Queensland Law Society

Wellbeing: Leading yourself to lead others - things you can control

Part 3 – What can you control?

You have probably heard about the serenity prayer before: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” What does this mean to you?

Last week, we discussed how to select and stay on your chosen path. But we all know that life has a habit of putting you off-balance. How good are you in differentiating between what you must simply learn to live with, and what is worth challenging and resisting over and over again?  

If you look back on your life, how many proverbial brick walls have you hit your head against in vain, perhaps causing damage to yourself in the process; and how many dreams have you let go - maybe prematurely and with regret? Which battles should you pick, and when is it better to accept, submit and move on? 

The circles of concerns, influence and control can help you gain some clarity on these questions. Here is a visualisation exercise you can try:

  1. On a large sheet of paper, draw three circles inside each other as shown in the image below
  2. Circle of Concern: In the outer circle, write everything that is of concern in your life but outside your control circle – anything that has an impact on you either professionally or personally. Examples could be an upcoming restructure at work, an election, fluctuations in the economy, the spreading coronavirus, or a recent natural disaster.
  3. Circle of Influence: The middle circle is for everything that you may have some influence over, but not full control. Examples may include your health, your personal and family relationships, and your work environment.
  4. Circle of Control: And finally, think about the things you truly have control over. What is left at this point?

You will find that what you truly have control over is - yourself. Your thoughts, what you pay attention to, what habits you allow to form, how you respond to people and situations around you. Do not waste your valuable energy by being reactive to things in the outer circle. Instead, focus on taking responsibility for the things truly in your control.

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If you would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the QLS Solicitor Support service on ethics@qls.com.au or p. 3842 5843 to speak to someone in a judgement-free and supportive environment.  


Rebecca Niebler
Organisational Culture and Support Officer, QLS Solicitor Support (QLS Ethics and Practice Centre)
12 March 2020