Trying to take control when it feels like your life is like the roll of the dice.

The illusion of control. Photo taken by B Babcock 2015.

Figuring out how to take control during times of change can be tough when the change is not planned or welcomed. Like dealing with a challenging health issue, or a relationship breakdown, redundancy, etc. There is so much to deal with when that kind of change happens. Plus there’s how you feel about it too.

This presentation is about the three skills you need to take control during times of such a change. The focus is on how you take control of your health issue. But it can easily apply to other kinds of change like the ones mentioned above.

I delivered this presentation at the UK Transverse Myelitis Society’s conference in 2011. The audience included people living with Transverse Myelitis* (TM) and other related conditions like ADEM and NMO. These are auto-immune neurological conditions whose onset can be quick, the impact life changing and many times the cause is unknown.

To prepare for this presentation, I spoke to several people with TM about how they learned to take control and live with the impact of the condition. I chose the three key themes themes in what they said and linked them with tips and techniques people could immediately start applying in their lives to help them take control.

Trying to take control when it feels like your life is like the roll of the dice.

The three skills you need to take control

  1. Cycle of change and acceptance** – Understanding the cycle you go through during periods of change so you can identify where you’re currently at.
  2. Knowing what is in your control and what isn’t *** – This will help you identify what to take control of and what you are unable to so you know what to let go of. This ensures you don’t waste precious energy.
  3. How to set achievable goals – This will help you set small actions that will move you forward to where you want to get to.

These three skills you need to take control apply to anyone, not just people living with challenging health issues. So have a look and listen. You might want a cup of tea, hot chocolate or something else to hand as the presentation is 25 minutes. Or you may want to watch some of the presentation, take a break and come back to it.

Enjoy and thanks for reading, watching and listening.


P.S. My thinking regarding acceptance of a condition has shifted since I delivered this presentation. But that is for a future blog post.

© Copyright Barbara Babcock 2013


* For more information about Transverse Myelitis, go to

** The ‘change curve’ which I refer to in the presentation is based on the work of Kubler-Ross, On Death & Dying.

*** This section of the presentation is based on Stephen Covey’s spheres of direct control, influence and concern, which is from his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I like this book as it is like a guide to key life skills.

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