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How to Shift Your Locus of Control.

You don’t need luck…You need grit!


Guest blogger: Lisa is a happiness and success coach and owner and heart-centered CEO at www.smallsteps2bigchange.com. Follow her on Twitter and IG @bigchangecoach!


The concept of locus of control can best be demonstrated with the following question. Do you think life happens to you or you make it happen?



External locus of control. The roll with the punches group.

You believe that you are the receiver and life, the Universe, God, destiny or something else is the giver of what happens to you and conveys that you feel like control over your life lies somewhere other than with you.

If you have an external locus of control, you are more likely to be envious of others who appear to have a better life. You are more likely to attribute what they have to luck rather than hard work, determination or skills. Those of you with an external locus also make excuses and blame others or circumstances for what isn’t right in your life. You do not take responsibility in part because you don’t think you have any control over what goes wrong or right. Unfortunately, you experience less success than others. You underachieve and underearn because, well, fate. You didn’t inherit a business or money or good luck. You are less likely to make the cognitive association between increasing your skills, making decisions, taking relentless action and success. Internal locus of control. The if I don’t like it, I’ll change it group.

You attribute your success to your skills, education, preparation, actions and tenacity. If you get the job, you attribute it to what you bring to the table. Preparation meets opportunity. If you don’t get the job, you will likely work to improve your skills and focus on what would make you a better candidate for the next job opening. You will plot, plan and strategize. Where you believe control lies has a great impact on your sense of self-worth. But there’s also too much of a good thing. What you want is to be able to realistically give yourself credit where credit is due and to also be able to step back and not take credit or assign blame where you actually had no control over the situation.

There is a danger in being too externally or internally centered. Those with a predominantly external LOC, feel more powerless to change your lives. You don’t do self-improvement or more preparation for an event because you don’t believe it makes any difference. Those with a driving internal LOC sometimes attribute outcomes to your abilities when the outcome is actually outside your control. You didn’t get the job because the company hired from within and you don’t work there. This group will falsely they believe they can change an outcome with more preparation, when in fact sometimes it would not have made a difference. Both of these situations- feeling like you have no control and feeling like you have control over everything- can cause frustration and depression.

So how do you tip your scale toward a realistic balance of internal vs. external locus?

You must get clear on what parts of a situation are within your control (your skills, talents, attitude, reactions, responses, the thoughts you’re willing to hold, boundaries) and what is more controlled by external factors (weather, winning the lottery, genetics, there can be only one winner). Take responsibility for what is within your control and only for your response to what is not within your control.

If you’ve identified as external LOC, here’s what you can do it reel it in.

In addition to determining whether something is within your control or not:

1. Accept criticism as feedback for growth rather than a personal failure. If you didn’t get the job, ask for feedback. Use this to hone your skills so you are a better candidate next time. 2. Give yourself challenges. Live outside your comfort zone. Doing what you think you cannot do increases your sense of personal power. The more you grow your personal power, the more you will believe that you can control events and outcomes to get what you want.

If you’ve identified with the control freak, internal LOC group, here’s what you can do to minimize your frustration and exhaustion: 1. Examine the situation and determine what aspects of it you could not control with all the skills, talent, charm, and preparation in the world. If you couldn’t influence the outcome, let it go and don’t take responsibility for what you can’t control. 2. Be realistic about what you want, how badly you want it, and what you are willing to do to get it. If it’s a super important big goal, go all in. If it’s something you’re doing just because you need to always be improving and preparing, maybe give yourself a break.

Feeling powerless sucks and isn’t an accurate assessment of most situations. I mean, you don’t control the weather and a few other things but much of what you think is luck is really a mix of determination, focus, grit and tenacity. A success cocktail! On the other hand, you can prepare until the proverbial cows come home, and what you want (like a publisher for my book) just hasn’t happened- yet. It’s not about luck but some things, like time and other people’s preferences and schedules, are out of our control. Happiness and success are dependent on a realistic determination of control. The bottom line, for everyone, is that if it’s important to you, find a way. Wishing, wanting and hoping for good fortune to smile on you rarely brings what you want. Study those who are where you’d like to be, find out how they think, learn their habits, and understand how they perceive the world. Know your role models, do what they do and don’t take no for an answer. You’ve got this! You are Lady Luck!

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Lisa is a writer, blogger, and author of the upcoming book “Get What You Want-The Mindset: How to Get Clear, Get Real and Get Going to Create a Life You Ridiculously Love”. She is also owner and heart-centered CEO at www.smallsteps2bigchange.com, where you can grab her FREE guides, including Hardwire Yourself to Be Happy: 26 Ways to Hoist Your Happy to New Heights. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter @bigchangecoach.

Lisa is a contributor to Addicted2Success.com, Thrive Global and previously to Huffington Post and Smart Healthy Women magazine. Lisa’s background is rooted in both business and psychology as well as coach training with Tony Robbins’ Robbins-Madanes Institute. She is a fitness enthusiast, traveler, hugger and animal lover residing with her family in sunny FL, USA. Her motto: Change your mind, change your life. Start today.

You can contact Lisa at info@smallsteps2bigchange.com.

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