02 Apr The Circle of Influence
It looks like many of us are becoming overwhelmed with how rapid and extreme the changes have been in the past few weeks. And rightfully so. The amount of fear and uncertainty present is unprecedented. Talking with a lot of people this week I see three important background issues:
1. Do you consume the media, or do you get consumed by it
Which one are you?
Depending on your profile you may be the kind of person who thrives the more information you have? If so, learning as much as possible about what’s happening may be soothing to you – up to a point…. Then there is a neurotic tendency to fall into anxiety and negativity.
However, if you’re like a lot of us, you might feel overwhelmed with what’s happening from the start. What’s more, the brain only has a certain capacity. The more you feed it with the news, the more bandwidth you’re consuming by trying to make meaning from the meaningless — leaving far less available for other, more productive pursuits and attention to yourself and other people.
If you’ve been feeling rattled after consuming the media, we recommend a media diet only allowing yourself to check what’s happening twice a day. 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes at night. Max. Ideally even less. The panic is far more contagious than the actual virus… Be informed, then move on.
The key point: consume the media, but don’t be consumed BY the media.
2. Reorient your focus to what you CAN influence
A big thing that calms us down as humans is remembering our sense of autonomy and agency. Instead of looking at all the things you have no control over, focus on what you can influence.
So, if we focus on the circle of concern, we empower the things within it to control us.
If we focus on the circle of influence, we are the ones in charge.
One of those things is your perception. You can always control what you’re focusing on and how you’re viewing things.
What will really help you do this is a mindfulness practice. Yoga, meditation and journaling are all great. The method of self-regulation doesn’t matter too much. It just has to work for YOU.
Try not to judge yourself for feeling frenetic either. These are frenetic times. The most important thing is to acknowledge how you feel, without judging it.
Yes, your emotions are real and valid.
The thought you attach to your emotions though… well that may not always be so valid.
3. Be kind to yourself & contain your work
It’s needed now more than ever.
It’s 100% okay if you need more sleep, more time unplugged, more recovery.
These things will put you in a better state to handle whatever life throws at you in these times.
And with you reorganising everything and the kids staying at home—or whatever your situation is, you may not be able to meet your usual deadlines.
Pause and breathe.
It’s okay if your performance wobbles a little
With everything going on, your boss/team/leader will (hopefully) understand.
Your action step here is to make space. For work, for your kids, for YOURSELF.
“Look after yourself so you can look after others”
Set up a room in your house where you can work peacefully. We strongly suggest making sure this is NOT your bedroom. Doing so will impact your ability to fall asleep—and thus your state for the next day.
When you’re finished work make sure to close your laptop, tie up the loose ends and step away.
Then be sure to get all the rest you can — you’re going to need it.
Thriving when the world is in chaos is not easy, but with focus, discipline and kindness to yourself, it can be achieved and you will come out stronger.