Let them do their thing and you do yours.

I’ve recently become obsessed with Buti Yoga. I literally cannot get enough. (If you haven’t tried it yet, get ready to sweat your buns off and tap into your womanpower all at the same time. If you’ve never done hip circles while holding Warrior II, you don’t know what you’re missing.)

There’s one teacher whose sequencing is kind of intricate. As I started going to her class more often I noticed myself tracking the movements that we’d done on one side of the body rather than being in the flow of the class.

I’d begin to tally all the things we did on the right and start to worry that she was going to forget her sequencing and not come back around to have us do those same movements on the left. My monkey mind was off to the races about the importance of symmetry and preventing injury and wondering how she was keeping track of all of this fast-paced movement and if she even was or if she was just making it up as she went along.

The first class I noticed myself doing that she came back to the left by the end of class and, praise the lord, we ended class having done the same movements on the left as we had on the right. And I’m pretty sure my obsessing about whether or not she would remember didn’t make a hill of beans of difference.

Mentally Micro-Managing

A couple of days later I was out for lunch with another girlfriend. An adorable server told us he’d prepare a table for us. I watched him doing his thing and it seemed like he was doing something other than getting our table ready. When another server asked if we’d been helped I told her that the guy had said he was going to set up a table for us but that he didn’t appear to be doing that.

Moments later he waved us over and I realized while I’d been judging him for not doing what he said he was going to, he’d been preparing a sweet little spot for us at the counter overlooking the open kitchen.

I think I’m not alone in spending too much time worrying about other people doing what they’re supposed to be doing.

Ever since the day in yoga that I realized I was mentally micromanaging the sequencing I’ve been practicing surrender. I’m letting the teacher do her thing. And I’m doing mine. (For the record, I’m not yet good at this. But I’m showing up and catching myself more which is all I can ask of myself.)

I’m there to practice. She’s there to teach.

Same thing at the restaurant. I was there to eat lunch. He was there to serve it. He didn’t need me halfway talking to my friend and halfway wondering if he was going to set up our table like he’d said.

twitter_standingWhen we stop worrying about others doing their thing, we get to be more present for doing our thing. (Click to Tweet.)

Each day in yoga when I notice myself wondering (or worrying) about the sequencing I come back to my body. I feel the sweat dripping down my back or the heat building in my thighs.

During that hour, my job is to practice. Her job is to teach.

The truth is, even if we do one extra hip circle on our right than on our left, the world will remain in balance. These are small potatoes in the grand scheme of things.

Releasing my need to mentally control what others are or are not doing is a practice in and of itself. Remembering what I’m there to do instead of obsessing about what they’re there to do really helps.

Over to you:

What helps you surrender when you find yourself trying to control situations that are not up to you to control? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please leave a comment below!


 

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16 comments

  • I am pretty good at being right. And I like to tell people things. So start telling people how they should do their jobs and what is the “right” way to do things- ie my way. My way is not always pretty or the way it needs to get done. I have learned that in the last few months and I am trying to stop and not tell so many what way they should be doing things. It is hard though!

  • Jen

    This one is super tough for me as I am a project manager. I am paid to micromanage the heck out of everyone – I really don’t enjoy it, but the biggest issue is that I find myself doing it to everyone now.

  • Love this! I think of my grandma who just turned 110 last week! Amazing, I know! She has lived a happy and healthy life and my mom attributes it to the fact that my grandma has never worried about the things she can’t control. In other words, no stress – no worry. What an incredible inspiration and lesson for all of us!

    I have done my own thing my entire life and while it might not please everyone around me, I am authentically me!

  • Fantastic post! As a yoga teacher, I’ve been through mega-training and an important part of that training was/is to “follow the teacher…” In my opinion, it is partially out of respect…that the teacher may have wisdom to share and you have paid for her/his knowledge. Yoga teacher + student is a tricky combination. Not all teachers are the right fit for all students. But as Kate advises: TRY. Try 3 classes. You will know if the teacher-student relationship (and the pace/method of the class) is right for you. In my classes questions are always welcome. Safety, compassion and NO PAIN are paramount! There are many styles of yoga. Search around and find the teacher who is right for you and your lifestyle.

  • Nikki

    Kate Northrup you are awesome! Thank you for sharing your inner workings so openly :) I laughed so hard picturing you at yoga obsessing about the yoga teacher’s sequencing and then the ‘ah ha’ moment struck me and I laughed even harder because I realised its what I do all the time!! No wonder I find being around people so exhausting!

  • Marta Londono

    You have gave me hope, your fresh and fun style gets me,

    THANK YOU sweetie for been such a brave girl.

    With all my respect.

  • Sandy Glover

    Wow, I never realized just how often I do this until I read this article. I had the same experience with watching a waitress who seemed to be forgetting us and getting irritated the whole time with her. I was wrong as it turned out and she gave us excellent service. I actually felt a little silly and guilty for not being patient and just letting things flow.
    I realize that I do this to my husband and kids too often as well. Time for a change and thanks for bringing it to our attention. We are always learning and evolving!

  • Thank you for this, Kate. It is exactly what I needed today. I do the same thing. Awareness is the first step in correcting a behavior. I’m aware.

    You and Colette Baron Reid have inspired me most within the past year or so. You, with your book, Money, A Love Story as well as your videos and blogs and Colette, with her book, Weight Loss for People Who Feel Too Much, as well as her blogs.

    Thank you. Happy Holidays and I am affirming that this is our best year so far!

  • Mary

    Congratulations! & Holy Mole- you are on to one of the best freedom of mind gems. I work in surgery where everyone micro manages “for the sake of the patient”. That creates an under current of resentment for me, as I want to be thought of as capable & trustworthy in my work. In the past I have used passive aggressive means as a coping mechanism. This is a horrible patient & work environment. I think initially it takes courage & trust. Then after witnessing time after time the wisdom of a higher order and how beautiful the outcome for all – you want to step back – to observe the unfoldment.

    • Kate

      Mary – I’m so glad you’re brining this level of awareness into the healthcare system…it’s so needed there. Woohoo!

  • This is the truth! I still practice this too. As one who has been very proactive about my own personal development, I find myself always wanting to “Coach” others and share my lessons with them, in hopes that they will change and have better lives. And while I still do wish the best for everyone, I had to realize that I cannot MAKE them change. I had to learn to live my life, share when appropriate and go with how they’re flowing. It is not my responsibility to make others change, and they do not need to change how I think they should. It’s funny how what I thought was doing a service to others was kind of self-centered. And coming to terms with focusing on me and loving my friends and family as they are has been such a relief. Which also goes with the other post about loved ones doing things to annoy you.

    When I just show up and be me, I have a much better experience.

    ‘Tis the season for showing up and just being me :)

    Thank you for this reminder, especially during this time.

  • […] ∞  I loved this: let them do their thing and you do yours. […]

  • Claudia

    Ha! I didn’t realise I was doing it until I read it. The waitress thing, the Yoga thing….

    I feel more relaxed. I can let that go. That will save me a lot of stress from now on.

  • […] “Kun lakkaamme murehtimasta siitä tekeekö muut tehtävänsä, voimme olla enemmän läsnä omalle tehtävällemme.” Kate Northrupin inspiroivaan blogikirjoitukseen […]

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