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Who was that masked man? Batman? The Lone Ranger? Oh, just another courier. At least contactless delivery means no one has to see us. What day is it?
Pushing Your Buttons
Sometimes it feels like the only thing we can control is the remote, and we’re all out of Netflix. Life seems paused, but at the same time world events are rushing forward at a terrifying pace. The best way to cope with chaos is to identify what we can actually effectively do, then do these things. It’s best explained by Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence model. Friend of The Pickering Group Suzi McAlpine has a great post on why it’s worth revisiting here.
Going in Circles
The model is simple – you can even make your own if you’re feeling short of a lockdown project. Feel free to send yours in to us here at TPG, there may even be a small prize for the best one (there isn’t). The model is just three concentric rings, and just like the ones growing around our midsections, each one larger than the last.
Ring My Bell
The outer ring, the largest because it’s absolutely full of stuff, is called your garage. No, wait, it’s called the Circle of Concern. Polar ice caps, TikTok, Kanye - yes, we’re concerned, even horrified about things in this circle, but right now we can’t do anything about them. They’re not for us to fix, and worrying about them won’t help anyone. Yeezus knows. Reassuringly, the people whose job it is to worry about Covid-19 are getting on with things – read McKinsey’s report on vaccine progress here.
The next ring is the Circle of Influence. These are the things you can have some impact on. We can motivate our teams with positive feedback and encouragement. We can wear masks, wash hands and be a good example for those around us. We can share hilarious memes on soc med, and not share fake news. In the Ted Talk we posted on social media this week, Margaret Heffernan talked about the human skills we need in the face of an uncertain future – preparedness, coalition-building, experimentation, imagination, bravery. These things, far more than efficiency and technology, prepare us for both personal and economic resilience, and they’re things we can embody and work on right now. We can use our powers for good. Who’s the masked crusader now?
At the Controls
The third circle, sometimes missing from the model, is the Circle of Control. These are the things that we have direct control over. The channel, yes. The dishes, sure. If you can’t put the cap back on the wine, at least collect it for the Lions Club: they recycle them and buy dialysis machines for kids with the money. Open another, it’s for charity!
The Circle of Control includes looking after ourselves, so that we’re not adding more problems for our future self to cope with later. Getting some sun, some exercise, water, an occasional carrot, supports our wellbeing in the longer term. While we can’t control the behaviour of others (it’s way out there in the Circle of Concern, where we can be mad at it but not affect it) we can control our responses. It’s not always easy. It takes practice and decision to pause and check our reactions. But the energy we’re spending arguing with Dave Of Spreydon on Twitter about whether masks are secretly part of Kanye’s plan to infiltrate the courier network and spy on our shoes or whatever could be more usefully channelled into real self-care.
The Outer Limits
Let the Circle of Concern be what it is, distant from you. If you imagine the model is a target, you don’t even want to aim at the outer ring. The bullseye is where the payoff is. We’re literally inviting you to be self-centred, at least right now, when the seemingly pressing issues are beyond our control. And don’t forget, we’re here for you. With the memes, obvs, and with the training. If you’ve got personal development on your inner circle list, get in touch. We can come to you (virtually) with bespoke options. Or check out our blog, or follow us on social media. We’ve got it on lock. Down! Lockdown, get it? Okay sorry, lost control there.
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