Last summer, my husband asked for a divorce. I let him know that I was committed and asked if he wanted to participate in marriage counseling. He was adamant that he wanted to end the marriage.

After a couple of weeks of waking up every morning crying and trying to figure out whether I should try to change his mind, I realized something:

There are some things I can’t control.

And there’s no point in trying to force that issue.

Once I got to that point, I realized that things are likely to be more profitable in my life (and with my money) if I focus on what I can control and move forward from there. While I was heartbroken, I also realized that there were things I could do to pick myself up and get a move on — for my son as well as for me.

The same basic principle applies to business. There will be times that you can’t control everything about your business or what comes in and hijacks your time for the day.

Acknowledge What You Can’t Control

The first step is understanding what you can’t control. A few years ago, one of my first clients, a company I’d been working with for several years, was bought by a competitor and essentially shut down. The new owner had no interest in retaining my services; I was redundant because of an in-house content team. I couldn’t control the circumstances that resulted in the loss of a big chunk of my regular income.

However, I was able to control my response. I could control my outreach to my network, and I could look for more freelance gigs. Another control I had was to raise rates on new clients and look for further ways to diversify my service offerings and income streams.

If you have been beating yourself up about something you can’t control, you’re wasting valuable time and energy. Acknowledge what you can’t control, and then move onto something you can.

Focus on What You Can Control for Better Results

When you spend your time in “what if” mode wishing that things had been different, you aren’t moving forward. “What if” mode paralyzes you and prevents you from actually accomplishing something. Acknowledge your feelings and disappointment. Learn from any mistakes you might have made in dealing with a situation you can’t control. Then move on.

When you focus on what you can control, you are far more likely to experience success. Look for ways that you can control the outcome, or change your approach so that you increase your chances of success. By putting your effort on what you can impact, you can make an even bigger difference.

Yes, there will be still disappointments, and things you can’t control will sometimes throw a wrench into your plans. But you can still control your response, and there will always be something you can control to change your trajectory. Focus on those items you can affect so that you will have the motivation to take that next step toward success.

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I'm Miranda and I'm a freelance financial journalist and money expert. My specialties are investing, small business/entrepreneurship and personal finance. The journey to business success and financial freedom is best undertaken with fellow travelers.

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