We all like to know how things will turn out. Our brains crave certainty, and because of this we often believe that if we can control things, we can dictate how they will turn out. But there is a better way, especially when it comes to trying to control other people.
We can influence others by how we show up around them, and it is far more powerful (and likely to get us the results we actually want) than trying to control them.
In this episode, we’ll talk about the difference (sometimes subtle) between control and influence, and how to tell how you are showing up for those around you. You’ll understand why influence is so much more powerful than control, and how you can become a more influential person in all of your relationships.
I’m Andrea Giles, and you’re listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast,
episode number 54, Influence Versus Control.
Hello and welcome to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast where courageous
women learn not only to heal from their spouse’s betrayal, but to become
the boldest, truest, most decisive and confident versions of themselves
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Andrea Giles. Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
Hey everybody. I am coming at you from a hotel room today. I have been very
busy lately helping my daughter get packed and moved out, my 18-year-old,
and preparing to go to a training, and taking care of various things for
kids, and wanted to get this recorded to get it out to you on time. Before
I dive in, I want to say thank you to those of you who have gone in and
left reviews. I really, really appreciate it. We’re now over a hundred.
Thank you. It’s so awesome to see. I love hearing from you. So thank you.
Also, I have to note that later this week is the one year anniversary of
the release of this podcast. So I just wanted to say one more time, thank
you, thank you, thank you for being here. Thank you for listening. Thank
you for sharing. Thank you for the love and support and the wonderful
feedback. I just love you and I’m grateful that you’re here.
Today we’re going to talk about influence versus control. This is something
I find myself talking about a lot in my coaching with my clients. When my
clients come to work with me, one of the first things we do is we start
carving out what they want. Many of them have not thought about that for a
really long time and so it feels a little uncomfortable. We dive into what
they want if they could set down what other people think, set down what
they think they’re deserving of and really answer the question, what do you
Now, something that we run into often is when clients want things that
involve trying to control another person. So I want my husband to
dot-dot-dot. I want my husband to not do-dot-dot. What I say to them is
that we cannot put somebody else’s behaviors and things like that in our
own results. What I mean by that is we cannot control what other people do.
We can influence what other people do, but we cannot control it. So for us
to say, I want my husband to stop this or to do this, we’re trying to
control their behavior so that we can feel better. The problem is it never
works. You can’t control anybody, especially people who don’t want to be
controlled, which is most of us.
The thing is most of us often do this. We try to control the things around
us to protect ourselves. It is a natural instinct. It’s a natural thing. We
want to know how things are going to end, how things are going to be okay.
You’ve heard me say before that we all desire certainty. We want to know.
The thing that is so much more powerful than trying to control outcomes
around other people is learning how to use your own mind to influence the
outcome, to influence the people around you. I’m going to give you some
examples of what this looks like, and I want you to listen and see if there
are areas that you maybe are trying to control, where you can maybe loosen
the reigns a little bit and where you have the opportunity to have a strong
Again, when I try to help my clients decide what they want, they often want
to change the behavior of their spouse. They will, for example, want their
spouse to get off of all social media so that they can feel better. That’s
one example. They think that if their spouse will get off of social media,
which is in some cases where their spouse got involved with the other
people or person, that they could be happy and that they could trust their
spouse. The problem with this, you could probably hear it, is that they’re
wanting to, again, control the outcome of their spouse. They’re wanting to
say, “If he does this, then I get to feel this way.” Really, first of all,
there is no guarantee that we’re going to feel a certain way. That’s on us.
Nobody else has that power. So they could get off social media, and then
our brain could be like, “Ooh, I wonder where else he’s communicating with
people.” We’ll find some other thing to be worried about if we don’t teach
our brains otherwise.
Like I said, when trust has been broken, we really, really want to know
that we’re not going to get burned again, and so it makes perfect sense. It
makes perfect sense. We want to know that it’s going to be okay. Again,
even if the person is checking those boxes and doing the things that we
want them to, we still tend to wonder if they actually want to make those
choices, if they are feeling pushed into it, or if they’re feeling
resentful towards us, because of those things. So often it doesn’t even
have the results we want, and it doesn’t create trust. If we are forcing
this thing and then kind of questioning do they even want to do this or
not? Trust does not come from there.
Here’s another example. Sometimes we don’t say exactly how we feel about
things, because we’re trying to control how others feel. I can’t tell you
how many people that I’ve coached or worked with who simply do not bring
issues up. They just don’t bring them up. They don’t ask tough questions.
They don’t bring up tough issues around infidelity because they’re afraid
of their spouse’s response.
So in a way, they’re trying to control the feelings of the spouse, but
guess who else’s feelings they’re trying to manage? Their own, because
they’re afraid that if they say something that rocks the boat and the
spouse is maybe uncomfortable or upset, or when are you going to get over
it, when are you going to stop asking me, then they have to feel a feeling
which might not be very comfortable, and so they just shut down altogether
and just don’t bring things up. In reality, that’s not helping them either.
