You don’t have to be involved in everything…
Taking care of yourself is one of the four crucial things you have to do (as a manager and as human being) in this Corona crisis. Take care of yourself so you can be there for your employees, colleagues and dear ones, and can continue to do what is necessary.
Using the Circle of Concern versus the Circle of Influence helps you make the most of your energy.
You may want to be involved in anything and fill your day with worrying about anything and everything; the measures of the government, the reporting on the corona virus, the weather, the politics, what others say about you, your supervisor, your colleagues, and so on, and so on. But you don’t have to…
Circle of Concern – Circle of Influence
Stephen Covey has introduced the term “Circle of Concern”: The Circle of Concern contains all the things you are involved in. Within the large “Circle of Concern” there is the smaller “Circle of Influence”; those things that you can actually influence yourself.
If you focus your energy on the circle of concern, if you are constantly concerned about things that you have no influence over, you will eventually become angry, cynical and frustrated. Moreover, your circle of influence is getting smaller and smaller, because you waste your energy on things you can’t do anything about. You are reactive, you react mainly out of emotion, things “happen” to you.
If you focus your energy on the circle of influence, if you are mainly concerned with things that you do have influence over, you are proactive. Then you get satisfaction, you make things better, you get energy. You have a positive impact on other people, your circle is even increasing. Pro-active people react the way they want to react, they respond from their values. The difference between their circle of concern and their circle of influence is getting smaller and smaller.
Insight helps, conscious choice helps even more
Clearly making a distinction between your circle of concern and your circle of influence, already makes a world of difference:
- Draw the two circles and place in each circle those things you are involved in. In your work, your private life, in society, the weather, politics, the neighbors, the environment…. The things you do have influence on, are to be written in the circle of influence. The things you have no influence on, are to be written in the outer part, the circle of concern.
- Now take a conscious choice to stop devoting energy and attention to the things you have written in the circle of concern. For example, that means no more complaining about the weather…
Often this overview and this conscious choice gives a lot of peace. Making the difference even smaller takes you one step further.
Make the difference smaller
There are two ways to make the difference smaller: You increase your circle of influence and/or you narrow down your circle of concern.
Your circle of influence increases by deliberately focusing your attention on it. What can you do now, and what first steps are you going to take? What do you need for that? Who can help you do that?
Your circle of concern doesn’t deserve too much attention. If it is very difficult not to worry about these things, you can choose to deliberately place those things outside your circle. That could mean you only watch the news once a day. Or not at all.
Tell me honestly: Are you now primarily proactive, focusing on things you can do something about yourself? Or is much of your attention reactive? Are you paying attention to the weaknesses of others, are you dealing with other people’s problems that you can’t do anything about, with circumstances you can’t influence (like the weather)? Do you probably use phrases like, “Why does this happen to me again…!” ?
Personal leadership and pro-activity is not a one-off action. It requires practice, and you “need to stick with it” for a while. Practice yourself daily, by regularly listening what you’re talking about (complaining?), what your thoughts are, what you’re worried about.
Ask yourself over and over again whether what you’re focusing on, is in the circle of concern, or in the circle of influence. And then make a conscious choice. Create your own focus list – and stick to it: it helps to stay out of the delusion of the day.
Feel free to immediately plan a half hour sparring with Sandra Geelink directly in the agenda.