“Resist the desire to control everything, and you will open yourself up to possibilities.” — Misti Burmeister

I can be a know-it-all – at least on occasion. Hard to imagine, right? But alas, it happens, particularly in high-stress situations. Poor Reggie, the chief mover who helped me relocate from the fifth to the second floor of my apartment building, learned this about me pretty quickly.

While looking for a house to buy, I had let my lease expire, which meant I had to move into a much smaller apartment on a short-term lease. Paying more for less space already had me feeling edgy on moving day. When the elevator broke, I wasn’t sure if I should laugh hysterically or frantically try to control everything.

In the end, I did a little of both. Poor Reggie!

Because my building sits on a steep hill, some elevators don’t go to all floors. In addition, the hallways are literally two-and-a-half blocks long. Fortunately, the building manager hired movers to help.

The morning of the apartment swap, Reggie showed up just a few minutes past eight … alone.

“I hope you have a larger crew coming,” I told him. “We have heavy stuff to get down all those stairs.”

“What do you mean?” Reggie asked. “There are three elevators in this building.”

Rather than try and convince him, I took him to all three elevators and found myself repeating several times, “I hope your crew can carry my stuff down three flights of stairs.”

Every time I repeated that, Reggie’s face contorted. I swear I could hear him thinking, There’s no way we’re taking your stuff down those stairs!

Eventually, Reggie took my key fob, which granted him access to the building, and started walking towards his truck.

Nearly 40 minutes later, when his rather-scrawny crew showed up, I started to panic. My biceps were bigger than their quads! I didn’t see how these guys could possibly get my furniture down all those stairs. And I was starting to think Reggie had abandoned ship.

When Reggie finally returned, he had devised a brilliant plan! They could take our stuff down the long hallway, load it onto his truck, drive it down the hill to the second floor, and unload.

I was baffled and humbled. I honestly thought we had exhausted every possible solution, and my furniture had to go down those stairs.

As I reflected on the situation, I found myself wondering how many times I have been so sure I had the right answer that I couldn’t see other options. Then I thought about the many leaders who honestly believe their way is the best way or even the only way, when they might discover a better option if they’d just listen to the options.

Lesson learned: Resist my desire to control everything, and open myself up to possibilities.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had a brilliant idea but couldn’t get someone to listen? Or have you had a problem that seemed complicated until someone helped you see the simple solution?

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across GenerationsHidden Heroes and Power Suck.

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