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.
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.