We can consider our Circle of Influence the collection of things in life that we have the ability to directly impact through our decisions and our actions. Our Circle of Concern is the collection of everything we are aware of, whether we will ever be able to impact it or not. The first of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to Be Proactive. Stephen Covey advises us to spend our energy on the things we can impact, rather than those that our attention will be wasted on. More
ESSENTIAL ELEMENT: Goal Setting
Critical Concept: Hedging your success.
Your models and standards are powerful predictors of your success and happiness. The little voice inside your head can often tell you to stay on the couch. We are hard-wired to be lazy. When food was at a premium, your goal for the day was to find enough food to last until tomorrow. For the fortunate majority of us, this is no longer the case.
We are programmed to seek pleasure, move away from pain, and do it all with the greatest economy of energy. In regards to our internal GPS (Bonfire Genetic Positioning System), the suggestion of running a marathon is preposterous. Unless there is food under that dumbbell, you are not programmed to pick it up. If there was a crocodile in the pool with you, it would make sense to swim as fast as you can. Otherwise, expending all of that energy voluntarily is purely ridiculous. Unless you think about it.
The human mind thrives on challenges.
We are comparative animals. We love to compare ourselves to others. In fact, we know ourselves through others. We form our identities, self-image and self-worth by watching and comparing ourselves to others. And we want to be good. In fact, we want to be better.
Psychologists report that our identities are a reflection of how we perceive ourselves relative to others. We have models that set standards for us in every aspect of our lives. Since childhood, we’ve watched our mothers, fathers, siblings and friends, and studied their behavior. We have been shaped by the standards created by our environment. And we continue to be shaped.
Choose your environment wisely, as it will powerfully influence your experience.
Our environment is made up of people, places and things. We should be careful to choose environments that create the type of influence that we wish to experience. It is important to seek out those people and places that inspire you to move towards becoming the person that you want to be.
We have always watched the herd. We take social cues from those around us and we wish to be like them – and be liked by them. “We want to be connected, accepted and respected,” says author Tom Decotiis (Make it Glow).
In fact, influence masters insist that it is easier and more effective to change the environment than change people. Change the environment and you change standards - and, ultimately, performance.
To create the life that you want, create the environment that sets the standards that lead to that outcome.
Who do you spend time with? Where do you spend your time? What do you spend your time doing? Are these all in alignment with what you are trying to create?
Are you are trying to become the healthiest, fittest person that you can be? Does your environment set the right standards for that? Do you have a support system that makes it easier for you to be successful? Are you following a proven system of training that sets clear performance standards for you? Do you know what you’re doing today or where you are going with your fitness tomorrow? Are you measuring your progress?
You don’t get what you want, you get what you measure.
Research has revealed strategies that create greater chances of success in every endeavor – especially fitness. Measuring and recording your performance is a critical step in establishing tangible progress. Comparing your outcomes against a clear standard is vital behavior in progressive training. A Bonfire best practice is to clearly define your goals and objectives, set written goal dates, and use a compelling reward and penalty system. Publicly profess your intentions. Our personal identity is closely tied to our want to behave consistently in the public eye. Identify a person of influence in your life and tell them about your goals and standards. If you truly value their opinion of you, this can be a powerful contributor to your success. Put these clear standards in place and stack the deck in your favor.
In order to stifle that inner couch potato and achieve your ideal fitness and health goals, you must recruit the robust sources of influence that goal setting and clear standards provide. As they say, if you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there?
- Add activity every day in every way
- Calculate Energy Balance
- Add Functional Training
- Use variety in your workouts
- Focus on the Intensity of your workouts
- Gradually progress to a higher intensity
- Adopt the Buddy System
- Get your Spine checked by a chiropractor
- Do what moves you – have fun
- Employ Goal Setting and Clear Standards
ESSENTIAL ELEMENT: Influence and Control
Critical Concept: The Ability to Choose
We innately crave control in our lives. Control can manifest in many ways, but ultimately we need to feel safe. We want to feel a sense of influence in our destiny. We want to be able to choose. Ultimately, we are terrifically loss-averse, and the loss of freedom to choose is one of our most primal fears.
The ability to choose is the hallmark of influence.
Hard-wired into our very core are innate values that guide our experience like a GPS system (Genetic Positioning System). These values are the compass that directs our life experiences, relationships and decisions. These Innate Values are not chosen. They are inborn.
Our Belief Systems, however, are learned. They are shaped throughout our lives by our experiences, interpretations, relationships and environment. These beliefs make up our Paradigm – our viewpoint of the world. They dictate all of our behaviors, habits and lifestyle patterns. They predict what we think, what we say, what we do and what we feel. They are dynamic and heavily influenced.
Our belief systems are learned, and therefore are chosen.
We can choose better belief systems. A vital behavior for gaining greater influence in your life is the ability to choose a better belief system. Once we recognize that the paradigm that has dictated every thought, response, choice, and behavior pattern in our lives is learned, we can also recognize that it can be re-learned.
In the Bonfire Spark Resources you will find several tools and exercises that you can use to examine your current belief systems and work toward creating the beliefs that are congruent with your values and purpose.
A best practice taught by Influence Master Stephen Covey is the understanding of what he refers to as our Circle of Influence (COI). Covey teaches that our COI consists of what we think and what we do. This COI exists within a larger circle – our Circle of Concern (COC). Our COC consists of every stimulus that makes it onto our radar. Everything that registers to our sensory systems exists within our COC. He teaches that we only have influence on those things in our COI (what we think and do). Covey goes on to say that the more we focus on our COI, the larger our influence becomes. Conversely, the more time, energy and focus that we waste outside of our Circle of Influence, the less influence we enjoy.
Our lives can be reduced to a series of choices and the results of those choices. Every choice, every day, we get to shape our lives. Create an increased awareness of your Innate Values and choose Belief Systems that are in alignment with them – and watch your behaviors follow suit.
Peace of mind is chosen.