How to Increase Your Circle of Influence

Feeling in control of your life releases a lot of stress. Knowing it is you that calls the shots in your own life is awfully important if you are to feel motivated and happy, because if you aren’t calling the shots, someone else is doing it for you.

Your circle of influence
I learned about this mindset in Steven Coveys book 7 habits of highly effective people.

Stephen Covey shares the thought that everything in your life either falls inside your circle or outside.
Either you have the power to inflict direct or indirect influence over the situation or you do not.

For example;
You have control over how you act towards other people.
You do not have direct control over how others will act towards you, but indirectly you can control it since others will treat you as a result of how you treat them.

On the other hand you have no control over the weather.

The first two examples lie inside your circle of influence, the third is without.

Focus on what is inside your circle
When you focus on things inside your circle of influence, it increases. If you focus first on how you treat other people, they will start treating you differently, making you happier, which makes the weather have a smaller importance to your state of mind.

Another example is how much influence you have over the company.
You cannot directly influence decisions about your promotions (often) but if you focus on doing your job really, really well and building a positive relationship with your boss; you will be able to affect your promotion opportunities.

Stop focusing outside
The problem when you focus outside of your circle is that it decreases.
If we take the examples above;

If you keep focusing on the weather and let it control you and how happy you are, you will not be able to be truly happy when the weather is bad, which will keep it a dominant force in your life.

If you focus on your promotion and keep lobbying for it with your bosses and coworkers you will not be producing the results that are required for you to earn the job.
If your colleagues don’t think you deserve the job you will not get it and if you still do, you will not have their support when you try to get things done.

You circle will in fact have become smaller.

Opportunities to increase will increase
Many are afraid that it will take time to increase their circle or do not know how to increase it.
Just remember to keep focusing on things you can directly affect. How much time you give your family, how much TV you watch, how hard you work while at work, how well you keep yourself updated on the latest news in the industry, how often you go out of your way to help someone else and so on.

All these actions will increase your influence.

All of a sudden things that used to be outside your circle are a part of it
It is an incredible feeling when you look back at it and think about all the things you now have power over now that you just a little while earlier couldn’t affect.

Keep working on your circle of influence and you will quickly start to see a difference in your life.

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  3. 4 Ways to Increase Your Productivity
  4. How to Increase Your Confidence
  5. Break The Negative Thought Pattern
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18 Responses to How to Increase Your Circle of Influence

  1. Frank says:

    Daniel,

    This was a great read. The way out is in. What I mean by that if you want to reach people outside your circle you need to connect deeper with the people inside your circle. By sharing your strengths and helping others you build a community which allows you all to expand and grow together. I have recently started to apply a similar technique to my personal career and I already see the benefits. Growing and expanding relationships grows and expands you in ways you never would imagine were possible.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      I think you make a great point Frank. I haven’t actually made that connection, “if you want to reach people outside your circle you need to connect deeper with the people inside your circle.” that really sums up the value of your circle of influence since the most important influence you have is your relationships and network.

      What do you do to connect and build your network?

      • Frank says:

        I have found a lot of success by being present in people lives. I celebrate with them during their successes and encourage them through their challenges. The more I give myself to others the wider my network has become. It seems people like being around someone who’s only goal is to make their life better.

        • I like that Frank!
          You tune into their “Me-channel” which is everyones favorite station.
          What is great about it is that they are all eager to help you in return, I am sure and you must feel a great sence of fulfilment for helping so many people accomplish their goals.

  2. Jk Allen says:

    Hey Daniel – I haven’t read the book (7 Habits…) in a long time but I recall this section of the book. I’m glad you resurfaced this because I think its a lesson that we all need to hear….over and over until we get it!

    For me, this resonates in the realm of focusing on the right thing. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the hype of what’s not essentially important.

    Thanks for the reminder. I actually have a flight tomorrow morning and I think I’ll grab 7 Habits off the shelf to accompany.

    Thanks Daniel.

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey JK,

      “For me, this resonates in the realm of focusing on the right thing” you just summed up the 2 (or third) habit of the 7 habits, put first things first.

      It is really a great book, I just started reading his follow up “the 8th habit” I’ll let you know if it is good.

  3. Dia says:

    Hi Daniel,

    Where we focus really does make a big difference in our lives. I like the concept of focusing on the inner circle. When we focus on what we want and what we can control rather than what we can’t control, our life changes and we start experiencing more peace of mind. Thanks for sharing Daniel

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Dia,

      I have noticed a big difference in my life since I started focusing on what I can control. I have more influence at work, more friends, better contacts if I need something and like you say, more peace of mind.

      What has changed for you?

  4. Daniel, I love this, man. It makes no sense to spin our wheels on things we have no control over – and NONE of us have control over anyone or anything outside of us. What we can control is how we treat people, how significant we make others feel. How we lift others up. Find the best in people. In my experience, this has made all the difference in the world!

    Thanks, bro!

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hi Bryan,

      I know you do this very well.
      Finding the best in people is probably the best way to increase your circle of influence.

      How do you exercise this in your every day life?

  5. Hi Daniel,
    This is a great reminder about focus and to focus on the things that we can control.

    Reminds of the saying ‘Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.’

    Timeless wisdom and a great way to ‘filter’ what matters and what does not.

    Thanks for that,

    Adrian

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Adrian,

      That is a great saying and it really sums up this principal.
      When you focus on your inner circle you really increase your own power and influence.

  6. Daniel, loved this brother, and I love Steven Covey as well. I’m at the point in my life where I’ve pretty much quite paying any attention to the stuff outside of my circle of influence. If I can’t change or affect it, I’m not going to worry about it. That’s why I NEVER watch the news. I don’t listen to political talk show or watch those shows. I’m simply worried about the stuff within my inner circle– and the people found therein.

    Well said D’, as always,

    Marcus

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Hey Marcus,

      Stephen Covey really has some great advice, doesn’t he?
      What differences have you noticed when switching off the news and stopped caring about things you cannot affect?

      For me it has really made a positive difference.

  7. Bill Park says:

    Daniel,
    Fundamentals like focus are paramount for success in all aspects of work and life. However, I think the inner circle is a bit over rated, most people consider it their safe harbor and in the business world it’s the status quo. I would say that we have been living too long in the inner circle and it’s time go out and be bold. I see the upside far more rewarding when the circle is expanding and the only way that can happen is to go outside.

    Kids today are obese because they don’t know how to go outside, and that is sad. The inner circle becomes a crutch.

    The fear of falling off the edge of the earth is getting old…

    Bill
    .02

    • Daniel M. Wood says:

      Great point Bill!
      It is important to not mix up the inner circle and the comfort zone. The inner circle shouldn’t be a hiding place, it should be everything you can change in your life and that you can influence control over, that said, it doesn’t have to be easy, comfortable or something we like doing.

      Increasing your influence requires us to work hard and also increase our comfort zone.

      What do you think?

      • Bill Park says:

        I think that people seek easy and comfortable, and you get what you seek! I’m not trying to be cynical either, it is just a plain fact. If I had to put that into a business context, that is what gives me the competitive advantage. I’m hoping the competition is enjoying their inner circle (:)

        Bill
        .02

        • Daniel M. Wood says:

          The comfort zone is dangerous. If people stay in it they will be lost. But the Inner Circle isn’t really about your comfort zone it is more about focusing on what you can change, not focusing on things like the weather.

          The comfort zone is about staying away from things that are uncomfortable.

          There are a few differences but they do look a lot the same.

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