Grateful To Be Healthy
and now into my fifth week of self-isolating during this pandemic, I’ve enjoyed my share of Netflix, Amazon and HBO binging. But my eyes needed a break, so I turned away from my screens and towards my bookshelves.

I Dug Out An Old Classic
Originally published in 1989 (yes, the pages of old paperbacks get really, really yellow around the edges), The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey was the business and personal growth bible of its time. And it still has a lot to say.

What You Can Control; What You Can’t
If ever there was a moment to bring us face to face with this truism, we are living it now. Covey addressed this as part of his Habit 1: Be Proactive. But what really caught my attention was the visual he used: a doughnut! Or a bagel.

The Circle of Concern
Two concentric circles, a smaller one within a larger one. The larger circle is the Circle of Concern. Picture everything you’re concerned about right now. Will I die? Will my family and loved ones be safe? Will I be able to make a living? How can I handle so much grief? Will our health care system survive the onslaught? Will our economic system collapse? Will I ever buy toilet paper again?

The Circle of Influence
Look at the doughnut. The inner circle is smaller, but that’s where you start. That’s your Circle of Influence. That’s the only place where you, yourself, have control over your own actions and can make a difference.

What can you do, however small and seemingly insignificant against the bigger worries and fears? Stay home. Exercise. Meditate. Reach out to family and friends. Make masks. Support first responders. Cook food for health care workers. Communicate with clients. Communicate with your team. Help your neighbors. Be proactive.

The Circles Are Moving!
Here’s the beauty of Covey’s visual. The circles are in constant flux. When you spend your time and energy in the outer Circle of Concern, it gets you down. As you feel less powerful, your personal circle gets smaller and smaller. It shrinks in on itself, because that outer circle can be a big bully!

But You Have The Power
to plant your feet squarely in your own Circle of Influence and do what you know you can do. One step at a time. One action at a time. One communication at a time. Staying focused. And when you do, an amazing thing happens. Your smaller circle starts to expand outward and it grows bigger. And bigger.

Stay Safe, Healthy and Well
From my Circle of Influence to yours, we’re all in this together, doing the best we can. Be kind and forgiving to yourself on days the outer circle feels overwhelming. Tomorrow is a fresh day and you know where to start.

Have a doughnut (or a bagel).

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