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If you have zero control over something, you should have zero worry about it

Columnist Kristen Asleson says she believes so much in letting go of what she cannot control, she had a reminder tattooed on her left shoulder blade.

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As a virtual assistant, I am able to service clients no matter where their business is located. To date, my largest client is located in Jenner, California, where they manage nine vacation homes. Coincidentally, my second busiest client is also in California. Next would be a client in Colorado, so in reality, I have very few clients that are actually local.

These past two weeks have been a little hectic as one of my local clients had a health emergency. This health emergency took his ability to run one of his businesses down to zero. So, what did that mean for me? It all of a sudden meant I was running the show so to speak. His family came to town, so all personal issues were taken care of, but all customer service, driving, reservations and coffee brewing responsibilities landed on my shoulders.

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Do I mind? Absolutely not, because it feels good to help. Did it require some serious reorganization and prioritization on my part? A firm yes would still be an understatement.

Combined with it still being summer, still having other clients who required just as much attention as before, and a few other interruptions in these past few weeks, to say it’s been stressful is also an understatement. But as I learned long ago, one must learn to let go that of which they cannot control.

In fact, I believe in that statement so strongly, it is tattooed across my left shoulder blade.

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Do you allow yourself to get worked up over issues you have no control of?

According to Richard Carlson, author of “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff,” society looks at stress backwards. We tend to look up to people who are under a great deal of stress, who can handle loads of stress, and those who are under a great deal of pressure. Our current level of stress will be exactly that of our tolerance to stress. Those who say they can handle stress, tend to be under a great deal of it.

To get a grip on your stress levels and actually bring them down along with your tolerance level, Richard suggests, “What you want to start doing is noticing your stress early, before it gets out of hand. When you feel your mind moving too quickly, it’s time to back off and regain your bearings. When your schedule is getting out of hand, it’s a signal that it’s time to slow down and re-evaluate what’s important rather than power through everything on your list. The best strategy is to relax, take a few breaths and take a break. When stress is small, it’s manageable and easier to control.”

I used to find myself worrying that I wouldn’t get everything on my list done. Only after I started figuring out what I could actually control and that which I could not, did my stress levels diminish. When your mind is clear, more peaceful and you have a lower stress level, you will find yourself more effective and actually more fun to be around. Now, fun might not be your goal, but still, what can it hurt to share a smile and laugh a little?

So, try this, rather than stewing over the small things at work, let it go. Don’t spend your day trying to convince yourself that your anger is justified; don’t have an imaginary conversation over what a confrontation would or should look like; and don’t go tell someone else about that incident. Take a deep breath, take a few minutes to yourself, and let go. Take it from me, this takes practice, but it is well worth it.

Kristen Asleson is owner of Midwest Virtual Assistants. Send comments and ideas to news@postbulletin.com .

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