Weight of the world on your shoulders?

According to UN Secretary General António Guterres the era of “global boiling” has arrived.

I’ve watched way too many dystopian future, dramas to know what’s coming. So, as I felt the panic rising in my chest I sat down with a fresh piece of paper and drew three concentric circles.

And then I took myself through an exercise I do with thinkers when they feel overwhelmed.

I call it the circle of control but it starts with the circle of concern.

Grab some paper and pens and do it with me. You can think about anything that is on your mind.

Circle of concern – the orange one 

1. List everything that is worrying you.

2. Sort the list into things you have direct control over and things you don’t.

All the things that you have no control over sit in your circle of concern.

Image Description : My circle of concern about the climate crisis that lists, air pollution, failing crops, wild fires, droughts, rising sea levels, extreme weather and ice caps melting. 

The thing is, there is no point putting your energy here. It will only lead to more overwhelm but that’s easier said than done.

That’s why you need the next two circles, so you can shift your attention to them.

Circle of control – the green one 

All the things that you can control go into your circle of control.

Take a moment to acknowledge all that you’re doing already.

Small things add up.

When your thoughts turn to the things in your circle of concern, bring them back to what’s in your circle of control.

By focusing your energy here, you feel like you’re achieving something. It can make you feel a little lighter.

What more could you add to your circle of control?

Which one is the easiest to do next?

Image Description: My circle of control inside my circle of concern that lists recycle, compost, Oddbox, solar panels and save energy. 

Circle of influence – the blue one 

Once you are acting on all the things you can control the next step is to work on your circle of influence.

Greta Thunberg is a great example of how you can build your influence. She started by sitting on her own out side the Swedish Parliament every Friday to strike for the climate. Now she is a world famous activist.

I’m using my influence by talking to you. If you feel as I do about the climate you might want to sign this open letter. It’s from Greenpeace to politicians demanding they do better.

Expanding your influence can be as simple as talking to your friends and family. Or posting on social media.

Do the things that feel right for you.

Image Description: Circle of control lists things I can do about the climate crisis such as recycle. It is inside my circle of influence that lists ways I can get others to do something such as tell friends. These are both inside my circle of concern, all the things that worry me about the climate crisis such as wild fires. 

Next steps 

Keep your diagram somewhere you can look at it often and remind yourself that you’re doing all you can.

When you feel more energised, challenge yourself to add one more thing to your circle of control or influence.

As Greta Thunberg says, “you are never too small to make a difference.”

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