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"It Is What It Is"

What to do when things are beyond our control (even if we try our best to control everything).

I first heard the phrase in elementary school when I was 6 years old. A boy in my class was eating a bag of Cheetos and I asked if I could have one. He obliged, but I later found out from another kid in the class that he had licked it before offering me the Cheeto!

I was livid.

Feeling a great injustice had just taken place, I went to our teacher. She was an older woman with a thick Irish accent, and after listening to what happened she simply said, "It is what it is."

At the time I didn't understand. How could she simply accept the situation and offer no solution?

It wasn't fair!

A New Perspective

Now at 30, after having owned a business for over 5 years, I use the phrase a lot.

Over the years I've realized that there are a lot of things that are outside of our control. We do our bests to account for every possibility and work our arses off, but sometimes, it's still not enough and it doesn't go our way.

It's kind of freeing in a way because it gives you permission to stop worrying.

Life often seems to have a way of throwing curve balls at you, and as my husband reminds me, worrying about something twice doesn't do you any favors, it just makes you more tired.

In the end, It is what it is.

5 Alternatives to Stressing Out About Something You Can't Control

  1. Change your environment - go for a walk, exercise, or just get outside. Sometimes a change in your environment is just what you need to reframe your mind and reset.

  2. Take a nap - even if you can't fall asleep, sometimes taking a little lie down to decompress in a dark, quiet space can help you recharge & feel more relaxed.

  3. Make some time for you - whether it's yoga, a hot bath, or something that you know relaxes you, this is a great way to take your mind off things for a bit.

  4. Write it down - sometimes when I'm feeling overwhelmed writing it down on paper puts it into perspective. If you can't pinpoint what exactly is stressing you out, write down what you're grateful for.

  5. Watch something funny and laugh - laughter is a great way to reduce your stress and improve your mood. Our mini pig, Pickles, always finds a way to crack me up, so sometimes I just sit out on the deck with him & give him a belly rub!

If It Is Something You Can Control

Sometimes we can do something about what's stressing us out, even if 'it is what it is.'

If this is the case, here are a few ideas to help you deal with the situation:

  • Consider if you can create a new policy to prevent future situations like this

  • Revisit your work/life balance - are you overworking yourself and part of why you're feeling this way is because you're pushing yourself too much?

  • Make a list of actionable steps you can take - for more on taking large tasks and breaking them into small pieces, read this!

  • Eat the frog & do it! - this concept of doing the big thing that scares you or that you've been putting off first helps to get it out of the way first & start your day feeling satisfied that it has already been tackled.

Reframing Your Mindset

So much of what we do as business owners centers around mindset. How we view things around us is our reality, and it can impact our employees, clients and vision for the business.

Once you've acknowledged the reality of circumstance by saying 'it is what it is,' you can decide what you'd like to do about it.

Stressing about it won't change the situation, but action will!


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