It’s not helping them move forward to just stuff it and not talk about it.
They’re trying to control the situation by not saying anything instead of
telling the truth, asking the questions that they want to ask and letting
the chips fall where they may. It’s another way to try to control the
environment. Yet, in reality, there’s still a dissatisfaction because they
know that they’re shoving things down. They know that they’re missing the
opportunity for real intimacy and connection.
Now, I want to give you a different example from the side of the person who
betrayed the spouse. This is something that I have seen. As I work with
people I hear the stories about their spouses and how they got involved and
how they’re handling things now. I want to tell you what control sounds
like, and I want to tell you what influence sounds like.
Control is where we withhold information, tell little bits and pieces of
truth to try to control what the spouse does. It means justifying leaving a
lot of things out to try to control the outcome and keep the spouse in the
marriage. It sounds like this; “I am going to leave these things out. I’m
going to not tell her these things because they would just hurt her and
there’s no reason for her to know.” It’s very much trying to control how
Now influence sounds like this; “I am going to tell her everything and I
understand that she may choose to leave, but I need to be honest and let
her choose. I have to just put it all out there and let her choose.” That
is influence. It’s influence because we’re laying it all out saying, “All
right, here it is. This is everything. I understand if you want to leave. I
understand if you don’t want to do this with me,” but in the end, this is
what creates trust. Even though it’s the hard things to say and the hard
things to hear, this is actually where real trust comes because the
betrayed person can feel the honesty in. Can say, “Okay, he’s laying it
out. He is saying to me you can leave. You don’t have to stay.”
The person can then choose what to do, obviously, but they’re going to be
influenced a lot more of what to do when they see the honesty from the
other person, where they see the other person earnestly working, earnestly
trying to make changes instead of kind of tiptoeing around the truth of all
the things that have happened to protect you from getting hurt. We’re
beyond that. We’re beyond protecting from getting hurt. What hurts more is
trying to be controlled. What hurts more is not actually being privy to the
information needed to make the best decision for yourself. That’s another
example of influence versus control.
I’ve been practicing this a lot in my own life. I have noticed areas where
I have tried to go in with control and it just doesn’t work in my marriage,
with my children, mostly on the home front. As you’ve probably learned from
me talking, I’m expecting a baby. We’re expecting a baby in December. As
the reality of that comes closer, I’m seeing the areas where I want to make
some changes as a family. In the past, I have come in with frustration,
with if I just show him how frustrated I am, then maybe they’ll decide that
they want to help more or whatever.
What I’m realizing is that that is not working, and I’ll tell you why.
Because I’m not showing up the way that I want to in those situations. I am
showing up trying to control, trying to manage, trying to get people on
board, and ultimately at the end of the day, I don’t like how I show up
sometimes in those situations. What I do like is when I show up from a
place of calm, from a place of power, a place of peaceful authority, where
I take responsibility for what I want, and I allow myself to feel the
discomfort of showing up in that way. What that looks like is holding
people accountable. It means speaking up more than I have.
I can’t control what other people do. I can control how I show up, how I
request, how I encourage, how I influence the people around me to step it
up and to rise to the occasion. I am not threatening them. I am not
manipulating them. I’m owning what I want. I’m really, really liking my
reasons for it, for the things that I want. Really backing myself up in
wanting what I want and inviting them to join me. Me showing up in this way
is far more effective than me just barking out orders and being annoyed and
arguing with them; I wish you guys would this and this and this, or being
the victim or the martyr. This is me saying my experience matters. “This is
what I want, and I’m asking you to step it up, and this is what I would
like,” and really owning it. They can say no. They can push back on it. But
in the end, I get to stand my ground and say what I want and give them the
opportunity to come along and go from there.
Control is more punitive. It’s coming from a very different place
emotionally. It can come from panic, fear, doubt, being desperate.
Influence, however, comes from a place of strength. It feels very, very
I’m going to ask a question. Can you think of someone in your life who has
had a great influence on you? Maybe a teacher. Maybe a coach. Maybe a
friend. Maybe some kind of leader in your life. Why did you want to be
around that person? What made that person special? Why did you want to
please that person?
When I was in high school, actually starting in eighth grade, I had a choir
director named David Pool. We all just called him Pool. Just Pool. We all
wanted to please Pool because we loved and respected him. Even back in
eighth grade, when I first was in his class, he had a high standard for us
and we wanted to meet it. He knew what we are capable of even in eighth
grade, and he expected us and invited us to raise our own selves to that
standard. He did not try to control us to make him look good, to pat his
own ego. He invited us to be excellent because he knew that we are capable
of it, and he brought it out in us by the way that he taught.
