The Circle of Influence exercise

Some customers are extremely difficult to work with. They routinely leave you frustrated, frazzled, and flummoxed despite your best efforts to please. Keep in mind you'll have two options the next time you encounter the same person:

Option #1: Handle things exactly the same way. (Prepare to be frustrated once again.)

Option #2: Expand your Circle of Influence to try and get a better result.

How the Circle of Influence concept works:

Draw a circle on a piece of paper. Imagine that everything inside of the circle are things you can directly control, such as how you respond to a difficult customer. Now, imagine everything outside the circle are things you can't control, such as what your customer had for breakfast (Angry Man Cereal, perhaps?).

You can expand your Circle of Influence by doing two things:

  1. Stop worrying about things you can't control. (Easier said than done, I know.)
  2. Experiment with changing your own behavior to see if you get a better result.