Build a Portfolio Career

Building a Portfolio Career

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Midlife Worries - Focus your Energy

Do you find yourself worrying over all sorts of things? Perhaps you worry about whether or not the weather’s going to be hot on your holiday. Are you concerned that peace will never be reached in The Middle East? Do you find yourself stressing that interest rates might rise, making the mortgage more expensive?

Steven Covey, in his book ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’ highlights the difference between those things that concern us and those things which we can influence. The ‘two circles’ diagram below highlights this difference.

The two circles represent the areas where you spend your time and energy. Many Midlifers focus too much time and energy in the outer circle, their Circle of Concern. This is where they spend their time worrying about things that are outside of their control, things that they can’t influence, however much they agonise over them – the weather, the Middle East and interest rates, for example. Preoccupying yourself by worrying about issues such as this is a waste of time and a waste of your energy.

Steven Covey identified that highly effective people worry about things that they can influence, they don’t waste their time worrying about things over which they have no control. They spend their time and energy inside the inner circle, thinking of ways to address the issues that they can influence, where they can actually make a difference.

Where do you spend most of your time and energy?


In the outer circle, write down all of the things that you worry about or spend time thinking about on a regular basis. Take each one and ask yourself ‘What can I do about this to change the situation?’ If there is something that you can do to improve the situation, write this issue inside the second circle, the Circle of Influence and delete it from the outer circle.
When you have completed this exercise you will have split your issues into two sections – those that you can’t do anything about and those that you can influence. It is the latter set of issues, those inside your Circle of Influence, which you should spend your time on. Ignore the rest – if you can’t do anything about them, why waste your time and energy worrying about them?

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  1. Good idea Rob, We all get so much news from round the world that we can't influence, it is easy to get bogged down with worry and anxiety. So much better to identify the areas we can influence and then work on them. If we are worrying about something, we should change thoughts to what steps can we take to help directly or what steps can we take to help someone who is in a better position to influence but needs some assistance.


  2. The world's problems would handle themselves if we all manage ourselves as individuals.

    If I manage myself... my sphere of influence becomes more manageable.

    I watch "out of control parents"... who wonder why they don't have influence over their kids. Duh!