David’s first waking thought every weekday morning was to wonder what sort of mood his boss would in and how much conflict he'd have to deal with that day. On the train in to work, his mind would whir with all the previous few days' interactions with his boss, hunting for clues as to the atmosphere in the office and preparing for the worst.

For when his boss was in a bad mood, it affected David’s whole day, so he spent a great deal of time thinking about how he could ensure he didn't provoke him, but ended up feeling defensive and edgy whenever they had a meeting. David would hide these feelings behind a well-practised smile when he was at work, only letting his guard down when he got home, where he often found himself taking out his frustrations on his wife and kids.

When David attended a recent War to Peace® workshop, he realised that his moods had been tethered to his boss's and he had been blaming his boss for his own edginess; he had been trying to appease his boss instead of working on the thing he did have control over – himself.

Control the Controllables

We may never know why someone is moody and our attempts to appease them can in fact escalate their mood. David had been angry because he felt that it was unprofessional for his boss to be so erratic. However, he came to realise that it was far easier to look at his own mood than to attempt change his boss's.

Think about the weather. Whilst you might prefer the sun to shine warmly from a clear blue sky, sometimes it’s cloudy or rainy instead. Of course there is no way of controlling the weather, so if it looks inclement, you take precautions such as carrying an umbrella or wearing an extra layer or two. It might be disappointing if an outdoor event you had planned is rained off, but you find something else to do indoors.

In other words, you control the controllables.

So, whilst his boss’s moods might not be what David would want to encounter, he doesn't need to take them on board.  Today, David is finding being at work much easier, having experienced how to choose his own mood in several ways at the War to Peace® workshop. His boss continues to be erratic, but David puts up his metaphorical umbrella and carries on with his day and no longer allows it to affect him. His family are feeling the benefits too!

Over to you

  1. The next time you feel at the mercy of someone else’s mood, stop and focus your attention on what is within your control.
  2. Notice the thoughts you are having about your day and the people around you. The mood you are in is a great indicator of whether there is too much noise and chatter in your head. Simply noticing your thoughts allows them to pass.
  3. Notice how your body feels and check in with what it needs. All the wisdom you ever need is inside you; you simply need to get better at acknowledging its presence.
  4. What you are thinking, feeling, saying and doing is always within your control - what everyone else is doing is not. Where do you want to focus your energy and attention today?

Do you know someone who could benefit from War to Peace®?

If you know someone who would benefit from learning how to control the controllables in their interactions with their colleagues, family or friends,  our next open-access War to Peace® workshop is in London this Friday 5 October (just 3 spaces left). To book a space, click here.

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