Center for Coaching Certification

Influence versus Control

Paul Kawkabany – versus Control By Paul Kawkabany

One of the most significant questions in our lives that interfere with our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, relations, and tolerance capacity is how much we feel we have control.  What can I control?  What don’t I control?  How controllable are our thoughts?

If I notify you: Don’t think about red apples for 30 seconds, what will represent your initial thought?  Of course, it will be a red apple, and maybe a basket of red apples, as it is really hard to control our thoughts.  This will upset us because we have the idea of controlling our thoughts, instead of directing our thoughts.

Think about how we can influence our way of thinking.  Influencing is not controlling; it is about understanding and embracing these reflections and finding a way to use or convert them in terms of achieving our goals.

During coach training we learned a powerful tool with the affirmation story wherein the client chooses the thoughts they want to focus on and consistently accesses them.  Other methods that we can use to acknowledge our circle of control and circle of influence include making a list, a table, or a journal.  Be sure to organize concerns and where you have influence:

  • Concerns: prices, politics, other people’s actions, war, other people’s opinions, time, confidence
  • Circle of Influence: my words, my actions, my reactions, my schedule

Making these lists will support you to be clear on your consideration.  Define what you want, what you control, and what is possible for you to control, influence, or change.  Then develop your strategies, plan your actions, track your progress, and celebrate your successes.


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