One of the questions I’m asked all the time is, “How do you do everything?”
I wish there was an easy answer for that. But there isn’t. There are a lot of pieces that make me able to run my family & my business while still enjoying them both.
One of the things that I learned pretty early was operating within my Circle of Influence. This is a concept that I was reminded of while I’ve been re-reading Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families.
Even though I’d forgotten all about reading it, it was still something I lived.
To summarize it, picture a large circle. We’ll call this one the ‘Circle of Concern’.
In this circle is everything that concerns you. For me, it may be homeschooling laws in my state, an upcoming election, the economy, the health of a family member, the education of my children, my relationship with my husband, my relationship with God, my exercise habits, or a friend’s job situation. It usually contains both major and minor concerns.
For most people, this circle is very, very large.
Now, picture a smaller circle within the Circle of Concern. We call this one the ‘Circle of Influence’.
In this circle are all of those things that you are concerned with that you can actually have some influence over.
Let’s take my hypothetical concerns one at a time and decide whether I have high influence, medium influence, or low influence with each of them.
Homeschooling laws – low
Election – low
The economy – low
Health of a family member – medium (depends upon the situation)
Education of my children – high
Relationship with my husband – high
Relationship with God – high
My exercise habits – high
Friend’s job situation – low
Life gets a lot tougher if I spend too much time, energy, prayer, and worry in my circle of concern, instead of within my circle of influence.
Life also gets a lot tougher if my circle of influence is too large. If I’m regularly feeling that I am unable to accomplish everything that I need to accomplish, I know that my circle of influence is too large and I need to find a way to shrink it.
Sometimes shrinking my circle of influence requires me to give up some good things. When I started Goat Milk Stuff, there were a lot of good things that I had to give up. For example, baking my own bread, canning vegetables to last the entire winter, and raising chickens. I had to move these out to my circle of concern and find a way to get healthy food that didn’t require so much of my time and energy.
I chose to shrink my circle of influence to
maintain my sanity operate efficiently. But choosing to give up good things in order to focus on more important things is the subject of another post.
To be clear, I’m not saying that you should ignore your circle of concern. I still go out and vote at every election (but I pretty much ignore it up until 2 days before the election). And this is just my example. Other people are much more active in politics and for them, an upcoming election is within their circle of influence.
I also want you to know that while I pray for things in my circle of concern, I spend much more time praying for things in my circle of influence, because that is where God is using me.
I could go on for pages about this. But one of the items in my circle of influence is getting enough rest so I’m not grumpy in the morning. And that requires me to wrap up this post and get to sleep.
I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts on how you balance your Circle of Concern vs your Circle of Influence.