When we feel inability, our mindset is usually focused on our circle of concerns, in the things that are outside our influence. The funny thing is that the answer to overcoming the sense of inability is hidden right in front of our eyes, in the term itself :-)
In-ability = our inner ability
Our inner ability (our IN-ABILTIY) is the secret to eliminating the sense of inability in our lives. Any time we find ourselves in our circle of concern, we have the option to go within and ask: “How can I… so that?” or “what would I need to do so that…?” and suddenly, our options of influence would start to appear.
Two circles that impact our in-ability
In the 7 habits of highly successful people, Stephen R. Covey coined the terms “circle of concern” and the “circle of influence.” The larger circle of concern includes EVERYTHING that might concern us in the world. The smaller circle within includes anything we can potentially INFLUENCE in the reality that concerns us.
The more we focus on our circle of concern, the less agency we feel, and gradually our circle of influence “shrinks” to the point where we accept the current reality as given.
But… the opposite is also correct. The more we focus on our opportunities to influence our reality, the more influence we have. And with each tiny change we successfully affect in reality, our circle of influence grows.
Use our brains against themselves
As humans we evolved in times of scareseaty and constant threat. That’s the reason people are wired to avoid change and uncertainty.
This means that our brain “prefers” that we spend our time in our circle of concern because as long as we are there we are focused externally and feel we have no power to change reality. No change = certainty and our brains want that.
What our brain doesn’t want is for us to tap our in(ner)-ability and realize that within our circle of influence we have endless options to share our reality and change the world.
We need to hack our brain to access our circle of influence.
Ask the right question
But there is a backdoor to accessing our in(ner) ability. It relies on the fact that our brain is an answering machine. The brain can’t resist answering a question which means that all we need to do to access of circle of influence is to switch the question we ask and focus it on ourselves and the opportunities we have to influence our current reality.
Instead of asking ourselves “Why is this recession happening to us again?” we can ask:
- “What can I do so that this recession becomes our greatest opportunity?”
- or “Who is flourishing in this recession? What can I learn from them?”
- Or “What are the next 3 steps I can take to better position myself for the coming recession?”
These questions might seem trivial but it’s amazing what the brain will come with once we ask it the right question.
Even the tiniest circle of influence will grow if we focus on our inner)-ability
Sometimes real objective concerns overwhelms us. What we do in these extremes is that we look for the tiniest circle of influence and start from there… so instead of asking something like “What can I do so that this recession becomes our greatest opportunity?” we will aim for a much smaller circle of influence by shrinking time or scope of our influence.
“What can I do today to better understand how the recession impacts us?”
Notice that both time (Today) has shrunk and the scope has changed from finding opportunities in the recession to identifying how it impacts us.
Keep going smaller until you feel your brain is generating opportunities to influence and start from there
If asking “What can I do today to better understand how the recession is impacting us?” doesn’t trigger your brain to generate opportunities to infklluence go smaller…
“What can I do today to get the data I need to understand how this recession impacts me?”
Or even smaller
“What are the best reading resources I can find to better understand the current recession and how it impacts us?”
Talking with other people helps us find our circle of influence
If your brain doen’t generate any options of influence then you can always try doing the same exercise with an external person who doesn’t share your current concerns and can help you access your circle of influecne
“ Who is a person I can find that would help me think aloud about my options?”
There is always an opportunity to influence our current reality if we are willing to lean on our in-ability.
What question can you ask this morning that would help you tap your in-ability?