Six years ago I felt trapped. I had jumped across the fence thinking the grass was greener, but the vines that were climbing up my legs and constricting around my arms felt anything but green. This side of the fence had its challenges too which made me feel hopeless and helpless.
So what did I do about it?
I focused on what was within my circle of control.
Ya’ll the stack of leadership, personal growth, and self help books that I’ve flipped through working on my circle of control could build a fence. I don’t adopt each and every one, hook, line and sinker, but each one gives me little tidbits of insight, little glimmers of things that I can improve on.
Everytime I take the boys to Jiu Jitsu at least one of the professors or coaches says, “Just 1% better, just get 1% better everyday.” So I did that. I worked on my delivery of information. I worked on how I asked for help. I worked on how I gave feedback. I worked on having realistic expectations. I worked on following the chain of command. I worked on being more concise in my communication. I worked, and I worked, and I worked.
I was persistent.
My circle of control started widening and became a circle of influence. The things I had once thought were beyond my control, the things I had tried to work on letting go, started to change ever so slightly. I was leading by example and things, and people, were changing. Short-tempered, hotheads were exercising control and patience. Introverted, passive aggressive, coworkers started having healthy dialogue. Hard-nosed, results driven, managers started to say thank you.
It wasn’t always perfect, there were back slides, but it was 1% better every day.
Recently, I started reading 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In the book Steven Covey talks about the circle of control, circle of influence, and circle of concern. He teaches the reader to focus on their circle of control. To make change from the inside out and to take baby steps.
Now anyone who knows me, knows I love being righ,t and we all love when our thoughts and opinions are validated. So needless to say, I’m loving this book.
So be persistent. Focus on your circle of control and watch your influence grow.