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Re-focus and re-framing in times of uncertainty

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  • What’s occupying your mind currently?
  • What’s taking up most of your headspace?
  • What is worrying you right now?
  • What’s causing you concern? 


Stephen Covey talked about the circles of concern and influence in his famous book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. In the context of the current pandemic, the circle of concern might contain the endless supply of information supplied to us via whatever news streams we choose to access or media platforms that we prefer to frequent. It could include the impact on the economy, the political dimension, on our mental well-being, physical health or livelihood, the projections and predictions as to who or what is behind the outbreak, on what might happen next or how long it will go on for, the dreaded death toll or other equally alarming sets of statistics and measurements, what people are posting or sharing, what friends and acquaintances, colleagues or family members are saying or claiming, fuelled and influenced by their own preferred channels, outlets and sources of course. That’s a lot to be concerned about right?! And it can consume a considerable amount of our energy and resolve. If we allow it to…


For me, the crucial element to understand in Covey’s model is that these circles both expand and contract depending on what and where we place our focus. If we obsess over the myriad of ‘external’ output and opinion that makes up our circle of concern, that circle of concern will expand as we place more and more emphasis on that which we cannot control; on other peoples’ behaviour. As a consequence, this in turn leaves less and less space for that which we can have an element of influence over: our own ‘internal’ output or in other words: how we choose to behave ourselves.

However, if you flip that. If you re-focus and place more importance on that which you can have an element of control over – your circle of influence, including what you read, what you watch, what you think, and how you choose to respond to it all, what you post or share yourself, what you say, who and what you surround yourself with: in other words, your behaviour, then you can start to shrink that circle of concern, and expand that which you can have an influence over, ultimately making a choice as to how you experience the current pandemic event rather than simply receiving what is presented to you. And it is in this way, that you can ‘re-frame’ the current situation for yourself, for your loved ones and you also ‘reframe’ it for your colleagues, team-members, clients and contacts too.Slide2

We have far more control over ourbehaviour and how we choose to respond than we perhaps think, and at any point in time can actually decide what to place our focus upon. So rather than expend all your energy and resolve on what is of concern to you but ultimately beyond your control, I urge you to re-focus and re-frame on what you can directly control or influence. Easier said than done right? So, how can you actually achieve this? Well in my next post I will share an approach that is working for me right now and that might also help you too.

Thank you for listening.

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