Control What You Can

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

Last week, I found myself in a line of morning traffic stopped behind a school bus. My first thought was, a school bus, already?

 After a year of no school buses, this sight was like seeing the first robin in my yard after a long hard winter.  Kids back in school is fantastic, but it also means an uptick in COVID as students younger than twelve can’t be vaccinated. This means parents and school employees with young children at home are exposed, and the cycle continues.

That same morning, I was preparing for an online leadership training session. The participants were extremely stressed and I immediately recognized that we needed to take time to let participants articulate their worries.  No surprise to me, they were concerned about returning to the office.

That afternoon, I received an email from a group I work with asking for donations for Afghan refugees coming into the area.

  • Back to school
  • Back to the office
  • Afghan crisis
  • Hurricanes
  • COVID-19

By the end of the day, I was overwhelmed – compassion fatigue continues to set in. I spend my days working with people teaching and guiding them to become better leaders and improve their organizations, listening, empathy, and communication skills. I wanted to find my own place to take shelter and let the life storm pass.

But I couldn’t do that.  Chances are, you can’t either. All I could do is to control what I can in my own life.

  • I can do my best to control my health by following COVID guidance – get a vaccine, wear a mask, and socially distance.
  • I can control my in-person work by asking people to attend only online if they are unvaccinated. I can ask them to wear a mask and socially distance.
  • I can learn about the Afghan crisis and identify ways to help now and into the future.
  • I can donate to hurricane relief.
  • I can control my understanding of everything around me by tuning out news and social media that is heavy on emotion and light on facts.

Issue Paralysis

 People who are overwhelmed can find themselves paralyzed and unable to make any decisions. When we let tasks in our lives slip, we add to our stress.

Right now, if you are feeling a personal life storm, know you are not alone. It’s okay to say no to requests outside of your immediate work and family responsibilities. (Heck, it’s okay to say no o requests within your immediate circle too!) You don’t have to help organize the PTA back to school event, or monthly staff birthday, or (insert any) event or request.

If you are someone who controls stress by actively managing your worries, here is a link to agencies in the DMV working with Afghan refugees.

If you, or a loved one, is having issues due to the pandemic such as health, rent, vaccines, or food assistance, here is a link to services in Prince William.

We will see rain from Hurricane Ida and the North Atlantic storm season is just getting started. Weather is coming. But right now, enjoy our parks, hiking trails, wineries and breweries all with friendly outside space. It helps to go outside to control the uncertainty we often feel within.


Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work.  She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training.  She can be reached at or through







Comments are closed.