Welcome to My Inner Circle

Posted on November 11, 2010. Filed under: Branding, Business, Career, Civility, Corporate Ethics, Field Guides, Job-Seeking, Life, Manners, Network, Newly-minted Graduates, Pocket-Books, Recruitment, Self-Help, Social Skills, women |

In life, you stand in the middle of three concentric circles; the better your ability to understand each of these circles, the better your outlook on life.  New to Chicago, I had taken a sales position whereby this concept was described to me.  I share it with you now as a way of paying forward a key piece of knowledge that literally changed my life for the better.

The three circles are as follows:

  • The Innermost Circle…

Circle of Control = YOU

  • The Middle Circle…

Circle of Influence = YOUR ABILITY TO PERSUADE

  • The Outer Circle…


At the center of the Innermost Circle, the Circle of Control, stands you and you alone.  This circle is all about you: what you think, what you do, and how you feel about what you think and what you do.  These are the only things in life over which you have direct control: your thoughts and your actions.  It is up to you to make the most of yourself here.  You can choose to be the active creator of your life.  Or, you can assume the position of a victim, by blaming others for your failures.  As an active creator, you are accountable and responsible for thoughts and actions, while a victim chooses to make denial a part of his or her everyday experience.  In short, you create the You that the world sees each day by choosing to be the best version of yourself that you can be, and by choosing to do the best that you can do.

Sitting between those things that you control, and those things which are beyond your control is the Middle Circle, the Circle of Influence.  It is here that you may or may not be able to persuade someone to think or act in a manner that would please you.  The old saying, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink,” comes to mind here.  You do not control what others will think, do or say, but you can improve your odds for a positive outcome by considering their feelings and circumstances.  Act in a way that exhibits compassion and grace.  While you may not persuade everyone to go along with your ideas, you are likely to have better interactions both in business and in life.

Finally, the Outer Circle, the Circle of Serendipity.  Here is where life happens while you are making other plans. You can welcome or dread the arrival of these unpredictable events outcomes in your life.  Regardless of how you choose to characterize life’s surprises, there is little sense in worrying yourself over them.  Good or bad, you are on the sidelines when it comes to these situations.  Better to keep moving forward in your life aided by the knowledge that you can control how you choose to react to these events when they arise.

Effective management of your own Circles of Control and Influence seems to greatly increase the likelihood that the majority of unpredictable events that come your way will be positive and benefit you.  The more positive energy you exert, the more compassionate interactions you enjoy with the people in your life, the more gracious you are in accepting disappointments; the more likely you are to be blessed by a welcome surprise delivered at your feet when you find yourself standing in the Circle of Serendipity.

The three Circles of Control, Influence, and Serendipity serve as an easy way to measure the day-to-day circumstances that come your way in life.  Make it a habit to filter the choices and decisions you make using these three circles as guidelines. You will soon discover that the energy once wasted on trying to control and influence those things beyond your control and/or influence is now free to engage in the things over which you do have control and influence.  Your approach to life can be just that simple.

Be well. Be Yourself.  You are enough!

© Kathy Corday and The Networking Field Guide®, 2010. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kathy Corday and The Networking Field Guide ® with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. http://www.alchemymediagroup.com.

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