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Monday, February 13, 2006

Circle Recognition

From Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People calendar for 2006:

Another excellent way to become more self-aware regarding our own degree of proactivity is to look at where we focus our time and energy. We each have a wide range of concerns --- our health, our children, problems at work, the national debt. we could separate those from things in which we have no particular mental or emotional involvement by creating a "Circle of Concern".

As we look at those things within our Circle of Concern, it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about. We could identify those concerns in the latter group by circumscribing them within a smaller "Circle of Influence"

By determining which of these two circles is the focus of most of our time and energy, we can discover much about the degree of our proactivity.

I like this concept. I added my 2 cents to create this diagram of three circles.

The center circle, Ownership, recognizes that there are things that once we start them, they are ours. We can ask for help but the responsibility for them is purely ours. Making your marriage work, raising your children, paying your taxes, finding meaningful and satisfying work... no one else has this responsibility but you.

The second circle, Influence, picks up from Covey's thought and for me recognizes that there are things in this area that should not be ignored. You will notice some changes in the topics that I will write about due to this realization that I have come to recently. Some of the political issues locally and nationally have too much potential to affect the future that I and my family will face, the time has come to put them in the scope of my action. I will not venture willy-nilly into this area. It is fraught with all kinds of dangers but I can no longer just sit idle when there is a call to action.

The larger circle, Awareness, recognizes that the world is a rather large place. We do need to focus on our Ownership and Influence space but we can not ignore the wider world. Awareness most of the time should be sufficient to avoid some surprises coming from there.

As this first pass on the circles, you will note that I have not put any particular items into the circle diagram itself other than talking to some as examples of what would go there. I want this concept to linger a bit, settle in, play with the thought of it before taking the next step and starting to pin specific items to the circles.

The idea that this would be an evolving diagram is intriguing. How does one create the diagram and almost recreate it at each significant event? The softness and changeability of the web should provide some flexibility in this area.

What do you think?
How would you define your circles?

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