Can Control Is Yourself

Welcome to the Strategy Corner Podcast

Episode #22: The Only Person You Can Control Is Yourself

The first time I heard about this idea, it was both deeply upsetting and amazingly freeing. “The only person you can control is yourself”. Well, who likes the idea that the other person isn’t the one who has to change? But I promise you that by focusing on the things you can actually control (that’s you), you can see where you truly are and what your next step should be.


This isn’t an easy idea by any means. We already expend a lot of energy focusing on changing other people’s opinions or influencing their decisions, and it takes even more energy to focus in another direction. Letting go of that idea requires us to be open and honest with ourselves. And when you stop trying to change someone else, you can now focus on being the leader or owner you’ve always wanted to be.


How do you know if you’re trying to control someone else? Are you saying any of these things?


  • I don’t see how that would be helpful.
  • Nothing ever changes.
  • I don’t mean to be negative.

This strategy crosses over into your family life, your personal life, your career, and your professional life. It exposes unrealistic expectations and helps you step back and see that the other person isn’t the problem. That’s the golden key to your life and how you want to grow and develop it. You are the only person you can control.


Your strategy to practice this week is to slow down and see in your life where you’re becoming a person who wants to control others. Look for the key phrases. Write down the situation and what you thought. Does it serve you? Do you want to change? Then think about how you could’ve handled the situation differently. Think about what you could let go.


We need to be thinking about how we can be in control or how we can do things differently to get the outcome we’re looking for. Until next time remember, through growth and action, progression happens. Let’s take action together.

Resource Links

Hello and welcome to episode number 22 of the Strategy Corner where our goal is to get you to take action. I’m your host, Michelle Zink, the owner of Intentional Solutions Corp. Today we’re going to be talking about a really fun idea, a thought that when I heard it really upset me, something that upset me, but after about 48 hours, I felt amazing about it and realize it was the key for me to turn around my way of thinking. It helped me turn around my thought that I can control people and help me to see that I can’t control anyone but myself. So, this concept is called “The Only Person You Can Control is Yourself”. That’s right. The only person you can control is yourself. I’m sharing this concept because lately a lot of my clients have been struggling with this just like I did. They worked for someone who possibly they wanted to change – who they wanted them to be someone different.


They have family members who, may be during the holidays, acted in a way that they didn’t think was appropriate or they thought that they shouldn’t have acted in a certain way. They’ve had vendors they’ve dealt with who haven’t delivered on their promises and were getting upset about it. And this whole concept about the only person you can control is yourself is very upsetting, but then very uplifting. And uplifting because it makes you realize that you’re only in control of yourself. So thus, you don’t have to worry about controlling other people. It frees up your time to only look at yourself and it also frees up the negative thoughts that you have towards other people. It helps you realize that you’re in the driver’s seat, helps you realize that you have control of the outcome that you’re frustrated about or the person that you’re irritated with.


It helps you to get clear on what you want to accomplish and then it helps you to develop a strategy and how to get what you want. For me, when I heard this concept, only – the only person you can control is yourself. I was going through a hard time where I really wanted the situation at my job to be different. I really wanted my boss to be a different person. And now I can laugh about it because it’s so funny for me to think that I wanted someone to be different because the person was acting just like they’re supposed to act and just how they wanted to. And what’s so great about it is is back in the day I thought, well, I can change them. I can do X, Y, and Z and they can see things differently, or I can do X, Y, and Z and they’re going to change.


And I now see where, for years, I tried to not only change people I worked with, but also change people I encountered socially or professionally. I tried to get people to see my opinions. I tried to get people to be on my side and once I realized that the only person I can control is myself, I let go of all that. I realized, okay, I can sit here and try to change someone else to try to change their viewpoint or I can just focus on the owner, the leader I’m being and decide how I want to act and then go from there. Now again, this is not an easy concept to digest nor to implement because right away, just like Steve Chandler talks about in his book that I shared with you guys how many episodes ago, about 12 episodes ago, episode number 10 and reinventing yourself that we have to be the owner of our thoughts and our feelings.


We are the owner of the events that happen in our life, not someone else. So, this isn’t easy to implement, but once you get the concept and once you start practicing in your life, you can really see the positive results that you can start incorporating. And I mean this because for me again, I was trying to control and to now I see you manipulate a situation into having this individual see things my way. And once I was able to let go of that and realize that I’m in control of myself, I was able to see that I have something that I want to accomplish. I need to decide if where I was currently was, where I was going to accomplish it, or I needed to determine a game plan for what was my next steps. And so, by realizing this concept and then being open and honest with myself, and that’s one thing that I’ve realized and learned over the last couple of years is that you are the only person who can be open and honest with yourself.


