Tool: Sphere of Control


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Friday, June 17, 2016

"You don't surrender your dreams.  You surrender the one thing you never had and you never will: control." - Socrates, Peaceful Warrior

This link is my favourite graphical representation of the Sphere of Control concept.  I first came across this concept in Stephen Covey’s book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”

The image at the link speaks pretty well for itself.  This is a Focus Area because it is such a critical counterfear tool.  It’s pretty simple. 

Pick out a fear.  Any fear.  Ask yourself:

  • Is what you fear within your sphere of control?
  • Is what you fear within your sphere of influence?
  • Is what you fear something you can’t control?

I’m going to go out on a limb, here.  Well, not so much… because it’s true.  Most of the things we fear are outside of our control.  A few are inside our sphere of influence.  A very, very few are within our sphere of control.  Less than we think. 

Reference the idea that security is an illusion.  And/or the fact that you can never mitigate 100% of risk.  These things are at the heart of the counterfear idea.  Stuff is going to happen.  

With that in mind, we can usually choose how we react.  We can certainly choose how we interact. 

Part of the counterfear mission is to help you with those things you can influence, and those very few things you can control (the sphere of what you can conrol is within your sphere of influence).  We make change, and we build resilience.

Resilience is to a certain extent about putting things in place so that you can deal with the stuff that may or may not happen.  The coaching and the tools can help you figure out what is in your sphere of influence,  what action you can take to get more resilient, and how you can reach your vision - and find a way forward - with all of this in mind.

The Work

A corollary to the Sphere of Control idea is in Byron Katie’s The Work.  If you happen to sign up for any coaching with me, we may well do a bit of The Work - or what we call “thought work” in the Martha Beck coaching community.

The Somebody Else’s Problem Field

My other favourite reference in this area is the concept of the Somebody Else’s Problem Field - an idea from the five “increasingly inaccurately named” books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy.  This science-fiction-comedy concept is that you can put a Somebody Else's Problem Field around anything - such as a spaceship landing - and no one will notice.  Not even in a crowded football field.  American or European.

The Somebody Else's Problem Field is a great tool for considering many of the things that come our way in life.  Is it your problem?  Should it be?  Do you want it to be?  You can even use The Work figure that out.  Or the Sphere of Control.

If it’s not your problem and it doesn't need to be, put your own Somebody Else’s Problem Field around it.  Works wonders.

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POSTED:  2016-0615
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2016 posts advocate & amplify anchor & flank assess situation & resources assess, accept, & address risk be intentional & purposeful be the change / lead build resilience connect core resources, ideas, & tools counterfear tools (in blog) don't panic fear itself find a way forward foster community live in resonance opposition / resistance security / homeland security / national security social studies take action think critically & solve problems

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