I’m often inspired by the talks David Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth gives prior to his daily meditations, one of which was about the locus of control concept. As your environment changes, failure or success can be attributed to factors that you can control or ones that are beyond your control. Which one you choose has a bearing on long-term success, health and balance. Locus of control describes the degree to which people perceive outcomes being a result of their own behaviors or from external forces.
Most business leaders have a very strong internal locus of control and are usually self-motivated. This enables them to focus on setting and achieving goals or milestones with strength and purpose. People who possess this trait are usually entrepreneurs. But there is a downside. Sometimes it’s very difficult for these leaders to take direction, and so they need to be careful that they don’t come across as arrogant or overpowering people. Another challenge for those who feel like they’re in full control of everything is the potential for internalizing failure and feeling devastated.
Along the way, this could lead to frustration, stress, anxiety and depression. For those who have a strong external locus of control, there could be a tendency to give up when things don’t go their way and feel they don’t have enough power. Much of that comes from internal negative self-talk. What’s important is for business leaders (and everyone, for that matter) to step back and be reminded that there’s always a choice in the matter. Once you can harness that power, then it’s easier to set and achieve goals, make positive changes and build confidence.