DISCOVER A NEW TOOL: CIRCLES OF CONNECTION
Updated: Aug 11, 2021
Our support structures - our family, friends, partner, colleagues and mentors - are a vital part to our resilience. They pump us up when we're doubting ourselves, cheer us on to achieve goals, coach us through challenges and provide a shoulder to cry on when we're down.
Knowing that they are there (consciously or unconsciously) helps us to feel self assured, more confident and emboldened to push outside our comfort zones, because we know they will be there to catch us if we fall.
So, how do we make sure we are investing our time and energy to foster strong connections with the right people in our lives?
Enter 'Circles of Connection'. This is a handy activity you can adapt for any part of your life. Its purpose is to draw attention to the fact that you have limited time and energy, and to help you apply your time and energy more effectively when it comes to relationships.
For this example, we’ll use relationships in our personal lives. Picture a 4 ring target with four concentric circles. In the smallest circle (the bullseye), write down the names of the most important people in your life. These are the people you would drop anything for, and they would do the same for you. For me, that’s my husband, my children, my parents and siblings, and my two best friends. These relationships should get your best energy and prioritised time.
The next circle contains key people in your life. These are the people you have a deep history with, and that you’d go out of your way to spend time with. Mine would include broader family members, my closest family friends, and long-term personal friends and mentors. Keep making more positive space for these relationships.
The third circle is for people who have played a significant role in your life. They may come and go, but they’ll always bring goodness to your world. Some of these people might have populated the second circle in the past but, due to life’s circumstances, you might not see them as often anymore. Appreciate that with limited time and energy, these relationships can’t disproportionately dominate your diary.
Finally, your last and outer circle is for people it might be time to let go of. They may have been a part of your past, and while you’re grateful for their time, your life may have evolved. Equally these people maybe part of your present, but the relationship is not serving you well. It’s important to separate yourself emotionally from this group and let them go gently, with kindness. Give yourself permission to not spend time on these relationships.
When you're finished, spend a minute reflecting - are there any gaps or misalignments? Who should get more time, who do you want to make more time for, and who gets more time than they should (which can now be realigned)?
Remember, it's ok to say 'no', or say 'not right now thanks', because that means you are really saying a very big 'yes' to what's most important to you!
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