If we’re honest, most of us would probably admit that we like to do things our own way.
Many of us also have a pretty clear idea of what we think is the right or wrong way.
But when does that clear vision spill over into something else?
Let’s find out.
Here are the signs you’re not actually a control freak, you’re just decisive.
1) Having to change course doesn’t send you into a meltdown
Sure, you have a plan. But you also know that sometimes plans change, and that’s ok.
Decisive people can certainly be resistant to change.
Nobody likes a spanner in the works.
You might be very clear about where you are going and what you want. But you are prepared to make adjustments along the way.
The reality is that despite all your planning, things don’t always work out the way you hope.
Rather than spiral into complete panic, you adapt and can (reluctantly) roll with it.
It might mean backtracking, delaying plans, or scrapping something altogether.
But you don’t have such a firm grip that you can’t handle these unforeseeable changes.
2) You’re still a team player
Maybe you work well alone.
When you like things done a certain way, it’s natural to prefer to do it yourself sometimes.
A lot of us thrive working alone, but it’s not because we’re control freaks. It can just feel more efficient that way.
But it’s a sign that you’re not a control freak if you also work well as part of a team.
Decisive personality types can also be natural leaders, who confidently lead.
You may be decisive, but you don’t always feel the need to take charge in every situation.
You can appreciate the skills that other people bring to the table. It doesn’t terrify you the thought that someone else gets to influence things.
You can trust others enough to collaborate.
You recognize that whatever you’re creating can be all the stronger for diversity and having other people’s input.
3) You can admit when you get it wrong
The reality is that both control freaks and decisive people might find it hard to back down.
But for a control freak, it’s much harder. Because it feels like admitting defeat to them.
After all, what does that say if you made a mistake?
It means you are not infallible.
Despite your attempts to carefully control everything —including yourself— you can get it wrong.
Control freaks are more prone to stubbornly stick to their guns than decisive personalities.
So if you can recognize when you’ve got it wrong, it’s a good sign.
4) You know what you want, but you’re not bossy
Control freaks are often accused of being bossy — and for good reason.
Their tight grip feels overbearing and demanding.
According to Medical News Today, bossiness rears its head when:
“Sometimes people try to assert power over others and control situations. They may do this out of anxiety because they worry that things will go wrong if they do not maintain control.”
There’s a big difference between knowing what you want and being bossy.
You can still communicate clearly with others without being rude about it.
A big part of that is remaining open to the voices, ideas, and thoughts of others.
5) Even when you ultimately call the shots, you’ll still listen and take on board other people’s opinions
Power doesn’t go to your head.
Being the one in charge doesn’t feel like permission to dismiss whatever anybody else thinks or wants.
You make time to truly hear people out. And I mean, genuinely listen, not just go through the motions.
You may be decisive but that doesn’t mean you are completely closed off. The door is still open.
You can be persuaded by a convincing argument or good idea.
Because despite being strong-willed you still want to embrace new ideas so that you can learn, improve and grow.
6) You don’t watch over people once you delegate
Control freaks rarely delegate. But decisive people don’t struggle with doing so.
You’re ok asking for help. You trust others to step in and do a job for you.
Even when it’s something important, you know how beneficial getting support can be.
This can lighten your load and help you focus your energy where it matters most.
Once you’ve asked someone to do something, you leave them to it.
You’re not constantly checking up on them. You don’t hover in the background making unsolicited suggestions and critiques.
The reason you can comfortably give people their autonomy is because of the next point on our list…
7) It’s ok if things don’t always get done the way you would have done it
The hardest thing for a control freak to do is trust that someone else can do something as well as them.
The reality is that most of us want things done our own way.
That’s why, believe it or not, research shows something as silly as how you load the dishwasher can cause a lot of conflict for couples.
Of course, it’s not really about whether we believe it’s better to pre-rinse plates or put the fork tines facing up.
It’s actually about our hangups and relinquishing control.
You might not always like it, but if you can at least accept things being done another way, you’re not a control freak.
8) You still enjoy going with the flow once in a while
Decisive people can still enjoy spontaneity.
They know that whilst some things require a clear and well-laid-out plan of action, not everything does.
If you can get a kick out of going with the flow then you’re definitely not a control freak.
You are open to the last-minute opportunities that come your way.
You can find pleasure in being playful enough to wait and see what will happen, rather than needing to pre-empt everything.
9) Your to-do list doesn’t totally stress you out
You know how to prioritize when you are decisive.
What’s more, you know what only you can do, what you can pass on to someone else, and what can wait.
These aren’t easy when you’re a control freak. Everything seems urgent and vital.
Plus, nobody else can be trusted to do it but you.
That means your to-do list as a control freak just gets longer. It may not even feel manageable.
Because as soon as you cross one thing off there are constantly new “urgent” tasks that require your attention.
10) You don’t agonize over your decisions
You give it the consideration you think it needs, and then you make a call.
But whatever call you make, you aren’t going to agonize over it.
You don’t constantly question yourself and worry whether you’ve done the right thing.
You have the confidence to know that whatever happens, you will deal with it.
Your part is only to make the decision, it’s not to meticulously try to control everything that happens next.
Because there is no way to even if you wanted to. So instead, you turn your attention to what you can control.
11) You only focus on what you can control
A decisive person acts accordingly in order to make positive changes.
A control freak often wastes energy worrying about the 1001 things that are totally out of their hands.
This causes unnecessary worry and anxiety.
A control freak is constantly thinking about all those sneaky “what if’s”.
They pollute your mind and have you always on the lookout for danger.
As a decisive person, you prefer not to focus on the negative. You make a choice, and you keep your eye on the prize.
You put all of your focus on the things you can control.
12) You don’t beat yourself up when things go wrong
The sad truth is that we can all be guilty of being our own worst critics.
And control freaks can really beat themselves up when things go wrong.
They struggle to understand that success or failure isn’t 100% down to them.
So, they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.
They take on responsibility for everything, even the things they had no part in.
Even when you are decisive you know that it’s not automatically your fault when things don’t go the way you want.
Because there will always be things that remain out of your control.
13) You are forgiving of mistakes
It’s not just themselves that control freaks judge harshly. They have a habit of putting that same scrutiny on others too.
The consequence of their perfectionist tendencies means they don’t like mistakes.
Of course, who does like mistakes?
But the difference is that control freaks see it as a much bigger deal. They may seemingly lack compassion when other people slip up in even small ways.
Rather than try to be understanding, they can be quick to judge and assign blame.
14) You recognize you’re only responsible for yourself and no one else
Decisive people are more focused on their own path in life.
They have a good understanding of what makes them tick, so it’s easier to make choices without hesitation.
But they don’t think that strong-mindedness should extend to anyone else’s life.
Control freaks on the other hand are happy to interfere.
They believe they know what is best.
So they are willing to invest time and energy into trying to convince people to see things their way and do what they want.