Letting Go: In Life and Your Home Business
by Helaine Iris

I am either incredibly foolish or very fortunate.
Last year my husband and I ventured to go
against well meaning advice and decided to build a house.

Not just any house, but a completely custom straw bale house. For those of you new
to alternative building -- straw bale is an incredibly efficient, well proven, green
method of insulating a traditional timber frame house.

It was incredibly exciting. We found the perfect land, hired a wonderful architect,
found an adventurous contractor, and broke ground last January to start on the ride of
our lives. What an experience. Aside from the expected scenario everybody who's
built before you warns about - double the time and way over budget, I'm finding the
real challenge is having essentially no control over most of the project. Unpredictable
weather, unreliable subs... it's a domino game of staggering proportion.

So, for me, someone who likes to think I have a measure of control over my life -- it's
been a major crash with reality. What I'm learning (kicking and screaming) is I can
either chose to get buried by the stress and freak out every time things don't go as I
want or expect them to, or find ways to make friends with the inevitability of what I
can't control.

As I've been thinking about this current and potent experience of mine it occurs to
me that it's also a reflection of life as a business owner as well.

Despite your best efforts, customers come and go, trends change, the price of gas
doubles. Things out of your control occur all the time regardless of your best and
most noble planning. And, just like in my personal situation, how I choose to respond
in my business means the difference between a stressful, overwhelming and
frustrating life and one of relative peace.

I admit - this is not an easy shift to make. At an early age we learn to control our
environment to keep us safe and in charge. That may feel like a good thing,  but
paradoxically, can we ever really be in control of anything?  How do you find the
balance between feeling you have volition over your reality while holding the
awareness you don't?  

Here are two thoughts that are helping me negotiate this delicate balance.

Distinguish between what you can control and what you can't. For example: You
can't control the rising cost of raw materials to make your product, but you can
control who you buy from. Here's where you have choice and can exercise your
power as a consumer. When you are faced with a situation that feels overwhelming,
ask your self what about the situation you can control and what you can't.

Take action on what you can control and invite yourself to let go of what you can't.
True empowerment lies in discerning the difference and taking clear action where
you can. I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer,  " God grant me the serenity to accept
the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know
the difference."

Experiment with the difference between the words command versus control. What
meaning and feelings do each of these words conjure up for you? For me command
connotes a sense of being in charge, the ability to respond and take action. Control
feels tight, tense and fear based. Think of yourself in command of a situation rather
than in control and see if it helps you make this powerful shift toward accepting how
reality is enabling you to respond in a new way.

I am fortunate. As for my house, and my process, the house is beautiful, it's coming
along just as I envisioned it. I still have no definitive move in date - and I definitely
want that to be different. However, I do feel in command of my ability to
communicate my needs to my building team, and stay engaged with what I can
influence. I am learning to more fully utilize these tools to make my life more
peaceful and I trust my builder is fully using his tools as well.

About the author: Helaine is a Life and Business Coach, who has been featured in numerous
publications, including "O" The Oprah Magazine. She helps entrepreneurs and professional
women accelerate their professional success, while achieving a more complete and fulfilling
personal life. She combines a broad range of professional experience in her work, including
management positions in the education, training, retail and international non-profit sectors. For
a free consultation, contact her at 603-357-8546 to discuss how she can help you accelerate your
own success. You may also visit her website,
Path of Purpose, for additional information, or
email your questions to
Helaine Iris
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