Yes, I'm concerned but what can I do about it? *Covey's 1st Habit - Be Proactive (part 2)
The second main component of first habit is around what Covey calls "circle of influence". While this is quite a basic concept, it probably will have biggest influence on your behaviour as it did mine.
The problem I have so early in my "Strive for leadership" is deciding where I turn first, there seems so much I need to learn and so many tools or habits I need to focus on that I simply have not time to do them all. How similar is this to when you want to lead? You want to start to make a real difference and feel as a leader you have some sort of obligation to do so. This habit will help direct you.
Circle of Influence (COI): The concept is that everyone has a limit to their influence. Things over which we have no influence, are outside this circle. It's about recognizing that there are things over which we have no influence. Sounds easy! What's for breakfast, what book to read? How about Global warming, or local tax rates?
Circle of Concern (COC): Covey also talks about a "circle of concern". This circle includes all things that we are significantly concerned about. This tends to be easier. However it does require us to grade these concerns. There is an underlying assumption that you can only be concerned about a limited number of things. For some of us this is hard. The point is really 'most' concerned. I find this worked fo me at different levels - at work, at home and personally. I still found though I could only have three general issues at each of these levels and had to accept that there were some things that I was not as concerned about as I felt I should be. This is about passion, and while it's a whole other topic I had to question what concerns I was most passionate about. This certainly helped me in this process.
The lesson is in balance and where we spend our time and effort.
My experience is that both my COI and COC are smaller than I initially thought and that assessment of both is interrelated.
I became distracted by issues that I had some, but not a lot, of influence over. My level of concern became driver to trying to justify some influence. What I was confusing was actual and goal.
The main question is, why spend time and effort on things outside our circle of influence, even if they are within our circle of concern? It would simply be a waste of effort. Now this scenario is not necessarily unhealthy. There are many things that concern me that are way beyond my influence. I guess what I need to do is accept how much I can impact them, and if I am sufficiently concerned, work toward expanding my circle of influence so I can make a difference. That's a goal and where real lesson in this is. We decide for ourselves what concerns us but often we feel our circle of influence is dictated for us. This is simply not true.