Minding my circle of influence

I was about to procrastinate this blog then I decided it is just becoming too muchi!!! 😅 I understand why I do not feel like writing though. The rona situation sunk in this week and left me wallowing in all types of hopeless feelings. Some context – even on normal days my mind is usually overthinking things: How will they perceive it? When is the best time? Is this the right choice? Does this make me happy? Is it okay that this makes me happy? What if what makes them happy is what makes me happy? Am I too much? Should I have really said that? Are they mad at me for not responding in that way? Did I say the right thing? So now you can imagine with rona added to the mix🙆🏿‍♀️. Am I doing enough? Am I too hard on my sisters? Why can’t I just chill? Did I wash my hands properly? What happens to this gap year? Do we have enough stock in case of a lock down?Did I do my breathing exercises? Wait, have you done BSF today? Will you achieve your goals?…It also does not help that the variables keep changing.

I am currently working to conquer my overwhelming anxiety. It is why a big part  of this gap year is to pause aka worry less and trust God more. I am in the process of exploring the root causes for this anxiety. So far this is the list: my being a first born, my personality, my desire to be in control and I think a bit of it could be genetic too. I had two panic attacks and a breakdown this year – tightness in my chest and stomach, short breaths, dizziness – and that is when I decided to seek help. Therapy was short-lived, but it helped me see the ways in which my anxiety is double edged. On one side it helps me achieve by pushing me to excellence. On the other it is crippling where nothing I do can meet the often-unrealistic high standards I set for myself. Anyway, I am working through it and this post is about one of the tools that is helping me in this journey.

Circle of Concern | Circle of Influence Tool

I was introduced to this tool in my first year at ALA through these amazing journey journals they gave us in our entrepreneurial leadership course. The circle of concern and circle of influence model was adapted from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This tool falls under the first habit on being proactive. This is the part I am supposed to insert a picture of that page of the journal but instead this is the part where I explain that in an effort to clean my phone’s screen I water damaged it (no further questions, please🙈) so I will type it out:

They defined the circle of concern as the external factors that affect us but are outside our control such as parents’ finances, difficult SAT questions, weather and school policies. The circle of influence was defined as the internal reactions which we choose in response to the things that impact us such as attitude,outlook, language and personal actions.

Here’s a diagram from the internets:

circle-of-influence-circle-of-concern

There is a similar chart on the rona situation in circulation which I kept seeing in different forms.

With the corona pandemic it feels like the circle of concern is constantly expanding as the circle of influence shrinks. And the feelings of helplessness this produces sucks (to say the least) and I just want to brood about it until it is all over but I am 25 now so it is not a good look, hehe. But seriously, I think the tool and its forms were timely reminders to choose less reactive/more proactive responses to the situation. So far that’s looking like taking the following three steps for me:

Remember who is in control

This varies for different people and defining the WHO for myself has been many a source of my existential crises. However, I believe that God is in control of my life, the world and the universe. God has been the one through whom I live, move and have my being. Sometimes, I do not trust God as much as I should, but we are getting there. A great advantage of this self-isolation is that I am spending more time in fellowship with God and God’s Word. It helps to know that there is someone almighty and sovereign watching over everything including my circle of concern. The feeling of surrender and peace that this knowledge produces is freeing.

Mind my own business aka my circle of influence

You would think this would be simple enough especially because it is ultimately the easier thing to do but nope. Catch Chebet trying to figure everything but what is in her circle of influence. Why are people not staying home? Why isn’t the government doing enough about that? How long is this going to last? Is there enough? Are these symptoms of the rona instead of my period? Will the shops close? I need to stop and focus on what is in my circle of influence instead. My attitude, self-care rituals, self-development, big sistering, being a good friend and neighbour, extending kindness where I can, expressing gratitude…

Take it a day at a time

I have found myself dwelling in the past or future. This situation can end in a number of ways , none of which I have controlled over. In my best case scenario I get to tell the children , who will be living in a healthier more balanced world, about how crazy these times were and how we conquered the rona. Whatever the case, I get to control how I live in my now. I get to choose to seize the second, the minute, the hour, the day! 

I think this is a good point to burst into hymn 

🎼Yesterday’s gone, sweet Jesus

And tomorrow may never be mine

Help me today

Show me the way

One day at a time🎼

Sending peaceful, calming and healing prayers your way. ✨✨✨