A Tale of Two Circles
Stephen R. Covey was the one who said that there are two circles: Circle of Concern and Circle of Influence. The Circle of Concern covers everything for which you have a concern but which is beyond your control and influence. You can do almost nothing to change them. Eg the weather, terrorism, government debt, Abacha loot, your boss having a bad day, Shell’s hiring policy,the economy, UK’s visa application process etc. The Circle of Influence covers those things which you do have control or influence over.
This includes a very long list ranging from what we want to do in life, where to live or school, waking up time, response to events, food to eat, friends, etc. So then, where does seeking and getting a job fall into – Circle of Concern or Circle of Influence? At this junction I wish we could ask Stephen Covey if it is possible for some things to be in both circles. “I need a job like yesterday”! Is that within my circle of Concern or circle of Influence?
For if it is within my Circle of Concern, then there is nothing I can do about it and no one should blame me that I haven’t got a job. That then explains perfectly why I still don’t have a job. But if it is within my circle of influence . . . wait a minute, could it possibly be within my circle of influence? Can I control it? The question on your mind would then be: “How come I don’t have me a job if it is within my circle of influence”? Or if it is outside my control, thus inside my Circle of Concern, are there things I can do to, say, increase my Circle of Influence so as to get things that are outside it into it? e.g, like me getting a job.
ShrinkCircle of Concern by Enlarging Circle of Influence
“As we look at the things within our Circle of Concern it becomes apparent that there are some things over which we have no real control and others that we can do something about. We could identify those concerns that we can do something about by enclosing them within a smaller Circle of Influence. By determining which of these two circles is the focus of most of our time and energy, we can discover much about the degree of our proactivity.
Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. Their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their circle of influence to increase. Reactive people on the other hand, focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern. They focus on the weakness of other people, the problems in the environment, and circumstances over which they have no control. Their focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization.
The negative energy generated by that focus, combined with neglect in areas they think they could so something about, causes their Circle of Influence to shrink. As long as we are working within our Circle of Concern, we empower the things within it to control us. We aren’t taking the proactive initiative necessary to effect positive change. It is only when we focus on our Circle of Influence that we can create the positive energy that is needed to change ourselves and which eventually will influence others. By working on ourselves instead of worrying about conditions, we are able to influence the conditions. (www.centreforconfidence.co.uk)
Seeking and Getting a Job: Circle of Concern or Circle of Influence?
Getting a job is within your Circle of Concern while seeking a job is in your Circle of Influence. So let’s give Covey a little nudge by saying that the final outcome of being employed is composed of activities within both the Circle of Concern and the Circle of Influence. But recall that we can reduce our Circle of Concern by increasing our Circle of Influence, and that people are categorized as mostly reactive or proactive depending on which circle they mostly focus on.
“Instead of reacting to or worrying about conditions over which they have little or no control, proactive people focus their time and energy on things they can control. The problems, challenges, and opportunities we face fall into two areas – Circleof Concern and Circle of Influence.Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about: health, children, problems at work. Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern–things over which they have little or no control: the national debt, terrorism, the weather. Gaining an awareness of the areas in which we expend our energies is a giant step in becoming proactive”(ref. www.stephencovey.com).
Here is my preliminary conclusion: Our Circle of Influence grows with our effective exercise of personal choice.Meaning that there are ways in which proactive job seekers can increase the chance of being employed by reducing the uncontrollable Circle of Concern. The Bible said, Seek and you shall find. So how do you seek a job and find it? The answer: just hire yourself!
Just Hire Yourself
Hire yourself today. Starting right now. Hiring yourself is a proactive way (a Circle of Influence action) of responding to the ambition of getting a job (a Circle of Concern area). You cannot control the hiring policy or hiring plan of Shell, or Unilever or GTBank or PricewaterhouseCoopers. Let’s make it clearer; you can’t hire yourself into any of these companies. But you can place yourself in a position that ensures you are the one they hire immediately they are ready.
Start by hiring yourself. This is the best way to go from being unemployed to employed. It is one that has a money back guarantee. It would take effort and patience but it sure works. What is the alternative to this? The alternative is a reactive approach to job search. A Circle of Concern focused approach where you react or worry about conditions over which you have little or no control. Gradually, reactive response leads to less-reactive and then eventually to no-response.
After this, you enter into a state of just hoping and waiting. Hoping and waiting and doing nothing. I urge you not to follow that path. Hear Denis Waitley: “Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all cost and that is the risk of doing nothing.” Or Theodore Roosevelt:“It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause, who at best knows achievement and who at the worst if he fails at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.”
Let’s fast forward to a point where you have now taken my advice and have gone ahead to hire yourself. You have now hired yourself into You Incorporated. What is the business of You Incorporated? What is the mission of You Inc? Its mission is to undertake a project called BE – DO – HAVE. This is a project that ends with you arriving at your desired job or at least a job away from your desired job. I agree with Zig Ziglar that, “You’ve got to be before you can do, and do before you can have.”‘Be – Do – Have’ is a project that helps you answer and activate two/three questions that would lead to you attainingyour desired goal.
To ‘Have’ the career/job you desire, ask yourself – “What must I Become?” and “What must I Do?”Before we begin to delayer Be – Do, let us take a look at Have. Before you ask yourself what you must become and what you must do, you need to define what you want to have. For if we do not define the end from the beginning, we might just find that we made good speed to a wrong destination. Ouch! that would be so painful.
There is a reason we have different categories and brands of cars for different types of roads – so that you can, upon determining your destination, move next to choose a suitable car. You may have inherent love for a Ferrari sports car, but if you have to head through a rocky pot-hole ridden road, wisdom compels that you select a different type of car. Hence the first task on the project Be – Do – Have, being undertaken by you in You Incorporated, is to define what career and/or job that you seek.
Hiring Yourself: Job One
Important questions to ask “What type of career do I wish to pursue?” “What does a fulfilled career mean to me?” “What jobs, organisations and industries would help me achieve this career?”“What is different or unique about working in certain organisations and industries?” “Who are my model career or business people?” Do I even know the qualities I admire in them? I don’t agree with the notion that you should do any job just because they say there are no jobs. You could accept a job as a stop gap measure because you don’t want to be idle or for the opportunity to learn something specific, or a chance to earn some money. But at least know what a job is to you; stop gap or a career pursuit.
“A creative job search begins with personal discovery. When you know yourself better, you then know what you can naturally do better. Armed with this knowledge, each of us begins to get an idea of the purpose of our lives. “Self-discovery is the road to self-mastery” – Anon. Finding out who we are, is our first step towards success. The first assignment that nature bestows on all of us is called, “You, discover yourself” – Aruosa Osemwegie, Getting a Job is a Job. “Most people dislike their current jobs because they accepted positions just to earna buck, rather than those in alignment with their personal interests, skills, passions,values. They can do these jobs but lack the motivation and desire to do their jobs well,and as a result, they wind up unhappy and are often fired.Have you ever taken the time to define your ideal job? If not, you should! Investingthe time to define your ideal job will be one of the wisest investments you will ever make”- Todd Bermont, Ten Insider Secrets to a Winning Job Search.
Todd Bermont has a few exercises in his book that can be helpful in defining an ideal career/job, called the four P’s of career alignment: Purpose, Passions, Principles, and Possibilities.Purpose is why you are here. Passions are what really motivate you. Principles arethe values that are important to you. Possibilities are all the jobs in life that you arecapable of doing with the talent you possess.The outcome of Job One is to have at least a partial discovery of your purpose, passions, principles and possibilities.