Let’s face it, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we spend a whole bunch of time ruminating over things that we have no power to influence. These are the things that gnaw away at us, ulcerating our insides – but for what? There is plenty of bad food and beverage out there that can do that just as effectively. The problem is there is a smorgasbord of these tasty issues in the media bain-marie.
Take political elections, the outcome of which we can only have a very small influence over, unless of course we choose to leap off the diving board and into the abyss and join a political party.
This is me . Here in Victoria, we have just come through a state election and I have found myself very concerned about the outcome and the impact it would have on our economy, our company, job security for colleagues, friends and family and much more. Regardless of my concern, other than the one vote which I did cast, I can have little if any influence over the outcome. I know, you are going to tell me I could stand on a corner, and yell into a megaphone all the reasons why you should vote blue, red or green and that that may influence someone, but the reality is, my concern far outweighs my influence. We need balance.
Frankly there are a lot of other places I would rather invest my energy that would have a positive impact on other people and myself. Of course my input as a voter is part of a collective that has influence, but my ability to influence is really confined to the one vote. So yes, vote and take it seriously, then move on to other ways in which you can have a positive impact. Balance your concern against your influence.
Stephen Covey’s famous personal development book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, talks about our circles of concern versus our circles of influence. What Covey says is the most valuable impact we can have is in our circle of influence, where we can impact outcomes. Covey says we should focus on expanding our circle of influence by stealing away the time we spend in our circle of concern and this is how we’ll make a valuable contribution.
Are you focussed on things that you’re concerned about and really doing nothing because you can’t influence them, making no real contribution? Or are you focussed on your circle of influence? For more detail, read my post – I’m really concerned about the influence I’m having. Are you?
What can you do grow your circle of influence?
- Carefully consider your task list each day and focus on those things that will have a positive influence. Think about the Butterfly effect. Can you visualise the rippling impact of your actions beyond what you can see. If not, ask yourself why you are doing what you’re doing.
- It’s so easy to slip backward into a negative conversation with a colleague. Make a conscious effort to be aware of what you’re saying, and also what you’re listening to. Find a way and a reason to politely step away from these negative conversations. Actively seek out people who are positive and optimistic.
- As it is with the butterfly effect, you won’t always be able to measure the impact of your actions, but you must believe that they will have a positive influence. Again, practice visualising the impact of your actions.
- Break the grip the bad news has on you. Turn off the TV or radio and put down the paper. If you can’t influence what you’re reading, hearing or seeing, then why are you really burying yourself with the burden. Your contribution to the collective concern is no more value to you than it is to anybody else.
- Channel your energy into doing something new – learning something new. You will add value not only to yourself, but to others. Your actions will have an influence.
- Focus on your personal brand. Getting your authentic brand out there, letting people know what you stand for and why, will attract people who need you and can align with you and is a great way to have influence. For more, read my post – Personal Brand – The simple explanation of a must have – Here’s what, why & how.
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Many thanks to my nephew James Westmore for his wonderful artwork