Stephen Covey introduced the Circle of Influence in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. With the aid of this model, you may better understand what you can manage and what you cannot, as well as determine what to do about it. It’s tempting to want to repair everything when things are difficult. Even while you may want to help with all the issues around you, taking on too much might result in stress, and burnout, which detracts from the things you can control. The greatest course of action would be to concentrate on the areas of life that you can directly influence instead. This would enable you to make changes while also keeping your well-being.
What is the Circle of Influence?
Worry is a frequent emotion. You have probably heard or asked yourself frequently these questions. How will my staff (or colleagues) react? Will we achieve our quarterly goals? What will my supervisor think of me? What happens if my kids do get into a top school?
Most of our problems are caused by outside factors. Factors that are out of our control. Using the Circle of Influence model, you may better understand what you have control over and decide what to do about it. The Circle of Influence (things we care about and can affect) and the Circle of Concern (the things we care about) are two circles Stephen Covey suggests we use to organise our worries.
Circle of concern vs Circle of Influence
We are all concerned about various things, including our health, our children, issues at work, and the environment… By establishing a Circle of Concern, we can distinguish those from things in which we have no particular mental or emotional engagement. Any issue you might be concerned about is included in the Circle of Concern. It becomes clear as we examine the issues in our Circle of Concern that some are beyond our true control, while others we have some power over.
By enclosing such worries in a smaller Circle of Influence, we may locate those worries in the later group. We may learn a lot about how proactive we are by identifying which of these two circles receives the most of our attention.
The Circle of Influence is where proactive people concentrate their efforts. They focus on issues that they can influence. Their positive energy expands and magnifies, which causes their circle of influence to grow.
Proactive people base their decisions on their values. They deliberate before acting. They understand that while they have no control over everything that occurs to them, they do have power over their response.
On the other hand, reactive people concentrate their efforts on the Circle of Concern. They concentrate on other people’s flaws, environmental issues, and external factors over which they have little control. Their concentration leads to accusatory and blaming attitudes, defensive speech, and heightened victimisation sentiments.
Their Circle of Influence contracts due to the bad energy created by that emphasis and the neglect of matters over which they had control.
One step further – The Circle of Control
Our issues might be categorized into one of three categories:
- direct control: issues relating to our own actions (inside the Circle of Influence or Circle of Control)
- indirect control: issues regarding the conduct of others (Circle of Influence)
- no control: issues we have no control over (Circle of concern)
How do you build a Circle of Influence?
The Circle of Influence diagram can be used in a variety of ways. To improve in the following areas: listening skills, teamwork, love for a relationship, and academic achievement…
Sometimes being happy and sincerely enjoying are the most proactive things we can do. Happiness is a proactive choice, just like unhappiness. While concentrating on the things we can control, we can be content and accept the things we currently don’t have any influence over.
For you or with your team – Circle of Influence Exercise
1. Draw a large circle on a big piece of paper.
This is the Circle of Concern.
2. Ask your team members to put sticky notes with their areas of concern in the circle.
There will be numerous issues that they will be worried about or may influence how they feel.
3. After they are finished, draw the Circle of Control in the centre of the first circle.
Discuss and move the sticky notes they can actively control into the centre of the Circle of Control.
4. Draw a third circle between the circles of Concern and Control. The Circle of Influence is seen here. Most people believe there aren’t many things they can consciously influence. They feel they have no control over the things they’ve put down, which causes them a great deal of tension and anxiety. Being in controlless is scary.
5. Encourage team members to consider how they might impact some factors outside their control. Could they influence them if they can’t control them? Please review every note in the Circle of Concern and work together to move it into the Circle of Influence. You’ll discover that some of the concerns can be addressed directly in the Circle of Control when you look into them deeper and if you approach them differently.
How to Expand Circle of Influence
1. Find Your Purpose
You must put a lot of effort into discovering your mission to increase your Circle of Influence. Your feeling of purpose is based on whatever you believe. Your inspiration, drive, and compass as you work toward living the life you think will make you happy.
2. Break Your Own Limiting Beliefs
Your ability to grow will be constrained if your belief system is restrictive or biased. Your earliest childhood memories probably include instances when you were brave, and your curiosity led you to areas you wouldn’t dare to explore now. However, as you grew older, you were exposed to an endless array of guidelines for what to say, how to behave, and what to do. You most certainly developed limiting views due to this, and perhaps you failed to reach your full potential.
While there are some regulations you must follow, you must allow yourself to enjoy a complete life. You must broaden your perspectives if you want to improve your circle of influence. To determine whether there is room to broaden the Circle of Influence, you must continually test your thinking.
3. Make small Commitments and keep them
Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.Stephen Covey
Your capacity to expand your Circle of Influence will increase the more contacts you can make with a wider range of people. Quick recommendations to develop your network.
- Build a personal brand
- Join communities of interest.
- Be Yourself.
- Be Ready to Learn.
- Be a Giver.
5. Develop a Growth Mindset
People with a growth mindset believe they can develop their knowledge and abilities. Although people have natural talents and qualities but believe personal development is crucial for success.
On the other hand, people with fixed mindsets believe that intelligence and talent are things you either have or don’t.
6. Be Proactive
7. Admit your faults and act quickly to fix them
Mistakes can be made by anyone. People frequently feel too ashamed to admit when they have done something wrong. You can prevent many issues if you are honest with the people you work with and those around you.
Perhaps it takes great courage to admit a mistake immediately, but doing so can prevent you from suffering a serious setback later. Your personality development includes learning to accept, admit your faults and fix them.
This Circle of Influence concept is simple to grasp and a fantastic tool for focusing our attention and taking meaningful action on the things we can control. Do you spend time in the Circle of Concern fretting about circumstances that are out of your control? What can you do now to widen your Circle of Influence and create a more uplifting environment in your life and at work?
When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.Viktor Frank
The next time you catch yourself worrying, take a moment to breathe. Take a deep breath and ask yourself, “How much control do I have over this? Then, ask, “What can I control to make this better? “And if you’re powerless over it? Instead of stressing about it, focus on something you can control. David Gousset.
Once you are clear on what you can influence, you can define your priorities with the help of the Time Management Matrix.
Hi David, thank you for this post, I have found it very interesting and informative.
Thank you, José!