I’ve had to work hard at accepting things for the way they are and not the way I think they should be. I am far from a master, but I am so far from where I was 20 years ago. What has worked for me is…

1. Using my internal mantra, “It is what it is.” I use this so often that Mila is parroting it back to me. What makes me smile is that she even uses it in the correct context, and she is only four! I am pleased that I am setting her up for happiness 😊.

2. Separating what I can control from what I can’t. Right now, I should be in Mauritius with my family for a much needed break. Comair went into liquidation, so our holiday fell apart… [enter the above mantra]. Because I have become lightning fast over the years at mentally segmenting what I can and can’t control, it is easier to stop ruminating and rather spend my energy…

3. Taking action on what I can control (even when I don’t feel like it). Sticking with above example, I worked with our awesome travel agent to try and get us on other suitable flights, but it was not to be. Calling Megan and reviewing alternative options was in my control. Getting the exact flights that we needed was not. In really intense situations, I might need to journal about the situation and my feelings involved to let go or be persistent when I need to take action in the face of very difficult circumstances. What also helps is…

4. Going to Plan B quickly where possible. I often have a plan B, C, D and E in my mind in advance. Why? Because it stops me getting too attached to one internal mental picture of the outcome. This makes accepting when things don’t match my picture much easier because I wasn’t too attached to one mental picture in the first place. It’s a great strategy for combatting perfectionism… don’t have one perfect picture only. Admittedly, I had one picture in my head of our Mauritius holiday. Well, there were some variations, I had pictured Mila miserable on the flight and possibly tired and moaning when we arrived (just so my internal picture was not too romantic and unrealistic) but all my pictures were all in Mauritius. To cut to the end of the story… We are now in Ballito in Durban and loving the winter break together. It’s a very different holiday from the one we had planned. Mila cried quite a bit when I had to break the news but she quickly said… It is what it is mommy and we will still have so much fun in Ballito… Yes! We will!

What helps you to surrender and accept what is? Please share on my social media your thoughts on my Key Steps or your own so we can grow together and… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’ 


NOTE: The information in my blog may be freely shared and re-used in any online or offline publication, provided it is accompanied by the following credit line: This was written by Dr Sharon King Gabrielides, and originally appeared in her free weekly  ‘Key Steps Food for Thought Blog’ available on the Key Steps website.

Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

About Dr Sharon King Gabrielides

Sharon is a dynamic facilitator, speaker and executive coach with over 25 years’ experience in leadership development and organisational transformation. Her PhD thesis contributed a framework for holistic and sustainable leadership development that was published by Rutgers University in the USA. She is faculty of numerous business schools and highly sought-after by leading corporates because she works hand-in-hand with them to create sustainable results and long-term success. In 2020, Sharon was inducted into the Educators Hall of Fame, which is a lifetime achievement award, recognising excellence and her contribution to the field.

Sharon is one of only three women in South Africa to have achieved the title of
Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) – the Oscar of the speaking industry. She is also a COMENSA Master Practitioner (CMP), a qualified Modern Classroom Certified Trainer (MCCT™) and an accredited Global Virtual Speaker. Sharon is also a registered Education, Training and Development Practitioner (ETDP), holds an Honours degree in Psychology and practices as an NLP master practitioner.

Most important to Sharon is that she has become known for her genuinely caring manner, practical and transformational approach, and for providing valuable tools and that allow people to take Key Steps to really… ‘be the difference that makes the difference.’