I remember as I got older, I moved away right before my junior year of high
school, but I had him my freshman year and sophomore year. Even though it
was a choir class, he would sit and talk with us. He would sit and read
poetry. He would share stories. He would invite us to become more. He would
invite us to tell the truth. He would invite us to speak, to share who we
were with him. In high school; how amazing to have a teacher see you in
high school. You can bet he had a lot of influence on a lot of people.
Several years later, when he retired, there was his final concert. I was
living across the country. I had a newborn baby. I figured it out and I
booked a ticket and I went to that final concert. All of the alumni got to
go up and sing. There were so many people there because he influenced so
many people. He did not control us. Yes, we won awards. We won state
competitions. We were very good, but it’s because he brought it out in us,
not because he needed us to look good for him. He wasn’t trying to control
us to pat his ego. He truly saw it in us and wanted to invite us into an
We can have that same kind of influence in our homes, in our relationships,
in our workplaces. We can be that same kind of powerful force. We are not
backing down from what we want. We are not backing down from our own
standard. We are not backing down from what is possible. We are showing up
in our own strengths and we are inviting people to join us.
So how do we do this? That’s such a great question. How? The biggest thing
is that we have to release ourselves from the outcome that we think should
be. Accepting what is, and then owning what we want. For example, if
somebody says, “I want a healthy marriage.” I’m all for that. I am all for
that. But sometimes what we do is we say, “I want a healthy marriage and I
want him to do this and this and this so we can have a healthy marriage.”
That’s controlling the outcome. We don’t know exactly what that’s going to
look like. We’re holding a standard. This is what I want. This is what I
want my relationship to feel like, to look like, to be like, and then kind
of sending it out and letting things start to work for you, instead of
trying to control every little thing that happens.
Sometimes we get that healthy marriage with the person we’re married with.
Sometimes that happens. I wanted a healthy marriage too in my first
marriage. I really did. I wanted a healthy marriage. I have a healthy
marriage now, but it’s not with the same person that I thought it was going
to be. I had to release myself from that outcome and let things happen way
out, and they did play out. You can influence the way that somebody else
shows up by being the best version of you. You can want the things that you
want, but we’re inviting them. They have to be willing to come along. We’re
influencing them by asking for the things we want by setting boundaries
around what we are okay with and what we’re not okay with.
The greatest way to influence other people, to encourage other people to
come along is by not trying to control who they are or how they are, but
controlling who you are and how you are and how you show up. So if we find
ourselves in these situations where we’re kind of in that punitive role of
monitoring every little thing and checking up on every little thing, that
kind of role, first of all, how does that feel in your body? What does it
feel like? Does it feel like love? Do you like your reasons for it? Is it
working? Why or why not? How is the other person responding? How is it
growing your relationship?
Now we can set the standard. This is what I’m okay with. This is what I’m
not okay with. This is my boundary. This is what happens if that boundary
is crossed. And then you step away and you see what happens. You see what
happens. And guess what? Oftentimes they decide to come along. Sometimes
they won’t. But that is how you invite people to come is by setting those
boundaries, saying what you want, owning what you want, showing up in the
way that you want and inviting them to come along. They may or may not, but
that is how you have influence. That is how you influence the situation.
Now to wrap this up, I’m trying to sum this up in a way to show the power
of what I have witnessed around this. I have coached many people at this
point, and I always am my own first coach. I coach myself first. I can’t
coach other people, if I can’t coach my own brain. What I have learned is
that we can’t control other people, but the surest way to get what we want
is by really becoming who we want to be. The more we are who we want to be,
we can’t control people, but if we could, that’s how you do it. It is
powerful. We can’t control them, but if we could, that’s how you do it.
That’s how is by being the best version of you, by living your life with
integrity and who you want to be. It is so powerful.
I can’t tell you how many times I have worked on changing my own thoughts
about something, done the work to really change my own thoughts, to manage
my own mind, to show up the way that I want to, that feels like love to me,
and then stepping back and seeing what happens. And without fail, it’s so
amazing, without fail it’s almost like I’m controlling the people around
me. They show up. They try harder. They want to please. They want to
participate. It’s really, really powerful. That is not actually coming from
a place of control; it’s coming from a place of controlling myself,
managing my mind, taking responsibility, taking ownership for who I want to
be in the world and truly extending an invitation, allowing people to come
Who do you want to invite to come with you and how are you going to do it?
I encourage you to take a hard look at how you’re showing up. Are you
trying to control the people around you or are you trying to influence
them? It may feel like a subtle difference, but it makes all the difference
in how you bring people in with you, to cooperate, to truly get what you
That’s what I’ve got for you today. I hope you all are doing well and I
will see you next time. Thanks so much.
Thank you for listening to the Heal From Infidelity Podcast. If you would
like to be kept in the know about upcoming free classes, new podcast
episodes, and other ways of working with me, go subscribe to my weekly
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it’s andreagiles.com/lies-about-infidelity/. I will see you next time.