17 Apr

Where Do Your Thoughts Lie? The Circle of Influence vs. The Circle of Control

positive thinking, jennifer merchant

This topic is a hard one for me because I am a borderline control freak. I love knowing what is going to happen and having everything planned out so there are no surprises. Unfortunately for me, the majority of the time this is not possible.

I used to get so stressed out when I couldn’t control situations or when things didn’t go according to my plans. This is no way to live considering how few things we actually have control over in our lives.

Once I was able to change my mindset of needing to control everything, I became so much happier and stress-free. It takes a lot of practice but here is how I did it, why it is so important, and how it relates to everything in your life, including setting your goals.

Your Circle Of Influence

One book that I recommend to every single person is the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In this book, Covey talks about your Circle of Influence versus the Circle of Concern. He says that most people spend their time focusing on their Circle of Concern when they should instead focus on their Circle of Influence.

Your Circle of Influence is everything in your life that you can actually do something about. For example, you have control over your health, your job, your relationships, and things of this nature.

Circle of Influence, jennifer merchant

Your Circle of Concern is everything you cannot do anything about or change. For example, you circle of concern might include getting a flat tire, the state of the economy, other people’s actions, natural hazards, and things of this nature.

Why This Is Important

I used to spend the majority of my time stressing about all the bad things that could happen in any situation or worrying about the what-ifs. As you can see, I was focusing too much on my Circle of Concern. But once I realized is that no matter how hard I focus on these things or think about them, there is nothing I can do to make them happen or not happen. I was basically just wasting my time and stressing myself out over nothing.

Now, I try to focus my mindset on my Circle of Influence which includes things that I can actually control. I think about my business and how I can make it better. I think about my relationships and how I can strengthen them. I continuously work to improve my health to make sure that my body can keep up with all the things I want to do. Now, this is a much better use of my thoughts if you ask me!

When you start to focus on things that you can actually control, it does a couple of things for you. First, you feel like you are making a difference in your life and your efforts are working. When you spend all of your time worrying about things you cannot change, you will never get anywhere and that can be really frustrating!

Second, letting go of all of the things that you cannot control or change is so freeing. There is really no point in stressing-out or worrying about something that you won’t be able to change anyway right? Instead, you now have time to focus on building things in your Circle of Influence that will make you even happier!

How This Relates To Your Goals

I’ve also been able to relate this idea to goal setting for myself and for my clients. When I create a goal for myself, I try to choose things to go along with that goal that I can actually control.

For example, a common goal that I see in regards to health is that the person wants to lose 5, 10, or 20 pounds. However, if you actually think about this goal, it is extremely difficult to have a direct impact on the amount of weight you lose. Instead, you could make your goal to go to the gym 4 times a week, eat a whole foods diet, and drink 8 glasses of water every day. The difference is that you actually have control over whether you do these actions or not.

Goal-setting, jennifer merchant

This is the process that I go through with myself and all of my clients so that we can make sure we are focusing on the things that actually get us results and is in our Circle of Influence.

How could you re-create your own goals so that you can move them from your Circle of Concern into your Circle of Influence?

How You Can Start Today

The most important thing that you can do today is to start becoming aware of where your thoughts lie. Do you spend more time thinking about your Circle of Concern or your Circle of Influence and actually making an impact? If you find that you typically focus on your Circle of Concern and become stressed-out or overwhelmed like I used to, there are a few things you can do to start shifting this process.

1. Meditate
Meditation is a powerful tool to help you become more aware of your thoughts so that you can change them when necessary. Check out my recent postsĀ Meditation and How It Can Help You and My Favorite Meditation Apps if you would like to learn more about the benefits of meditation and app that you can use to assist you in your journey.

2. Journal
Writing in a journal is also a powerful way to gain more control over your thoughts. You can also practice writing about things in your Circle of Influence so that you can get used to thinking about things you can have a direct impact on.

3. Let go!
Throughout my journey, I realized that if I could control everything in life, then that would be a pretty boring place to be. Celebrate the fact that every day is an adventure and that it is okay if you can’t control everything! You will be so much happier once you do and I can say that from my own personal experience.

How do you remind yourself to let go of things that you cannot control?

– Jennifer
Mindset & Habit Coach

P.S. – If this is something that you struggle with, I would love for you to sign up for a free Strategy Session where we can go through this process together! Click here to schedule your session today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *