Warning: I’m going classic “7 Habits” here...
Stephen Covey talked about a Circle of Concern and a Circle of Influence. The larger Circle of Concern is everything that worries you, but you CAN’T do anything about. The smaller Circle of Influence is everything that worries you that you CAN do something about.
Understanding these two circles is why I bring the same small desk lamp with me to any new job or position.
Let me explain...
Starting anything new is stressful. There are new people, processes, and technology to understand. Expectations run high about what you will bring to the table. Trying to learn who knows and does what adds another level of anxiety. These factors introduce a LARGE circle of things that worry you. However, you most likely will have a SMALLER circle of influence of things you can change.
And that’s why I bring my lamp.
The first thing I can influence whenever I start anything new is my lighting. Rather than subject myself to the reign of cold, harsh fluorescent lights, I change my environment with the warm light of a personal desk lamp.
My circle of concern (harsh lighting) just became a little smaller and my circle of influence (comfortable lighting) a little bigger.
The next morning, I look at my lamp and consider what I’m concerned about that day. What’s within my ability to influence? Could I set up a meeting to bring a project to closure? Is it time to discuss starting a new initiative? Does a customer need extra attention? Every time I ask that initial question and take action, my circle of influence grows bigger and my circle of concern that much smaller.
Weeks, months, and years will pass. Think of the difference it would make over time if you focused your energy only on things you can influence, versus worrisome things you have absolutely no control over.
And think about how nice your desk will look with your new lamp!