7 Signs Other People Are In Control Of Your Life. And 3 Cures To Fix It

How to take back control of your life and get what you want.

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We aren’t talking about an alien race swooping in, using mind melding tactics by stealth to take over the world. I’m talking about 7 signs that you aren’t doing what you want or getting the results you want because other people have more control over you than you do.

Whenever this becomes obvious in a coaching session the client is usually a cross between dumbfounded, fuming and shouting “Eureka!” all at the same time. The reason for this is because;

- They usually can’t quite get their heads around the fact that they let this happen.

- The realisation that they gave their power away to other people.

- And while we like to believe those around us have our best interests at heart, sometimes they don’t even realise they are damaging your success and happiness because they are blindsided by their own beliefs, mindset and emotions. Scary right?

So let’s explore the signs that someone else is in charge of you and how to stop it from happening again.

If you notice any of these in your life then you may not be as in charge as you think you are;

- You feel like you lack confidence.

- You feel trapped and stuck in a rut.

- You feel unhappy but you can’t work out why.

- You never seem to find the words until you’ve walked away from a conversation.

- You don’t push yourself as hard as you think you should to get what you want.

- You feel an overpowering need to check social media.

- You find yourself doing things you don’t want to.

There are a lot more examples I could give but you get the idea. And you probably have a sneaky suspicion that someone else is at the helm more than you already, even if you haven’t worked out who, why or how, so what can you do about it?

Feel it 




Do you feel like you are flying high, winning and in a feel good film when everything works out fabulously?

If not chances are you aren't getting the results in your personal and professional life you'd like to.

What do you notice about the way you feel at this very second in time?

  • Happy?
  • Frustrated?
  • Sad?
  • Angry?
  • Confused?
  • Mixed up?
  • Upset?
  • Antagonised?
  • Unappreciated?
  • Under performing?

Okay, so we’ve mixed up emotions and results here, but that doesn’t matter. This is about the words that matter to you. And if you feel anything negative let’s work on a deeper level.

Find it


When you notice how you are feeling if I was coaching you, we would then start to explore what that meant. Therefore, considering the answers you gave above now ask yourself these questions;

  • Are there certain situations where you feel this feeling happens more often?
  • Are there certain people that can instigate negative emotions in you?
  • What happens when you feel like this? (When answering this question you want to look for the four elements of fear (my speciality!) Feeling, Emotion, Action and Results = FEAR.

From each of those questions you can ask the great opener to thought “And what do you feel that means?” (Answering this once is usually not enough. Ask it again and again to really hone in to the underlining issues impacting on you.)

These questions enable you to appreciate how something impacts on you. For example, if you feel unappreciated how does that impact on your life?

You may answer “It makes me feel like I should give up because no one is paying attention anyway.”

This is all about the questions so keep going with “And what does that make you feel like?” (You can ask yourself a different probing exploratory question) and you may answer “It makes me act like I don’t care and I probably stop trying so hard.”

And a good question to ask as you go deeper is “And what results do you feel you get as a result?”

As I like to tell clients you can’t fix something you can’t find. So take the time to dig deeper.

Fight it



When you’ve understood how you feel and how it impacts on you, then you need to look at how to fight it.

Before we do that, here are a few things I’d like to share as a mentor who has helped thousands to overcome the impact of other people on their personal and professional success and happiness;

  • It is not always your fault.
  • Berating yourself and moaning at your perceived inadequacies will not make it any better.
  • Your past does not define your future.
  • If you had stood up for yourself and attempted to speak up before without the right tool kit in place it could have made things even worse.
  • No matter how bad it feels, you’ve already proof that you can achieve – whether you like it or not.

The 3rd cure to overcoming other people being in charge of you and your life is broken down into 5 key elements.

What do you want

One of the reasons we sway around like a leaf in the breeze getting pummelled and shoved into many things is because we don’t have a strong enough compass. If you know what you want and feel it with every fibre of your being then no one can knock you off course unless you really want them to.

