what is circle of influence

March 11, 2021

What Is A Circle Of Influence And How Do You Build It?


Living in such a fast-paced world has forced us to forget the power of our circle of influence.

Why does burnout seem to be the norm in our society today? It’s because we think that pushing ourselves too far is what strengthens us. We have this mindset that we can control everything and that we can save everybody. We want to challenge our boundaries. We want to push ourselves. 

Well, there is pushing our limits, and then there is overdoing it. 

Instead of trying to solve everything (even things that don’t concern you), it is important that you learn how to focus on the aspects of your life that you have control over. There’s no point in obsessing with things that you can’t directly affect. This way, you get to prioritize, organize, and manifest only the relevant goals for you.

What is the Circle of Influence?

Coined by Stephen Covey in 1989, the two circles that reflect our worries in life are called the circle of concern and the circle of influence. The circle of concern refers to all the things that we care about while the circle of influence includes only the specific concerns that we can actually affect. 

For example, your circle of concern can range from your health and finances to global warming and wars. While all of these are valid concerns, you can only directly affect your health and finances. Therefore, the latter two are a part of your circle of influence – anything that you can address with your own capabilities and strength.

Does it mean that we should only care about our circle of influence?

Yes and no. While of course, your primary responsibility is to address your own concerns, it doesn’t mean that you will turn a blind eye to all the issues that do not fall under your circle of influence. It doesn’t mean that you will not engage in political conversations or help out charities. Knowing your circle of influence only means that you get to prioritize which should come first in your life. After all, you can only look after the world once you are done looking after yourself.

Determining Your Own Circle of Influence

Knowing your personal circle of influence all boils down to your sense of self. You have to get in tune with your desires, weaknesses, and strengths. You have to determine what is important to you – the things that you are willing to invest your emotional energy in. When you are self-aware, you are cautious of the things that you try to change. You know when to charge and when to back off.

To determine which things should fall under your circle of influence, here are some steps you can follow:

1. Write down all your concerns.

When you make a list of all the things that concern you, you get to map out which ones are important, which ones are petty, and which ones are the things that you can actually change. After writing your issues down, it is important that you also categorize them into groups that you see fit. 

For example, you can write two groups: “things I can do something about” and “things that are beyond my control”. From the name itself, those concerns that fall under things that are beyond your control should take the backseat. Those that fall under the first group can be further subdivided into “things that I can solve myself” and “things that I need help with”. This way, you will be able to allocate your energy to things that really matter to you.

2. Observe your emotional cues.

Raise your emotional vibration. It is vital that you know the specific triggers to your emotions. If an issue in your circle of influence is causing you overwhelming stress, maybe it’s time to assess your approach in addressing it. Are you doing it right? Are you forcing or hurrying things? Is this concern really something you can directly affect or did you miscategorize it? 

If it is a person, pay attention to how each of your interactions makes you feel. Progress should feel light. Both of you should feel this comforting energy when you’re together. You don’t have to feel an immediate spiritual connection, but you just have to feel like the wall between you is slowly going down. If you see that the other person is not responding to your influence, follow your intuition in changing your approach. These emotional cues will lead you to your next steps.

3. Create an action plan.

Once you have figured out what your circle of influence consists of, you can now make a better judgment of how you want things to unfold. Think of your circle of influence as a grocery list. It is a guided draft that tells you the things that you need to get, and most importantly, the things that you can afford. Because nobody has the energy for everything, it is essential that you know how to properly allocate your resources. 


Already mastered the art of addressing your circle of influence? Then it’s time to satisfy your circle of concern. Although these are the things that you have no direct effect on, it is still possible to participate in larger movements that aim to address them. For example, you can be a climate change advocate or join a group that fights discrimination. Addressing your circle of concern doesn’t mean you have to solve them, it just means you choose to be a part of the change that you want to see.

Expanding Your Circle of Influence

Expanding your circle of influence is no easy feat. This only means that your emotional energy can accommodate more work. If you want to challenge yourself by adding more things to your circle of influence, you have to make sure that you are equipped with the best self-care. The more you tend to yourself, the higher level of influence you can spread onto things and people. Sustaining your energy is the key.

Another thing that you need to remember is the importance of shared goals. As you expand your circle of influence, you can ask for help from people that you trust. You can join a group with the same vision. Or you can link up with someone who knows better about the issue than you do. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others, especially when you decide to jump to your circle of concern too.

Final Word

It could take a lot of spiritual cleansing before you could get to the deepest core of your concerns and desires. The circle of influence and the circle of concern are not just mere tasks to get you through the day. They are concerns that affect the quality of life you’re living. The more you neglect them, the farther you are pulled from your divine purpose. 

The key to finding your circle influence is to start now. It doesn’t matter if you can’t quite figure it out yet, what’s important is you’re taking small steps towards it. As you navigate through these things, you will realize how much unecessary stressed is caused by issues that are not even relevant to you. Determining your circle of influence means determining your path to a more peaceful yet meaningful life.

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