The restorative power of control

minute read

Last Updated September 29, 2023


*This blog is part of the April 2023 Thought Leader newsletter

lindsay malcolm, education services coordinatorLeah Reid, Education Team Development Manager

Humans have an inherent need for control and certainty. We thrive when life goes according to plan and rely on tools to stay on track.

On the other hand, uncertainty brings us balance—for instance, who else avoids the spoilers before seeing the latest “Ted Lasso” episode? When plans go awry or situations feel chaotic and out of control, there’s often little we can do to rectify it in the moment.

We’re here to remind you that not having a solution is OK. Chaos doesn’t stick around for long, and when it passes, an incredible learning opportunity is left in its wake.

To show you what we mean, we’d like to share two recent stories from our coaching team. Not as anecdotes for solutions or attempts to prepare for the unplanned, but as a reminder that in the event you feel out of control this tax season—or any season—this too shall pass.

The power outage

A Rootworks member who is consistently early for every coaching call wasn’t in the waiting room when the meeting started. Seven minutes later, the member joined from their cell phone in a state of calm panic. The power went out in the office due to a torrential downpour, and because they have a local server, there was no easy way to work. In the middle of tax season!

You can imagine the heavy feeling of dread that quickly fell on the firm. The chaotic disruption caused everyone to freeze in place and wait it out—and so far, they had been waiting for four hours.

As luck would have it, during the 30-minute coaching call check-in, the power came back on. The firm and their coach celebrated and agreed to reconvene after tax season. It was time to catch up on the work lost from the day.

Reminder: In times of chaos or when you’re feeling out of control, one of the best ways to feel more grounded is to stay consistent in the things you can control. That’s why the member joined the call…even though the conditions weren’t the best for coaching. 

The pain of technology

Recently, a member expressed incredible frustration during a coaching call. One of the most-used technologies in their firm was experiencing frequent outages, slow processing time and lack of functionality.

The stress that was weighing on them was obvious from their demeanor. Not only was the situation stressful for the firm owner, but the entire office was feeling the chaos during the worst time possible—again, tax season—and as we know, when the firm is chaotic, the clients feel it too.

This is not an uncommon story. Technology is gonna technology. So, the firm owner reframed their thinking and took control over what they could. They assured their staff that it was OK just to get done what they could get done by April 18—which resulted in volunteers willing to adjust their working hours to help get their work out the door.

Reminder: There may come a point when it’s necessary to resign ourselves to the fact that we can only control so much, but we can control how we react.  

And if all else fails, go watch “Ted Lasso”!

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