Punching Worry In The Face – Day 3

Punching Worry In The Face - Day 3

Punching Worry In The Face – Day 3

Punching Worry In The Face-Day 3

It’s day three of punching worry in the face.

How are you doing?

Have you checked out Day 1 and Day 2?

Hope so.

This is about taking small but significant steps towards our goal of beating back worry and living more in the moment, bringing our best game and making room to DREAM bigger, THINK better and DO more of the things we’re put on the planet to do.  Amen?

The 3 Buckets… (continued)

Yesterday, we asked ourselves about what we can put in our “Control” bucket.

Today… we’re going to give some thought to those remaining two buckets.

The “INFLUENCE” bucket and the “LET IT GO” bucket.Punching Worry In The Face - Day 3

As you think about those buckets… what are a few things that could go in each?

My podcast…

As I mentioned in my podcast, I had to apply the 3 buckets to the launch of the podcast itself.

The list of things that could go into my “control” bucket was pretty short.  I could control my content, I could control my “to-do” list.  I could control my own attitude and focus.  BUT… I couldn’t control whether people would enjoy it… whether people would share it with friends… or whether it would find an audience.

Could I influence those things?  Sure.

I could try to influence things by bringing my best game, by reaching out and asking for help and by surrounding myself with good people to help me to pull it off.  But in the end, I had to “let it go” with the actual results.  Yup.  I just had to let it fly.  (Although in the past it was the things that needed to go in the “let it go” bucket that stopped me in my tracks!  Amen?)


Maybe you’re a parent. Ahhhhh yes.

The 3 buckets and parenting.

The list of things that can go in your “control” bucket is relatively short.  Sure… when the kiddos are younger, you can “control” their schedule, their TV time or when they go to bed.  BUT as they get older, the list of things you can actually control gets shorter and shorter.

You can control things like your approach.  You can do your best to control your attitude.  You can control your willingness to engage and listen.

BUT it’s more about what goes into the “Influence” bucket and the “Let it Go” bucket.

I’ll never forget when I walked a group of executives through the 3 buckets concept in some leadership training I was facilitating.  Initially we’d talked about applying the 3 buckets to management, but then the conversation turned to families and relationships.  At the break a well-dressed executive approached me.  She said, “Okay, I have to admit something.”  I replied, “What’s that?”  She continued, “As much as I hate to say it, I realize now that I need to put my teenage son’s hair in the “Let It Go” bucket.”  I didn’t say anything but I know I smiled and my eyebrows rose which must have signaled that I understood.

She said, “It’s not really even a big deal. It’s just something that got under my skin and it’s caused some division.  I’m guessing the minute I ‘let it go,’ it will probably deescalate the whole thing anyway.”

Again, I didn’t say anything.  I just listened.

She continued, “Yes.  That’s what I need to do.  Thanks.  Good stuff.”

She didn’t wait for a response from me.  She just turned and walked away.

I smiled as I envisioned the surprise her son’s face that night as he heard about his mom’s decision to “let it go.”


Obviously, these three buckets can also apply to how and where we lead.

Again, the same rules apply.

When we lead, the list of things we can “control” is relatively short.  The list of  things we can influence is longer.  And no matter how offensive it might be, the list of things we might need to “let go of” can be pretty long too.

Now, does this mean that we need to “let go” of excellence?  Does it mean we need to give up on delivering great work?  Nope.  It doesn’t.  BUT these buckets can help to keep things in perspective.

For example, we do a lot of work with organizations with infusing more of a coaching and mentoring approach in their leadership DNA.  We give leaders strategies for drawing out people’s best work by cultivating more autonomy and engagement.  It can be AMAZING to see what can happen within a team when a leader really coaches their team members to be at their best.

BUT honestly, it can also be a little “offensive.”


Well the 3 buckets help to explain why.

Let me give you an example.

Often a manager will want to coach a team member to tackle a new project.  Through coaching and mentoring that person, the leader can encourage them to try some new things.  So the leader is CONTROLLING their own approach and being intentional about coaching the person.  Within that they try to give the person some autonomy to really run with it.

BUT then it happens.

As the team member starts to spread their wings and fly with the project, they start to do something differently than the manager would have done it.  (Ever felt that?  Yeah me too.)  That’s when the leader has to decide… what to control, what to influence and what to let go.

I’ll never forget a situation when this happened to me.  I was working with one of my own team members.  I was wanting to give him more autonomy and inspire him to take more ownership over a project.  Things were going well, but then when I asked for an update on the project he informed me of the direction he wanted to take.  Immediately his new direction “pinged” me, because it wasn’t the way I would have done it.  But before I shut him down, I quickly thought of the 3 buckets.  I remembered that this was a relatively low risk project and even if it didn’t go well, (AKA: The project crashed and burned a horrible death) it wouldn’t have much of an impact.  Plus, I thought that if it didn’t go well, that would be a good lesson for this team member too.  So I “controlled” my response.  I chose to “influence” the project by offering a few quick thoughts, but then I “let go” of the approach and let him run with it.

Guess what happened?

Not only did the project work out… but it was a break through success!  (Yeah… THAT was kind of offensive!!!)

BUT, because I “let go” of his approach, he surpassed the results we were trying to achieve.  He also uncovered a new way to approach this problem that I’d been blind to.  AND this team member felt more empowered and more capable when the next project came around.

So I was REALLY glad I’d “let it go” on his approach.

So… how about you?


I’d love for you to take two to three minutes to think about a few things that you want to be intentional about “Influencing.”




Let It Go

Then take two to three minutes to write down a few things that you want to be intentional about “letting go.”  (Is it a co-worker’s attitude, the weather, the results of that test, your kid’s choice of hair color?)





Think about it and write some down.

Then comment and let us know one thing you came up with… whether it’s something you want to influence or something you need to let go… let us know.  I’d love to hear from you on this.

Okay… let’s do this!

See you tomorrow,



PS – Did you know you could win a FREE copy of my book IGNITE or even a “DREAM.TH1NK.DO.” Coaching Package with me?

Just leave a review for the DREAM.THINK.DO. podcast on itunes!  Click here to find out more.





  • Robyn Byrd
    Posted at 17:23h, 24 January Reply

    I need to let go of the fear of moving forward with my current big dream. Just put the fear aside, look at all the options and then make the best decision and choice that will be right for me. Its a huge step, way outside my comfort zone and scary as all get out; See-fear….I just need to let it go. If I don’t I’m never going to be able to do what I’ve been dreaming of for the past few years…..

  • jennifer
    Posted at 13:29h, 24 January Reply

    The snowblower. I need to let it go. My husband leaves this afternoon for Georgia. Last time he went on a week long trip, it snowed 5 inches. The snowblower was broken. Much frantic shoveling ensued! I asked him to please make sure the snowblower was fixed before today’s trip. He has been extremely busy and keeps forgettig to do it. I underatand. So I need to let it go. There is only a predicted inch of snow in the forecast. No big deal!

  • Devin Hacker
    Posted at 00:10h, 29 January Reply

    I need to let go of the fact that not everyone is as curious as me, or dreams as big as me or wants to be my friend, and that’s okay. It says nothing about the kind of person I am. I need to meet people where they’re at not.

  • Katina Ricd
    Posted at 21:30h, 09 March Reply

    Hey Mitch! loved this and shared it with my coworkers! Wrote about it too: http://katinajrice.com/3-buckets-to-a-better-week/

    • Mitch Matthews
      Posted at 21:41h, 09 March Reply

      Wow. Thanks so much Katrina! I appreciate the kind words and the shout out! Keep up the great work!

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