Control Freak

I have recently returned from a month’s travelling in Laos and Cambodia – 2 countries I had never considered visiting. The opportunity came about as the school that I work at were in need of another member of staff to escort 15 sixth-form boys on a month-long adventure in the developing world.

It truly was an amazing experience, though certainly not one that I enjoyed some of the time… actually, make that most of the time. It wasn’t the boys. It was their trip; they organised everything: transport, accommodation, food, the lot really. Everything we did was decided by the boys, the other teacher and me just had to go with them; our opinions were invalid.

That’s the bit that I struggled most with. The inability to make my own decisions for a whole month. I had to eat when the boys wanted, I had to sleep when the boys wanted, I had to do everything when the boys wanted. It was a complete role-reversal of the student-teacher relationship. And one that I am glad I put myself through. After a shaky start the boys were magnificent, and they were far more successful than I thought they’d be.

The trip really hit home just how much of a control freak I am. Whilst this isn’t always necessarily a bad thing, it can be beneficial to be a good delegator too. I need to have more faith in the people around me.

Don’t pigeonhole people based on first impressions. Give them the opportunity to surprise you.

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12 Comments Add yours

  1. Great post Matt! I’m sorry your trip wasn’t quite as fun as you may have thought and wanted, but it seems that you had a learning experience which is good! I’d love to hear more about your vacation so send me an email if you’d like!

  2. Gabriela says:

    Wow what an opportunity for some travel! I hear you about the being out of your usual comfort zone and role reversal. I OFTEN am reminded that I am a bit of a control freak myself when I go to events where nothing is on my schedule ha. I am sure out there it was even more challenging! Kudos to getting out there though.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      I know right! As soon as I was asked, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, in spite of all the initial apprehension. Haha yeah it’s not the easiest thing in the world to get used to, but it’s good to be able to strike up a balance between the two. Thanks, am very pleased that I did. Planning on writing a couple of more posts about my time away, I think, so watch this space! 🙂

  3. Gemma says:

    You did amazing to go Matt. Email me when you can. Missed our chats x

  4. Wow, how great that you got to travel with them! Although, as you say, traveling can be really difficult, miserable even, because we’re so out of our routines. At least you are able to be aware that being away from your routines scares you. I have definitely felt that before when traveling. It’s an exercise in when to speak up and get your needs met, and when to go with the flow.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      I guess it’s a good thing, as it’s given me the opportunity to recognise what I need to work on. Hope you’re doing well? 🙂

      1. Hey, yes I am, thank you! Always learning, that’s for sure. Trying to practice being friends with myself, haha. Making more time to write! Yay! And how about you?

      2. M_McKeen says:

        Always sounds like a good plan, not the easiest thing to carry out though!! I look forward to reading your posts, really liked your recent one on friendship btw! Yeah I’m good thanks, have a little time off work this week, so am enjoying the opportunity to relax! 🙂

      3. Thanks Matt! It was a somewhat difficult post to write because the topic was so fresh in my life, but the response was really positive. I’m glad you’re well and that you have some well-deserved time off!

      4. M_McKeen says:

        I can understand that. Do you feel better for posting it? It’s kinda inspired me to write a post on mental health and friendship too. Thanks 🙂

      5. I do feel better for posting it, both because writing brings me relief but mostly because talking to people on the blog about it has been so great. How cool! I’ll look forward to reading your perspective on it! That was the idea, to start a conversation about it.

      6. M_McKeen says:

        I’m pleased to hear that! Well it’s certainly worked! 🙂

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