The clock was ticking…And I was up against it.
I had just begun calling experts to sell them on the Educo platform, and I hadn’t had much success yet.
I was nervous.
I was awkward.
I was failing.
And I needed some way to separate my ego from the results.
In life, certain things will always be out of your control. How others respond to you is one of them.
Of course, you can improve your communication skills, but if someone has a bad day, they are not going to respond as well to a proposal.
In moments like that, you need to let go of focusing on results, and focus on what you can control.
Internal Locus of Control
This focus is known as the internal locus of control.
It lets go of the results – good or bad – and measures your success by your practice, your preparation, your effort, and any other factor within your control.
In making sales calls, I did everything I could to focus on the actions I took, rather than the results I got.
This is easier said than done, however. Just knowing that you should focus on what you can control doesn't stop bad results from being painful.
That's why it's not enough to know these things, you must practice being mindful of them.
In her TEDx Talk, The Power of Mindfulness: What You Practice Goes Stronger, Dr. Shauna Shapiro opened my mind to the power of practicing mindfulness.
Practicing your internal locus of control makes your mental preparation and effort muscles stronger.
Likewise, practicing an external locus of control makes your shame (poor results) and arrogance (good results) muscles stronger.
When I saw this talk, I knew that not only did I need to follow her advice and begin practicing mindfulness more in my own life, I needed to add her to my list of calls.
After speaking with her, I formed my life philosophy and started practicing what I believe would be the most valuable thing to grow stronger – bringing my best self to every moment.
Bring My Best Self To Every Moment
It is always now.
The past cannot be changed; the future cannot be known. And all you can control is what you do right here, right now, in this moment.
Dr. Shapiro helped me realize that in order to achieve my grand visions of creating a world where the truth is heard, helping people put science into action, or achieving any of my audacious goals, I would have to practice bringing my best self to each moment along the way.
Starting first and foremost with my initial call with her.
Applying that logic to the phone call, I would bring my best self to the preparation beforehand – creating a list of insightful questions.
Then I would bring my best self to listening and learning from her answers – rather than just waiting for my turn to speak.
Then I would bring my best self to every moment afterward – developing a prototype to show what we could accomplish together.
It worked out. And my phone call with Dr. Shapiro set the standard for every call afterward.
And the prototype turned into one of our most popular programs – the Daily Mindfulness Journal.
This is the only chance you'll ever get at today. Make sure you learn from it.
In life, there will always be things outside of your control. Failure, rejection, illness, loss.
Almost everything is ultimately out of your control. But there is one thing that is within your control – who you choose to be in this moment.
Will you be your best self?
Or will you give into self-pity, arrogance, or deceit?
This is not an easy decision – which is why good intentions aren’t enough.
It requires time, it requires action, and it requires practicing mindfulness.