Throughout life I’ve often been accused of being a “control freak” by many people; and let’s not kid ourselves, it was never meant as a term of endearment. But here’s the thing – I’ve actually have come to view the traits that some refer to as “controlling” more as being “overly-responsible”, and here’s why: It’s because the “controlling” traits that piss people off are the exact same ones that ensure I never pay late fees or penalties of any kind, ever; they’re also the traits that ensure our bills are paid on time, that there’s coffee in the pantry every morning (as well as milk in the fridge), that our many (1,000+ detail) holidays are always organized, booked and paid for BEFORE we leave the country, why I’m never late for appointments, why my promises are always kept, and above all, why this family never, ever, EVER has to worry about debt! These things are all benefits of “taking control” and responsibility of situations, and then working towards their successful outcomes.
And while suffering massive anxiety over getting things done properly and on time might appear pedantic and anal to some people, the fact is (in my case at least) it’s BECAUSE I’m so damn
controlling overly-responsible that these important things in our lives are always looked after. And I can tell you that after the week we’ve just had (and am continuing to experience) I’m proud that I take this approach to life and all it’s challenges; because if I didn’t, my family (especially my son) would be having a very tough time right about now.
You see, this past week has been a majorly frustrating shit-show as we’ve been dealing with difficult situations created by someone else’s lack of integrity and sense of responsibility. In fact, this person left such a mess in our lives that I’ve been forced to put my entire life on hold for several weeks to solely focus so on fixing the problems they’ve created for our family. Here’s what happened:
Exactly one week ago I was happy as a clam, enjoying a great time visiting my friend Chris in Edmonton, where we were at the opera excitedly watching his insanely talented wife Barb – a soprano – perform on stage. Anyway, after the show I arrived back to my hotel around 1:00 a.m. to find a frantic message from my ex-wife informing us that the person I’d hired just two months ago to take care of Tristan 40 hours per week (including scribing with him at college, and helping his with his assignments) had abruptly quit, and without notice. Even worse, they had someone else make the call; someone who gingerly explained that while they couldn’t give details to what or why the aid had quit, they were wondering where to drop off our keys? I was in total shock and disbelief!
Being so far from home I felt absolutely helpless to try and begin understanding (a) what just happened, and (b) how to go about resolving it. I mean WTF? Not only was is job the easiest care-aid position in the world, but as employers we treated this person with utmost respect and integrity, and constantly did favours to help them feel like a valuable member of our team – favours it turned out, were clearly all for naught. My mind began racing with questions like “What happened?” and “What are we going to do?”, etc. because at exactly 8:30 a.m. the following day (and the day after that, and the day after that, etc.) NOBODY would be coming to take care of Tristan for the day, get him up out of bed, off to college, help him with his assignments etc. – and as you can imagine, this void created a massive inconvenience and stress in all our lives.
But here’s the thing: As a
control freak overly-responsible individual, I’d knew I’d be able deal with these issues head on, and work through them until we found and implemented solutions; I know this because I’ve done it many, many times before. So with my confidence in place, I began to make a plan (a major habit of control freaks overly-responsible individuals) and then put it into action – starting with placing ads, making calls and then booking appointments.
Our first meeting was Tuesday morning when we three (myself, Tristan and his mother) met with the college councillor where lo and behold, we got another titanic shock – Despite constantly telling us that Tristan’s studies were up to date, it turned out that the now-departed aid had NOT stayed on top of the assignments or course-load, and Tristan was in line to fail both courses he was taking!
Now it’s critical to understand the following: Without a college education, Tristan doesn’t have a lot of options in life because let’s face it, he’ll never get a labouring job in the construction field or work as the manager of a business; he won’t become a long-haul truck driver or the head coach of a sports team; heck, if we are going to be honest, he won’t even be able to work a basic sales position because (a) he is so dependant on other people to get him around where he is going, and (b) who is going to take a chance on a guy in a motorized wheelchair that needs so much help just to get around? So as you can see, having an education is very important for him, and this selfish act by the previous aid set us back on several levels.
Here’s the good news: I’m
a control freak overly-responsible! This means that in addition to finding a new care-aid, I will also “take control” of all aspects of this situation as well, doing absolutely everything in my power to both fix the problems; more importantly, I’ll make sure to use what we’ve learned to create an even better situation than we had before. This is because as an control freak overly-responsible individual, I want the world to know that:
Other peoples actions do not determine my outcomes; only I have the power to do that.
Now I won’t bore you with all the specifics from this past week, but will go as far as to say we advertised for and interviewed several care-givers, which eventually resulted in our hiring a wonderful young lady. The best part of the process is that Tristan was present and participated as the employer which for me, was really cool to watch. And with the care aid hired, I’ll now spend a few days this week training her, making sure to outline our specific expectations for the position – expectations that have been more carefully defined due to our recent bad experiences. But let’s be honest: Isn’t this how us
control freaks overly-responsible individuals learn to improve our game – by learning from past mistakes? I think so.
Oh, and as far as college goes, we identified that Tristan needs help to (a) get caught up, and (b) have someone more suited to work with him towards a passing completion; and to be honest, the things he’s studying are WAY above my level of acedemic comprehension and comfort zone! I asked his professor if she could recommend a tutor, and she did – a former student (that knows both the class and the expectations of this professor) who has now joined us and has taken control of Tristan’s study regime. This works out well, as I can pay her wages with the money I didn’t spend the past 7 days on a care-aid. Better still, I know that she’ll help him both get caught up on his assignments and become an active participant in class, rather than just the passive by-stander he has been in the past. From where I’m sitting, this scenario is a total “Win-Win”! Yahoo!
So there you have it; here we are exactly one week after the dreaded news dropped, and it looks like we are not only getting back on track to a normal schedule, but a far superior one with better people on board. And I truly believe in my heart that the great strides we’ve made so quickly to turn around a very bad situation were possible because they were approached with a
control freak overly-responsible mindset. And you know what? If “getting shit done” quickly and properly is the result of such a mindset, then maybe it’s time for me to finally admit something else to myself…
It’s time to admit that being a
overly-responsible individual control freak has been a major reason I’ve experienced certain successes in life; and since this truly is the case, then how can being a “control freak” be a such bad thing? It can’t.