Why do you want it

It’s not enough to know what you want. I will spend at least 10 minutes working out why someone wants what they say they want. They will need to share eloquently/succinctly/passionately (your choice of word, but the point is they will be able to readily explain why this is so important). 

Think of a loved one right now. Would you tolerate someone being unkind or cruel to them? 


Why not? 

Because you live to be with them and see them smile and laugh and know they are happy and safe? That level of deep-rooted passion for the thing in question is what you are looking to find. So that when you face tough days (and we all do) you will have an indisputable determination and dedication to keep going.

What challenges may you face

If you know other people impact on you. What will you do to stop them? I had a client recently who told me how it wasn’t their fault that people were idiots. It was really challenging for my client to appreciate that their perception of reality that said that people were idiots because they didn’t do what my client felt they should, was not in fact the issue. It was my clients interpretation of others behaviour and attitudes. You can’t control other people, but you can control your attitude and mindset to them.

Challenge yourself now and ask yourself what beliefs do you hold that you feel could challenge your ability to take back your power,

For instance;

  • Do you believe other people know more than you?
  • Do you believe that the boss should be followed regardless?
  • Do you feel the need for exterior reinforcement that what you are doing is the right thing to do?
  • Do you believe it is wrong to speak a different opinion to the popular viewpoint?
  • Do you feel like you are an over worry?
  • Do you take a new direction when things don’t work straight away?
  • Do you care too much about what other people think?

All of these are signs that you can challenge now. And to do that we need to look at possibly the most important thing I would love to be able to give to every human on the planet. Confidence.

Stand up for yourself

When I wrote Fight the Fear I asked people for their views on confidence and many confused confidence with arrogance. There is a very fine line between the two however most people step so far back from the confidence cliff they are still at the bottom of the hill lacking in self belief and being pushed around by everyone else on the planet. To do anything that I suggest in this article the first thing you need to do is consider how confident are you?

  • Could you stand up for yourself if you had to?
  • Could you defend a view point?
  • Speak up when someone was being insulted or treated unfairly?
  • Could you speak up even if you feared the outcome?

Internal confidence is different to external confidence and people will often tell me “I’m confident here, but not here” that’s a give away that their confidence needs a boost. A truly confident person may feel less confident at times however ultimately they have a self efficacy that says no matter what I trust that I can get there. The quickest way to fix a lack of confidence is to look for the deficit between head and heart. Your head knows the facts but your heart will try to override those facts with fears and doubts. Concentrate on the facts of what you’ve achieved and your heart quickly catches up. (In my book there is a whole chapter that shares exercises and tools to accompany this idea.)

How will you communicate

In it’s simplest form, know when to speak up and when to shut up. Remember you can’t stop people from thinking, behaving or acting the way they do, however you can change the way you view it. Sometimes that will mean you will speak your piece and other times it will mean your internal confidence will kick in and you find yourself thinking “this is not a battle I need to be involved in”. 

If you worry about how to communicate, practice when you are relaxed (in the bath, before you wake up properly, brushing your teeth, etc) what you could say to that person. Don’t berate yourself if you don’t’ sound like an eloquent Shakespearean god of language. As with all forms of communication it relies on practice. Practice how you want to walk away from that conversation;

  • What result do you want to get?
  • How do you want them to feel?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • What would you like to see in the future?
  • How would you like them to perceive you?

Knowing the answers to these questions will help you define your way of communicating.

This is not an easy take away from this article, however it is nevertheless true, ultimately no one can have control over you unless you let them. I read stories about prisoners of war who faced horrific experiences, ones I hope we would never see again on this planet and even they said when asked "how did you survive that!" "They may control what my body was allowed to do, but they were never getting control of my mind."

It is your mind, your right to control it, and that will control the world you live in and mould for yourself. Let me know how you get on. I'm on many social platforms and I love to hear your stories of success and overcoming adversity. 

think positive

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