On my first day in Venice, Italy, a half hour walk to a specific destination took my cousin and me over two hours even though we had two different maps. Street and river names are written on the corner of buildings but many buildings have no names. I soon realized that Venice was going to demand my full attention and teach me some valuable lessons.

On the last day of our four day visit, we set off with a detailed map of the city and some general directions from the person at the front desk of our hotel. (We hoped to find a specific water bus that would take us to an outer island.) He told us that it was a 15 minute walk but it would take us an hour because we would get lost. We decided to rely on the map to guide our every step. However, when we asked a few local people to point to our location on the map, they could not find it.

Once we realized that the map approach would not work, we began asking people along the way to point us in the right direction toward the water bus stop. A man standing at his second story window saw our hesitation at one intersection and without a word pointed to a specific alley. Five minutes later we found the bus stop. It only took us 30 minutes.

We went from trying to be in control to “going with the flow.” The flow in Venice meant that we asked for help from others and used our intuition to find our way. Instead of sticking to our plan or giving up, we discovered what worked and finally found the groove for walking the “streets” of Venice.

Do you find yourself in situations where your plans or actions are not working? My Venice experience taught me a few things about moving from being in control to finding the flow:

Become Aware: When you are feeling frustrated, angry or fearful because your plan isn’t working, recognize that something needs to change. As you open your mind to possibilities, alternative options will present themselves or your own insights will generate them.

Accept Change: Your judgments, beliefs or expectations may pull you out of the natural flow of what works in any situation. These mental rules become roadblocks and limit your ability to read the external signs, hear your inner voice and accomplish the results you want.

Take Action: Let go of what is not working and discover what works. By trusting the process and taking the appropriate action, you will accomplish your desired outcome with ease.

When your plans and actions are ineffective, you can dig in your heels, retreat or change. At those stressful times, I encourage you to think outside the box, become aware of your options, be willing to change, and trust yourself and the process. I wish I could have gotten my Venice insight three days sooner, but I think I will be more aware the next time life or work demands that I stop struggling to have it my way and recognize what works.

As you take your hands off the steering wheel of control, you allow yourself to “go with the flow.” You may even learn some valuable life lessons that will turn you into a very wise and successful person.

Author's Bio: 

Sandra Miniere, M.Ed., offers life and executive leadership coaching and Emotional Freedom Techniques consultations in person and on the telephone. She is an author and speaker. She also gives workshops on a variety of motivational and integrative wellness topics. A former holistic mental health counselor, she has been helping people transform themselves and their lives for over 30 years. In her book, A Lighter Side to Cancer - From Wake-up Call to Radiant Wellness, she shares her uplifting and empowering adventure through breast cancer fourteen years ago.