Thursday, October 04, 2007

Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern

I've always been a "save the world" kind of person.

As a child, from the first time I learned about history, all I could think of was the atrocities that had occurred, such as slavery, the Holocaust, poor treatment of Native Americans, etc. and how much I wished I could have been there to fight the evil and make a positive difference.

As an adult, I have focused my passions on one area: foster care. This seems to be the area wherein I can make the most impact, and for which my personal and professional experiences have prepared me.

Yet, even when narrowing your focus to just the foster care arena, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. A very dear friend of mine was brought to tears during the It's My Life conference, because she heard so many stories of pain in a row...

The best help that I have ever received in this area is from the book: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In this book, he talks about your "circle of influence" and "circle of concern."

Just speaking for me personally, my circle of concern is HUGE. I care about every person in and from foster care... and that is one big circle!

But, the secret is to be faithful within your circle of influence. Do the very best job you can with every opportunity that is offered you to make a positive difference in the child welfare system, and two things will happen:

1.) Your efforts will make a positive ripple effect that affects the larger circle

2.) Your circle of influence will widen

That's definitely what has happened with me.

My involvement in Foster Care Alumni of America has literally changed my life, because we represent a collective voice and collective effort. We are a national organization that is constantly changing, growing and making additional connections.

And I love being a part of this movement!

Hi,Lisa! Thanks for telling us about this. My sister joined the Florida chapter! xoxo's, Stacey
Thanks for directing me here, we are all in this together and it needs to stop.

Im not finished writing my story, its taking me awhile as I just recently lost my children to them forever in September they were 9, 7, 5, and 3.
My best friend is adopting through the foster care system right now and I plan to in the future (I am currently in process to adopt from Africa). Your blog is so insightful. I also feel like my circle of care is much too large and have to force myself to think within the boundaries God's placed me in and look for the ways to influence there first!

my friend who is adopting from the state is listed as JESS in my links.

I am so happy to hear that your sister joined the Florida chapter of FCAA. I have great respect for their leadership, and they are doing wonderful things there!


Yes, we are all in this together. You remain in my thoughts and prayers. Please keep in touch and let me know how you are doing...

Brandi (and Jess),

We who care deeply and have passion to change the world will make a greater difference as we channel our efforts.

Since you are a person of faith, I feel comfortable sharing this quote from George MacDonald with you (the man who led C.S. Lewis to the Christian faith through his writing):

"We must do the thing that lies next to us. That is all of our business."

I could get so overwhelmed if I let myself -- but I just plain out can't.

All I can do is the best I can with each and every situation that I am able to influence every day.

Love to all,
I appreciate this post. As a caseworker I often feel that the system is so broken that maybe I should just find another job. It is painful not to be able to help everyone. Thanks for the perspective. Susan
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