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Circles of Our Lives – filling the right balloons.

Don’t Just Watch The Video – This One Needs Read!

Most of the people and things in our lives fall into 3 clear circles..

  • Circle of Concern – This is the largest circle in our life and in this circle are all the things we care about. Now I’d like to think you’re not too concerned about your fingernail polish.  We’re thinking a little more important than that. But basically, if you truly care about something, you can consider it in your Circle of Concern.
  • Circle of Influence – This circle is much smaller than our Circle of Concern but sits inside of it. These are the things you can actually influence. If you give to a charity you can influence the lives of the people that charity works with. You can influence the results of your company or employer by how you work. You can influence your marriage and your church. No be careful about considering people to be in your Circle of Influence. Yes there are people we can influence but most of us GREATLY exaggerate the amount of influence we have over others. People we have a huge concern for may be people completely outside of our circle of influence. Be realistic about what, and especially who, you can truly influence.
  • Circle of Control – This circle is very small, and it sits inside your Circle of Influence and your Circle of Concern. In this circle are the things and the person you truly can control. Think for a minute. What do you truly have control over? Now there is one person you truly do have control over, and that is you. No pulling punches here, you are in control of, and totally responsible for yourself. Most people really don’t want to admit the level of control and responsibility we have for ourselves. We want to be able to blame other for our feelings, anger, words, actions, habits…you name it. We blame our parents our spouses our children our DNA our circumstances our bosses our employees our friends and our enemies.  I call Bull Shit!

You, and you alone are responsible for every action, word, thought, desire, and feeling you have and your life will be much better, and fulfilling, when you own up to it and put a big fat “ME & All My Actions” right in the middle of your Circle of Control. Of course there are other things that belong in this circle, but most of them are very closely connected to you. Be careful to put the right things in this circle, things you truly control. The only person in this circle is you.

Circles 1

Ok, now work with me here. Imagine these circles are each balloons and they are inside of each other. Through the magic of imagination you can blow into any balloon you want. When you blow into a balloon the pressure in that balloon is increased and pushes in all directions.

Imagine you blow into the Circle of influence balloon. Below is a diagram of what happens.

Circles 2

Your circle of influence surely will grow. You will likely increase the number of things you influence, and also the amount of influence you have. Your circle of concern will also likely become larger from the outward pressure, but only slightly. Why? Your circle of control will decrease. Remember, you only have so much time and energy. These are represented by the air you blow into the balloons. If you blow into the balloon of influence, you have less time and energy to blow into the balloon of control, so in shrinks from the pressure exerted upon it.

So what happens when we blow into the Circle of Control?

Circles 3

Do you see it? All the arrows are going in the right direction. All the balloons are getting bigger. You have more control, more influence, and more concerns. This is where it is at. It is efficient, important, and fulfilling! This is the focus of our next exercise.

Does this mean you only put energy into the things we control? No, that is unrealistic. It is just our area of focus. We need to know when we are putting effort in any other circles and decide if that is truly best. When we plan our days, weeks, months and years, we need to be sure most of our time and energy goes into the things we have control over, but we can’t live exclusively in that circle.