To Be Prepared for Anything, You Have to Make Peace With Not Being in Control

Life is full of “risky” or all-new-territory decisions and moves. While these opportunities may be terrifying, forward motion may occasionally require stepping out of our comfort zones. Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member and founder of ASPire, shares how she’s tackled “risky” decisions and moves in her life and how she discovered one crucial secret for successful action in those times: accepting she has no control.

Don’t have time to read this blog? Listen to it below!

To date, what has been the scariest, “riskiest” move you’ve made as a professional?  

When I think back on my career, it was basically a series of unknown, risky opportunities where failure was a real possibility. For example moving from operations to sales leadership—me, sales? A person that when she had 4H candy to sell, all my relatives came to the rescue. Another risky move was accepting a CEO role in an industry and market in which I had no experience.

Who did you involve in that move and why?

I prayed and turned to the Bible, seeking wisdom, guidance, and insight and insuring (to the extent I could) that I was in alignment with His will. My husband, Glen, has and will be with me every step of the way. He is honest and always makes me ‘check my oil’ before moving into new opportunities. My family, dear friends, and mentors always seem to have the right questions and hold me accountable for answering them honestly.

Is it easy for you to “give up the reins” in a situation that is unfamiliar territory for you?

I learned painfully a long time ago that 51% of being smart is knowing what I DON’T know, admitting it, and then finding experts that do know. It’s important to not be afraid of saying, ‘I don’t know…let’s find out together.’ And ‘giving up the reins’ is part of our spiritual journey as well. When we deeply understand we aren’t in total control, our prayers and conversations with God become integrated into all we do throughout our day.

What is the best way someone can prepare themselves for life’s unknowns?

Everyone has to know that life is filled with unknowns. As much as we think we KNOW, we do not control tomorrow and beyond. That is where our faith is essential. If I didn’t seize the unknowns and move forward in faith, I would have missed so much. Is it scary? Is there a chance of failure? Of course. But what would be worse? Never trying? Or failing and taking the lessons learned and moving forward? We (Glen and I) chose the unknown and risky path.

Any closing thoughts?

You don’t have to know everything before stepping into new opportunities and roles and the unknown. Seek council from the Lord, those who love you unconditionally, mentors, and those that have been in your position before. This is why 4word is so important in offering mentoring, information, and access to other aspirational and influential Christian women who you can move through life with you personally, professionally, and spiritually.

Meet Patricia Asp, 4word Board Member, Principal and Founder of ASPire. After witnessing the dramatic weakening of core values of great companies during successions, mergers, acquisitions and rapid growth, Pat launched ASPire as a commitment to the strategic preservation of the goodness of companies and organizations. Using two proven methodologies for measurement and accountability, ASPire’s clients align Purpose and Culture and business strategy for growth and sustainability.  

Patricia Asp is a senior Transformation and Operating executive with over 25 years of diverse business experience in Fortune 500 and small privately held companies in the service, education, healthcare and photography industries. Her specialties include business turnarounds, strategic planning, culture and values sustainability, and multiple location/distributed organizational models with emphasis on performance and process improvement. Throughout her career she has held operations, sales, activations, finance, human resources, and business transformation positions, including CEO, COO and President of companies. Each role required significant strategic redirection and performance improvement.