I was watching "Talking with Chris Hardwick" the other day, and his guest was James Corden. Now James Corden is not my favourite late night host. For me it basically goes Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and then maybe James Corden. Anywho, I was watching these two chat, and Chris finished the interview with a question which basically got down to "what's the best advice you've ever got?" And James answered about how his Dad used to say that the difference between doing something and not doing something is doing something; so DO SOMETHING!
So that got me thinking. What's the best advice I've ever received? What mantra, or motto, do I try to live by or remember. And I instantly grabbed my laptop to start writing. Because I LOVE this piece of advice, and for some crazy reason I had never really shared it.
After high school I decided to not go to university straight away because I didn't know what I wanted to take. So I got a job for an outbound telemarketing company. Which meant I spent my 8 hour day calling, mostly Americans, trying to sell them stuff, usually a credit card. After a few months I scaled down to half days because it felt like I was losing my soul. I hated when people hung up on me. I took every swear, every hang up, every angry word personally. Those people on the end of the line clearly
hated me, thought I was a horrible
person, and I deserved an awful fiery death.
One day it really got to me and my supervisor noticed.
She came over and asked me what was wrong, and I explained how frustrated I was because people kept hanging up on me and I couldn't make any sales (Type A goal driven personality over here!). All around me my peers were succeeding, while I was failing.
My supervisor asked me, "Can you control when someone gets upset with you? Can you control the someone hangs up on you?" And I answered, "well no...." (there was a "but" coming but she cut me off). Exactly, she said. You can't control if someone hangs up on you. But you can control moving on to the next call, and maybe that next call will be the sale. Control what you can control.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL!
This was a LIFE changing phrase that had, literally, NEVER crossed my mind. I was (am) so Type A, so gripped by fear, so gripped by needing to control my world around me so I felt comfortable and safe, I felt the need to control everything, including other people, that I never thought that I COULDN'T control other people! But when I really let it sink in, she was right. I couldn't control if that person hung up on me. I couldn't control them. I can ONLY control HOW I react and deal with the situation.
Now lemme tell ya, this has changed my life! Do I remember this on a daily basis? No, I'm a human, and I fail all the time. Like when I'm on a plane, sitting on the tarmac, and I need to get off to make my connection...yeah I'm freaking out and I wish that I had control over the plane! But I TRY to remember to control what I can control. Somedays it's easier than others. And I know to some of you, with self esteem and confidence, this is probably the LAMEST revelation a person could ever have. But for someone like me, who needs people to like her, desires people to love her, who needs exterior confirmation of a job well done, being able to LET GO of the idea that I needed to control everything was revolutionary for me.
So maybe there's a pre-teen, or a teenager you know who could really use this motto...or a gal in her early 30's still trying to navigate what 'being an adult' is all about. Would you share this with someone who could use a little pick me up? A little reminder that they only have so much control over this giant thing we call life. What's the best advice you've ever received? Share it in the comments below!