A concept made popular by Stephen Covey, the circle of influence analogy illustrates one’s level of control. In years past I was hardly able to direct my own comings and goings due to whatever psychological funk was swallowing me up in the moment. My circle of influence felt like it was inches in diameter. Now, my circle feels as if it’s miles across, as my days effortlessly sail by and I am able to accomplish nearly all that I set out to do. This impact gives me enormous satisfaction, as the wheels of progress keep turning due to my previous input, not because of my immediate presence.
Take a moment to imagine your own circle. How large is it? Is it just six inches in diameter? If it is, when you look down, is the top of it hidden underneath your feet? If the tiny circle is just twelve inches in height, you can barely balance on it. Do you spend all your available energy and attention just trying not to fall off? If this is your situation, your tenuous balancing effort doesn’t leave much time for anything but complaining.
Instead, what if you could channel the time and energy expended in this constant balancing effort into making your circle larger?
Wherever you are, whatever the size of your circle of influence, focus on making changes inside of it, not outside. Don’t spend precious time agonizing over big-picture issues you can’t affect while neglecting the elements of your own life that you can change. Expend your limited and precious allotment of time and energy on the matters you can affect, the matters within your circle. Do that, and your circle—and influence—will expand.
Note: Centratel CEO and international business consultant Sam Carpenter has written extensively on the concepts of system improvement and the systems mindset. Centratel’s Medical Answering Service assists hundreds of clinics during and after-hours, throughout the United States and is, by a variety of statistics, the highest quality answering service available among the approximately 1,500 services nationwide.
Photo Credits: Bev Goodwin