What Circle are you focused on?

In the previous post, I mentioned a puzzle – the C. of C. made smaller by the C. of I.?

You have seen the image so you certainly know the answer – the Circle of Concernmade smaller by your Circle of Influence1.  The diagram shows that as we build the inside circle of influence, it begins to expand and reduces our outer circle of concern.  Examples may be distant wars or the economy causing concern and a feeling of helplessness.  However, perhaps our action as a fundraiser, or an advocate for the poor gives us the power to act and make a difference. Starting small and close to our personal areas of influence enables us to raise our influence so that we may affect greater change over time.  I have used this concept often in my life and minimize my circle of concern by working on the former.  This concept has become quite popular (simply Google search to view this model) and I had forgotten that the amazing Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits series described the original concept.

Increasing your circle of influence involves living in the moment all right, but more importantly it embraces the concept of ‘can’.  I can be more caring  – or – I can be more active. I can make small changes (or large changes) in my community/family/self.

A dear friend was becoming increasingly anxious as she felt she was losing control over her adult child.  This all too common scenario plays out, as the ‘child’ is now independent and is making choices that their parents may not agree with.  This helpless feeling can be overwhelming and all consuming as it was in this case.

A gentle reminder of her power within the circle of influence helped her to refocus on what she could do.  In her case she knew that she could be effective by just being supportive and kind.  She would also seek to be a good example and to pray for guidance.  By focusing her energy on the small things that she could do, it shrunk her outer circle of concern (and worry).

Have you wasted energy and time in the anxiety-pumping region of concern?  What tools have you used to build up your level of influence?  Did you start with small steps?  Kindly, let me know your comments below.

I can’t wait to share the next topic and a great strategy I developed for my family – especially in moments of great concern.    Clue –Turning (____)  into (_____).


1. Stephen Covey – 7 Habits of Highly Effective People