Saturday, March 7, 2015

Covey's Circle of Influence

I just attended a Franklin Covey training course. One topic was about Circle of Influence. In summary, Stephen Covey says that: "Your Circle of Influence includes those things you can affect directly. Your Circle of Concern includes all those things you care about but over which you have little or no control."
I found this topic interesting. Very applicable not just to my professional life, but to my personal & pozzie life as well.  

Looking back,  I asked, how did I handle my HIV diagnosis? How did I recover? Then, I realized I used Covey's Circle of Influence model. Yes, my HIV is a Circle of Concern... the virus is already in my body. There's nothing I can do with it. It has no cure (at least as of yet). It is undeniably a Circle of Concern! Something I can't control. But hey, no matter how high my viral load was then, there was still a space for Circle of Influence - things I can control.

So what are my Circle of Influence?

1. Managing HIV. HIV is uncurable. Accept it! But no matter how strong this virus is, it still leaves some Circle of Influence with it! HIV can be controlled! By taking ARV daily, the virus will stop multiplying, and decrease to almost zero level, making its number uncountable by modern test equipment due to its almost zero value. ARV is definitely my Circle of Influence!

2. Depression. HIV is deadly, highly stigmatized, and quite embarrassing to tell to anyone! Surely, one can easily fall into depression upon diagnosis. Had I fallen into this trap,  HIV's Circle of Concern would have gotten bigger... exponentially, eating up the space occupied by my Circle of Influence. Had I been depressed, it would have given me more stress, which would affect my immune system, which would make me even more prone to other sicknesses and OI's, which would give me even more stress. It's a vicious cycle that will make Circle of Concern get bigger and bigger, until I lose hope, stop fighting and die!  But luckily, I chose the other path... to fight on. Depression is a decision. It's not a Circle of Concern, but rather a Circle of Influence! I chose not to be depressed, I chose to keep a positive outlook. This gave me peace. This reduced my stress, which in turn helped boost my immune system. So, I was OI-free for quite some time, until my CD4 recovered to a much safer level from my baseline or 14.

3. Healthier Lifestyle & Prophylaxis. Certainly a Circle of Influence. Ample rest + No alcohol + Proper diet + No smoking... they boosted my immune system. Strictly taking propylaxis as prescribed, no matter how many, how costly and how strong their side effects are, guarded me from deadly OI's, while my immune system was severely compromised. 

4. Happiness. Most of all, I didn't let HIV stop myself from being happy! Happiness is a choice! I chose to be happy. It is definitely a Circle of Influence!

Result: my Circle of Influence kept getting bigger and bigger, eating up some space previously occupied by Circle of Concern. Soon, my viral load will forever remain undetectable. My CD4 will multiply to an even much safer level. And my HIV Circle of Concern will just be a dot as compared to the colossal Circle of Influence - A pebble in humongous Jupiter!

"When people focus on things they cannot control, they have less time and energy to spend on things they can influence. Consequently, their Circle of Influence shrinks." - Stephen Covey -->