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Do you ever get so caught up in problems with clients, colleagues, results, angry customers that you lose sight of the only true thing you control, your behavior?  You are probably already sitting there thinking, this article is a waste of time.  I have to focus on customers.  I have to focus on results.  I have to focus on what my boss thinks.  Ask yourself, do you really?  Aren't results, customer interaction, how others view you really a derivative of what you do or say?  It would be very disheartening to think that you have zero control of outcomes? 

Do you want to live like that? Focusing on your Circle of Control and learning that your behavior drives results can be an enlightening moment that causes some of the stress and even frustration you experience at work or at home to be lifted.

Circle of Control: How do you break the cycle of frustration?

You can break the cycle of hopelessness and the feeling of lack of control by focusing on your behaviors and activities within your circle of control.  When we say that your behavior drives results and is the only thing you own, we mean that you own your choices, responses, attitude, implementation of learning, and so on.  So, what do these behaviors look like?  Wow, there are so many I will simply give you a few examples and move on.  If you are in sales, outside, inside, inbound, outbound, etc., are your sales results in your circle of control?  The answer is they are not, not directly that is.  Your behavior while on the call drives the result.  The behavior will look like the amount of planning and preparation you put in prior to the call, how well you executed listening skills, did you offer the right mix of products to the customer, did you cross sell or were you knowledgeable about the product and able to communicate that?  This is obviously not an inclusive list but an example of behaviors you own.  Do you see where we are headed?  You must focus on your behaviors because they are the only thing in your control.

Things you don’t control may surprise you.  You don’t control others' moods, who won the hockey game, the boss being an idiot, the snow falling or the down turn in the market.  Why do we differentiate behaviors in your circle of control and issues outside your circle of control?  Because you must know what you control to understand what you MUST focus on every minute of every day;  your own behaviors.

What's in your Circle of Control? How do Your Behaviors Drive Results?

The illustration used for Circle of Control is a simple circle.  I want to illustrate this using a circle that’s really a bull’s-eye.

The reason we picture this as a bull’s-eye is because of the need to so clearly focus on the center of the bull’s-eye to  hit it.  What happens when you let even a small amount of concentration waiver to just outside the center?  You miss the bulls-eye or the center.  The analogy holds to your daily life.  If you are thinking about hitting your production target or about how many cars you have to wash, are you focusing on the behaviors you have to exhibit to meet your goal?  The answer is no.  You must push aside all other thoughts and have the single focus on what you own, what’s in your circle of control…your behavior.

Your Behaviors Drives Results.  If you have the single focus on your behavior, the things within your circle of control, you will drive results.  If your focus waivers and you begin looking outside the center of the bulls-eye, you will not hit the target.  So, focus on what you own, what’s in your circle of control, your behaviors.