In a world where the name of the game is uncertainty and change, it can be difficult to know where to focus your energy, how to manage expectations, and where to start taking action first.
With that being said, let’s talk about control, influence, and everything else (I even provided a lovely graph for you).
This represents where you have 100% power (e.g., your action, your inaction, your decisions, your feelings, your day-to-day life, etc.).
This lies adjacent to you. You can comment on things here and offer your opinions and wishes, but at the end of the day, something or someone else has the final say.
This is furthest away from your area of control. You can have your opinions, your thoughts, your hopes and dreams, but everything that falls within this circle is going to do what it’s going to do, with or without you.
Now, sometimes things that fall within the “Influence” and “Everything Else” circles happen to go our way and we get a false sense of control (e.g., “This person did this thing because I made them” or “This thing happened because I told it to”).
That's a false sense of control.
Things in these circles might go the way you want, but that’s because the people and things in control made it so. In short, someone else is flipping the switch—you just get to benefit from the light that now shines.
Why does this matter?
Because one of the biggest mistakes you can make is miscalculating the size of these circles and putting things in the wrong spot.
This under-/overestimation and mislabeling is why we get frustrated when things don’t go as planned, feel powerless because things are “pointless,” and remain silent because we don’t think what we say and do matters.
So review these circles and consider:
Are you making the most of the things you can control? (e.g., what action can you specifically take in the spaces you occupy that will impact how you experience things? This action can be related to mindset, what you say and do, as well as what you don't say and do.)
Are you influencing what you can? (e.g., holding people and organizations accountable, sharing what you know with others, etc.)
Are you correctly identifying “Everything Else”? (e.g., what is your hill to climb? what and who are in the "Everything Else" circle that have things you can control or influence?)
What reassignments do you need to make? Remember, things can be reassigned at any point.
It is so damn freeing to know where the things in our lives actually lie. Take it from someone I coached through graduating, planning a multi-state move, job searching, and (re)scheduling a wedding (four of the most stressful life events mind you), on top of a global pandemic:
... The advice that you gave me over the past two years were instrumental in my ability to succeed. I’m still a work in progress, but so much better equipped because of you. ... I don’t have much news because of how much COVID has slowed everything down, but... I’ve focused on what I can control versus what I can’t. ... It took a lot of revisiting my notes from our last meeting (like a whole lot) to be at peace with all of this change, but I got there thanks to you.
This level of peace can be yours, too. Click here to set up a consultation so we can discuss how.
Because in a world where you only have so much power, the least you can do is truly control your life.