By Neil Phillips.

Welcome to January!   Your children are back in school, holiday stuff is all put away, bills have to be paid, and you are dying to talk with adults about business.  Your head is spinning is so many directions you are not sure of left and right.  How will you get a productive focus?  

Stephen Covey, in his most famous work on The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, produces this concept that he talks about as the Circles of Concern and the Circles of Influence.  One of the key characteristics of being proactive is the ability to focus on the circle of influence.  When we focus on our concerns that are outside of our area of influence, we are spending our mental and physical energy on the things in life where we are most likely to waste our time.  Real leaders don’t do that.

As people grow in their leadership ability, a critical piece that grows along with them is their focus on areas that matter–areas where they can make a difference.  Think about this in direct sales terms:

  • “I wasn’t expecting the medical bills this month.  Luckily, I had people I could call who would book a party.”
  • “I hate the new catalog, but it’s all I’ve got to work with.  That’s why I put together some demonstrations around some product groupings I developed.”
  • “My team sales are already starting to look bleak for 2020, so my focus is to find some new people who expect to get to work right now.”

I don’t need to belabor the opposite types of reactions to these bits of news–the salespeople who will be paralyzed complainers about their misfortunes.  Is it any wonder that their leadership potential is always in doubt?  If you want to be a better leader, ask yourself the question, “What can I do about it?”  When you find your answer, you are focusing your power.  Your focus is the kryptonite to problems!

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