I know for me, October is a bonkers time of year. My calendar is generally full, literally. I think I’ve had one day this month without a work commitment scheduled. I know my limits after doing this so long, but when the stress starts to knock, I’m well aware of it. I don’t get stressed out nearly as much as I used to, mainly thanks to my mediation and other person growth practices. I can see it coming now, and I know what I need to do to stay healthy and not burn out.
Once of the things that helps me is understanding my sphere of influence, and acting from there. If you haven’t read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People it’s a great read and a business classic I think at this point.
Before we dive in, if you’d like the worksheet that accompanies this episode so you can work through this exercise when you’re not walking or driving or doing something else, head to jennings.photo/49 (that’s the number, not spelled out) for a copy of your spheres of influence worksheet. It’s a simple, easy to work through model that will bring you a lot of clarity when you’re feeling overwhelm and stress sneak in. That’s jennings.photo/49 to get a copy of today’s worksheet on getting a handle on stress levels during a busy shooting season. jennings.photo/49
A lot of folks tell me they have trouble knowing what to do first because they have so much on their plate. They get great ideas for running their business in the shower or cooking dinner, but when they sit down to do anything it’s a blank. I get this too. It’s normal, especially for motivated people who are used to getting things done.
This technique is helpful for understanding your priorities based on if they are low or high, and taking action from there.
The first circle to understand, is your circle of concern. Again, if you’d like a visual for this, head to jennings.photo/49 to grab today’s worksheet. Your circle of concern includes all of the stuff we are concerned about: money, the environment, our health, traffic, our relationships, etc.
If you’ve grabbed the worksheet at jennings.photo/49, this is where I invite you to pause this for a minute and brain dump the items in your circle of concern. Give it a minute or two and we’ll keep going. I think you’ll be surprised on much crap we constantly worry about.
Next, as you’ll see on the worksheet, nested inside our circle of concern is a peaceful little eye of the storm called our circle of influence. This represents all of the concerns that we have any amount of control over. They are things we can do something about.
Stephen Covey defines proactive as
“being responsible for our own lives…..our
behaviour is a function of our decisions,
not our conditions.
Proactive people focus on issues within
their circle of influence. They work on
things they can do something about. The
nature of their energy in doing this is
positive, enlarging and magnifying. They
increase their Circle of Influence
He also says that reactive people tend to neglect issues in their circle of influence. Their focus is elsewhere and the circle of influence shrinks.
If you’re following along on the worksheet, take a minute or two now to move to the second model. Here is where you can really see what’s bothering you and what you might be able to prioritize better.
For example, if your concerns include: blogging on time, getting more clients, getting out of a toxic work environment, and organizing your finances you might notice that all of these are within your ability to change.
What are the steps you need to take for each item? Can you schedule them or plan to work on them a little each day?
It seems really simple, I know, but it’s a very powerful exercise in feeling empowered and more organized. If you grab the worksheet, you’ll find examples of language that will help you distinguish between proactive and reactive items, too. There’s a link in the show notes to grab a copy.