You need to take the time to sit down and think about are there people you’re trying to control in your life? Is there someone where you wish they were different? And maybe if you just let them be who they were, then you’d have a better relationship with them. That’s something to really think about because we are the only person who can be really, truly honest with ourselves where we don’t get defensive, right? Because if we sit down and ask ourselves, okay, Michelle, be open and honest. Who are you trying to control and who do you need to let go of controlling? I’m going to be open and honest with myself and I’m not going to get mad at myself. I’m going to come from an inquisitive and a curious perspective and think about, well that’s really interesting. Knowing what I know now that I can only control myself, why would I have these thoughts that I want to control someone else?


So, you need to get clear on if there’s anyone in your life where you’re trying to control yourself. And for my clients, I’ve had several of them, you know who work at amazing organizations, where they want their manager or they want their employee to act differently than they’re acting. And so, what I do is I coach them on, again, the only person you can control is yourself. And how can we act differently? How can we approach a situation from a different perspective? How can we open up to see where maybe an employee’s coming from and why they’re acting a certain way? So, it all starts with us. And as soon as we realize this and take ownership for the buck start – stops here and we’re the ones in charge of creating our life and creating our future, the more we’re in control and can actually take and move our life forward in a way positive in a way that supports ourselves.


So, words that you want to look for. This is how I know if someone is having an issue with wanting to control someone else and being more of a victim instead of an owner. So, some of the words I hear, some of the phrases I hear are: I don’t mean to be negative. That’s one of them. Number two is nothing ever changes, right? So right there, nothing ever changes. You’re putting yourself in a negative mindset. You’re putting someone else in control by saying nothing ever changes because reality is you can change tomorrow. You can change in this minute. You can decide tomorrow that no longer are you going to beat yourself up. You know, emotionally or no longer am I going to ask an employee to do something? I’m going to get an agreement with them. So, people saying nothing ever changes is a clear sign that we need to talk about.


The only person they can control is themselves. And then another phrase that people say is, I don’t see how that will be helpful. Well, you don’t see now how it will be helpful because you ever tried it a different way. You never thought about it a different way. You never maybe thought about the other person’s perspective and how and why they’re coming from the place they’re coming from. So, in order for us to clearly become the owner of ourselves, we need to start looking at things differently and we need to start doing things different than we haven’t done the past. And this is universal. This is a strategy that crosses over all careers, personal lives, professional lives, children, everything. When people aren’t acting the way that we think they should, that’s a great opportunity for us to step back and think about where are we expecting someone to be something that they’re not capable of being?


Where are we being unrealistic with our expectations of others? Where do we need to evaluate and see how we can be in control of how we engage and communicate with them? How can you be a better person? How can you be a better person by showing them how to be whatever you’re looking for them to be? How can you step back and realize that the other person isn’t the one who’s the problem; that their problem is only you and that once you realize that, that’s the key to the lottery. That’s the key to the gold. That’s the key to your life and how you want to grow and develop it. So now the strategy. What do you need to do over the next week? You need to slow down and you need to see in your life over the next week. Take note of where you are becoming a person who wants to control others, where you might be saying the words, I don’t mean to be negative or nothing ever changes or I don’t see how that will be helpful and just write down the situation and what you thought. And then just see if it serves you.


Like maybe it does serve you, maybe you don’t want to change. Maybe you don’t want to start taking responsibility for the way that you treat others. Maybe you want it to be their issue, but maybe you’re also in a place where you want to start taking charge of your life. You want to start creating the life that you want to lead. And so, you’re open to seeing where possibly you’re being a victim instead of an owner where you’re trying to control other people and not realizing that the only person you can control is yourself. So again, what your action steps this week is to do, is to sit down, take note when you see yourself being a victim, and then think about how you could do X differently or maybe what you need to let go of. If it’s in a situation where you’re trying to possibly control an outcome of something or control your boss, maybe you just need to let that go.


Maybe you just need to go into your boss’ office and share with him or her specifically what you’re looking to create without any attachment of the outcome, without worrying about what they’re going to say and just see and maybe they won’t like it. Or maybe since you’re coming in with an open mind, they can see how whatever you’re proposing would be a great compliment or it would be wonderful if you implement implemented that within the organization. We need to start looking at how we can be in control and how we can be doing things differently in our lives to get the outcomes are really looking for. Because remember, the only person you can control is yourself. Okay, so now it’s your turn. I want you to go on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, and subscribe to the Strategy Corner. Also, go to my website, and sign up to get my weekly blog post, which also has a link to the latest podcast. Until next time, remember through action and growth, progression happens. Let’s take action together. Thank you and create an amazing week.