Worry less, do more: your circle of influence

I’m stuck in a limbo like many parents in Japan this month. What will my childcare situation look like in April?

Will my daughter get accepted into the same onsite after-school care or is she going to be shifted to a different location?

Is she going to have to walk 15 minutes on her own at 8 year old from school to the facility? Will she like the kids and the leaders there? How will we need to adjust our logistics to fit into the new location if she gets moved? Will we be able to make it there on time after picking up our son? Or maybe she can come home on her own?


How does worrying about this serve you?

Does worrying about it change the situation?

Applying Stephen Covey’s Circle of Influence idea from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People was a game changer.

Circle of Influence


Is the childcare decision within your circle of control? No!

Is the childcare decision within your circle of influence? No!

Therefore it is in your circle of concern and thinking about it is basically a waste of effort!

It is outside of your power to do anything about. Worrying over the outcome is just expending emotional energy for no reason.

All you can do is wait and see and then when you receive the information from the city hall, only then do you need to think about these things.

Once I let go of the worry, I’ve been much calmer and my mind has been free to focus on other areas. Liberating!

Coaching questions

Sound familiar? When you find your mind racing and worrying about a “what if” scenario, apply the circle of control/ influence/ concern model.

How can you let go of things in your circle of concern?

Not ready to let it go? If it is really important to you then you need to work out:

How can you bring the situation into your circle of influence or control?

How do you proactively expand your circle of influence?

Would love as always to hear your comments and ideas below!


 Jennifer Shinkai, MA (Oxon) helps people create and communicate change through coaching and facilitation in English and Japanese. In particular, she is passionate about developing women’s participation in the workforce in Japan.

Originally from the UK, Jennifer holds an MA (Oxon) in English Language and Literature from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford University. With almost twenty years experience in Japan, she has held a variety of management roles across Learning and Development, Marketing, Sales Operations and Sales.

Jennifer runs the Lean In Japan Creating Change Chapter focused on female entrepreneurs and women in corporate leadership roles.

Find out more at her Website, or connect on LinkedIn or Facebook

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