Circle of Concern

At the end of last year, one of my supervisees mentioned the ‘Circle of Concern’ which had disappeared from my memory after reading about it, years ago, in Stephen Covey’s book the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

An excellent way of becoming more self-aware regarding our own degree of proactivity, is to look at where we focus our time and energy. We each have a wide range of concerns – our health, our children, parents, problems at work, the national debt, wars. We can separate those from things in which we have no particular mental or emotional involvement by creating a Circle of Concern.

Circle of Concern/Influence

As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no control and others that we can do something about. By splitting these up we can focus our time and energy which is going to have an impact.

Circle of Influence increases whilst concern decreases.

Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to expand.

Reactive people on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. There is a danger they focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment and over circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language and increasing feelings of victimisation. The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in their areas they can do something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink.

When you look at this in black and white, it seems pretty obvious, but how often do we worry over  things which we have no control. All that wasted energy when whatever we are worrying about never comes to fruition. I have noticed that when we lose somebody or something there is a danger of thinking “if only we had done or said this”, again wasting energy on things we can’t change. If we can focus on the good memories of that job or person and learn from any mistakes or behaviour we would have liked to have changed, that will have a much more positive outcome. Obviously, many things are easier said than done.

Don’t interpret proactive to mean pushy, aggressive, or insensitive, that isn’t the case at all. Proactive people aren’t pushy. They’re smart, value driven, read reality and know what is needed.

If you need any help becoming more proactive and want to focus more on the things that matter to you,   get in touch with 

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