Of all Steven R. Covey’s powerful ideas and frameworks (I am a HUGE Steven Covey fan!!), my absolute favorite is the Circle of Influence vs. The Circle of Concern.

Steven asks us to consider: how do we spend a majority of our time?  Do we focus our time and energy on things about which we have no real control?  Or, do we focus our efforts on things we can impact and do something about?  

He calls the former our Circle of Concern.  The more time we spend here, the more helpless and inadequate we feel.  He calls the latter our Circle of Influence.  Spending time here creates positive energy and momentum.  

At the heart of the Circle of Influence is our ability to make and keep commitments.  We can make promises and keep them.  We can set goals and achieve them.  Covey tells us that making and keeping commitments is the foundation for personal effectiveness.  

It is also foundational to being trustworthy.  As we make and keep commitments, even small ones, we begin to establish our inner integrity.  Over time, this ability allows us to take on more responsibility – and earning more trust.

The best part?  Making and keeping commitments is something largely in our own control.  

It’s something we can focus on and get better at. 


Reflection: Where am I spending my time and energy – in my circle of influence or in my circle of concern?  

Action: Intentionally track the commitments I make this week.  

What did you think of this post?

1 Comment

  1. Spencer Siino Reply

    Very interesting. Making and keeping reasonable promises is more attractive to me than setting goals. I know goal setting is common, but I’ve often found it hard to determine what goals to set – the ones that seem easy to accomplish are almost not worthy of being considered a “goal”, and I’m sometimes reticent to set worthwhile goals given the uncertainty of success. Can’t wait for the blog on goals!

Write A Comment