Micromanaging can be the symptom of a sickness, and I’m not talking about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder—I’m talking about not being in touch with your Authentic Soul.
Have you been called a nag recently? Are people annoyed at how much you care about details? Do you have a hard time relaxing because there’s so much to do? Do you get frustrated that your spouse/roommates/children don’t apply the same attention to household obligations that you do? Do you take pride in being “detail oriented”?
If you answered ‘yes’ to more than one of these questions, you may very well be a micromanager, and it may be causing bigger problems in your relationships than you think. Here are some qualities to discover if you or someone close to you is a micromanager and some tips on how to break the habit.
A great way to avoid looking inward: Many of my clients complain they’re unhappy with their lives and feel the solution to their malaise would be a cleaner house, a more organized workspace, friends and family that would take their advice more often—really anything that helps them stay active and in constant physical and mental motion. Why? Because it allows them to avoid living in the present and reflecting on their own life. In my therapy called SoulBlazing™, micromanagers embody two types of Impostors: “The Fixer” and “The Philosopher.” We all deal with childhood traumas differently, and our Impostors try and avoid addressing them because feeling is too painful, and the trauma is what part of what defines their personality! Micromanagers would rather bury their issues at the very bottom of their to-do list and save healing for another day.
The Infinite List: The list of things to do will never end, and this is both wonderful and infuriating to a micromanager because it always gives them something to occupy themselves with, even while they’re constantly trying to check things off that list—what a conundrum! This is why micromanagers are generally unhappy and dissatisfied—their identity is based on being unfulfilled. Even if they cross off one item on their list, that reveals an entirely new set of things to accomplish and fret over.
A disconnection from others: A side effect of micromanagement is that it prevents you from looking up from tasks to see and experience the people around you. Truly connecting with people requires a person to live in the present and value the moment without distraction. When micromanagers do spend time with people, they tend to discuss the things about life that worry and dissatisfy them, and this makes them poor candidates for intimate connections with friends, families and lovers—Who wants to spend time with complainers? They also tend to try to fix other people’s problems, leading conversations with strong opinions and know-it-all perspectives. This behavior drives people away, and pushes the micromanager further into their own isolated world.
Break the habit with affirmations: The goal is to begin the process of reconnecting with yourself and addressing the issues buried deep in your psyche that your Impostors have been trying to avoid. Begin by putting your phone, list, or laptop down, look yourself in the mirror, and say these affirmations: “I value being in the company of others exactly as they are, today.” “I cherish being in the moment with others to see what they can teach me as much as my own insights.” “I love myself just the way I am, perceived imperfections and all.” “I am living fully in the moment, loving my life.” “I speak only positive things. I love seeing the good and positive in others and sharing that news.” “I am excellent at creating the life of my dreams. I easily and effortlessly show up every day inspired with a game plan to make each day count.”
Break the habit by unplugging: We live in an age when micromanagers can thrive because technology allows us to stay constantly distracted. Take yourself out of the environment. Go camping for a weekend and leave the magazines, books, and laptop behind. Sit in silence. Look at the landscape. Take a hike. Breathe deeply. Enjoy the feeling of a clear mind. When you return to your regular work life, you can experience this through meditation. Fifteen minutes a day will affect your mood and behavior in significant ways. You’ll feel less stressed, and feel more apt to connect with other people outside of action-oriented tasks.
Break the habit by choosing projects with no goal: Activities like painting, writing poetry, non-competitive sports (like shooting hoops, surfing, or running) are all activities that require us to live in the present. Consistent participation in these activities will unconsciously separate you from feeling the need to control your environment and simply live in the now.
If you’d like to learn more about your Fixer and Philosopher Impostor (or several others that may reside inside you), just click here to meet them!
Remember that there are many good qualities that stem from being organized and on top of things, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing… Unclench those fists and take a deep breath, apply the techniques above, and embrace the knowledge that everything will be accomplished in the proper time. Sometimes you’ll get to your destination faster if you float with the river than if you use a motorboat.