When Your Chief Operating Officer of Control Runs Rampant

Standing in my childhood home’s bedroom surrounded by piles of random things collected from multiple rooms waiting to be packed into moving boxes (Christmas china, antique linens and quilt pieces, books, collectible figurines), piles of clothing to be donated, and piles of “I don’t know what to do with this” stuff (school and generations-old memorabilia, family Christmas ornaments and my grandmother’s costume jewelry), I realized I couldn’t make sense of anything so I went to see what my mom was up to in her bedroom. It looked exactly the same and she looked as dazed as I felt. “Mom, we both have decision fatigue. Let’s take a break.”

The COOC (Chief Operating Officer of Control) in me was screaming, “NOOOO – you must keep going and finish this task. Disaster looms if you stop now!” She was eyeing the sun hanging low in the western sky. I could feel her pacing inside me like a newly caged wild animal.

I told my mom I’d meet her downstairs. I’m sure she assumed I needed a bio break. What I needed was some space to handle the screaming one within me.

“Shhhhhh, settle down,” I said in my gentlest tone usually saved for clients or loved ones in the throes of upset. I knew I couldn’t out-shout my COOC and more importantly, I knew I didn’t want to. I wanted to love her in her panic and accept us both.

I continued, “We are going to be okay. We will get everything done that needs to get done. And if we don’t, we don’t.”

That’s when I remembered Leadership doesn’t have to look like action, action, action. My Leadership at that moment looked like gentle permission.

I had the same style of conversation with my mom when I went downstairs. Her inner COOC had been running rampant, too.

As a Middle Age woman, I have a lot of COOC years and successes that tell me controlling things is the way to make things happen. When I engage in this line of faulty thinking, I can feel burn out looming around the corner and my waist getting a little bigger.

One way to know your COOC is running rampant during stressful times or ramped up output times is to gauge your own reaction to things around you. Are you shutting down? Are you panicky? How is your body feeling? These were all the key signs for me that late afternoon in June.

The best thing to do is give yourself permission to simply stop, take a break, and choose who you want to be and what you want to experience. Not always easy, I know and re-learned just about every day in June. And, it is worth it. That time you think you don’t have to slow down is the only thing that will allow you to actually complete whatever it is, on time. Because who you are and how you experience arriving at “Goal Complete” is more important than arriving frazzled, dazed and checked-out.

We All Need A Little Support!

I know you have some goals that can make you feel panicky more often than you’d like. I am great at supporting clients to sift through and quiet the mind-junk of the COOC and a host of other masks to make room for the authentic, soul-voice and her timing. Please reach out here to schedule a time to chat and see what coaching with me could do for you and those goals that make you feel panicky.

Also, please comment below your experience of living in the “goal control” zone like so many of us do. I think sharing helps us see that more of us live there than not and that helps us dial down the crazy of it. Each time I name it, I experience more freedom and self-love! So, go ahead and comment and receive!

Love and Light,


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