Where do you spend your time and energy ?

In our private and professional life, we are all confronted with many challenges. Some are external: they are related to the company, or even to the market in which the company operates. Others are rather related to oneself: the employees’ own mental models, the inner thoughts, beliefs, values and behavior.

Against this background, people must be aware that there are things that they can influence more easily than others. Stephen Covey, describes this very well in ‘The Circle of Concern versus the Circle of Influence’


The model forces us to think about where we choose to focus our time and energy.  We all have many concerns that fill our lives: concerns about our work, our families, our health. And then there are concerns about issues such as poverty, maybe national debt, the war on terror or global warming. These things fall into our Circle of Concern.  However, only some of these concerns are things we have any real control or influence over.  This smaller subset of concerns fall into what can be called our Circle of Influence.
Those who choose to focus their time and energy in the Circle of Influence are not only happier; they are the movers of the world.  Rather than spending hours pouring over the news and worrying themselves, they are making a difference by focusing on the aspects they can control.  By pouring energy into our Circle of Influence, we can expand it.  Conversely, when we focus on the negative aspects of life, we cause our circle to shrink.

The external factors that influence the way we lead are manifold: the market, the company, strategy, objectives, management, results, people, tools, …
The thing is, we need to decide if things we deal with are in our circle of influence or concern. When in our circle of concern, we have two options:

  • Push it to the circle of influence
  • Leave it as is in the circle of concern but in that case, try to no longer spend our time and energy on the matter.

Take this thought with you, it is common sense but so useful !

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