Pushing the Boundaries of Your Influence
What is in your Circle of Concern?
Imagine a circle that encompasses everything you care about. Stephen R. Covey calls this the Circle of Concern. Many things, large and small, occupy the Circle of Concern. Thinking too much about everything in your Circle of Concern quickly overwhelms you, because you can't control all of it: Family, friends, work, shelter, food, health, the economy, terrorism, war, politics, global warming, injustice, poverty, hunger, weather, earthquakes, mudslides and tornadoes.
What is in your Circle of Influence?
Things that we're concerned about and can change are in our Circle of Influence, according to Covey. Our control may not be complete, but we are comfortable within our Circle of Influence.
You may not have complete control over the things you care most about. We feel more comfortable in this Circle, where we influence: Family, friends, diet, religious activities, hobbies and exercise.
How can you deal with the gap between the circles?
We can't immediately do much about the gap between our Circle of Concern and our Circle of Influence. First, we work on doing the best we can to influence things within our control. As we gain more mastery over things like our improving our eating habits or creating healthier family relationships, we can expand our efforts to include more elements in our lives. Once we feel comfortable with our ability to influence the issues within the Circle of Influence, we can start pushing the boundaries outward. The ultimate goal is to expand the perimeter of the Circle of Influence to include as much of our Circle of Concern as possible.