The Olympics has nearly began and already the papers are harping on about how depressing the weather is and how this will reflect badly on us to the whole world, blah, blah, blah… well, you know what, we can’t do anything about the weather, that’s out of our control (or concern) but making sure the Olympics goes as smoothly as possible IS within our abilities (or influence)

As in business and personal life, everyone has things they are concerned about. This is your Circle of Concern. Sometimes we can do something about them whereas, much like the weather… we can’t. Those things we can do something about are in your Circle of Influence within your overall circle of concern.

Now for those of you familiar with Stephen Coveys 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you will understand where I’m going with this. The first part refers to ‘Be proactive’ and within this included his circle of ‘Influence’ being an integral part of the circle of ‘Concern’.

Those that are ‘Proactive’ make decisions and concentrate their efforts on the influential inner circle. As they become stronger in their resolve, this increases in sizes thus reducing the amount of concern, however, those who concentrate primarily on the main circle of concern, show signs of doubt and insecurities which, in turn, means the less proactive or reactive people will continue to focus their time and energy on circumstances that are outside their control and expand the circle of concern. This negative energy and lack of progress causes their circle of influence to shrink and continues to spiral in this way with continued thinking in this mode

As you make progress, your circle of influence becomes larger, you feel more in control, and have a more positive outlook towards a new or changing environment

There will, of course, always be things that you cannot control or influence but they become lower concern and priority.

Here’s some ways of addressing this that you can find in Covey’s book…

  1. Listen to your language and see if you start sentences with “I have to…”, “If only I had…”, etc… these are the “Have’s” and strengthen your circle of concern whereas the “Be’s” increase the circle of influence, such as “I can be more…”, “If I do that, I’ll be…”
  2. Look at a given situation arising and compare it to a time a similar previous occurrence. See if you previously ‘Reacted’ to it and this time look at it from a response of being ‘Proactive’ thus increasing your circle of influence. Actually picture it in your mind showing all the positive elements and exercise your freedom to choose. If someone is giving you a hard time, look positively at the situation and element the fact that they are trying to dump there bad vibes onto you, you have a choice to accept the ‘feeling’ (not necessarily the task though!)
  3. Select a problem from work or personal life. Rather than let it eat away at your emotions, determine if it is a direct, indirect or no control situation and identify what the first step(s) you need to take to increase your circle of influence, and then… guess what? Take it!
  4. Take a month, 28-31 days, to test out the way your situation changes by being ‘proactive’, in control as opposed to ‘reactive’ and letting circumstances take over you.

This is the first of the seven steps introduced by Covey, there’s more to it than this simple description but even this, used properly, can have truly positive effects on what you do. Alternatively, if you’d like to discuss issues around concerns, how to become influential, reactive thought processes or how to achieve more by being proactive whether yourself or the team you are responsible for, do not hesitate in contacting Neil (07761 187238) to arrange a free consultation on how we can help.

Finally, what are your views on these blogs? Write a comment below and let us know, we always appreciate feedback on what we offer. Many thanks.