I know that most of you who read this are either managers or business owners, and if you’re anything like me, one of the first things you want to do when you see a problem, is that you want to fix it.

After all, it’s what we’re paid to do, and for some of us it’s what we believe we were born to do.


What we’re experiencing in that moment when we’re feeling the need to “fix it”, is what Stephen Covey calls our Circle of Concern. All of those things that you worry about fall inside your Circle of Concern.

But what happens when you come across a problem you’re not able to fix – because not all problems are soluble?

Let me give you an example. Maybe, you are little worried about what is happening in the economy. You think there may be a downturn coming, and you worry how this might affect your job. It’s a genuine concern – it could happen, but how do you personally “fix” the economy. If you’re honest, you know that you can’t.

So, if you can’t fix an issue, what do you do about it? The universe of things that you can fix fall inside what Covey calls your Circle of Influence. You can’t fix the economy because it’s outside your Circle of Influence.

The next step is to forgive it.


By forgiving, I mean that you give yourself permission to not try to fix and not worry about not trying to fix it. There is no point either spending time or nor energy worrying about something that you can’t fix.

So, in our example, the trick is not to concentrate on the economy, but to look on the other side of the equation.

What’s your real concern? It isn’t really the economy at all, it’s the effect that the economy might have on your job. You worry that you might not have enough money, and you therefore might have to change your lifestyle. So rather than look at the income side of the equation, maybe you could look at your expense side, and see where you might cut your current costs, and start saving more. Maybe you could even start looking for a job in a “recession proof” industry.

But what do you do if you can’t fix, or can’t forgive the issue that you have? The only option you have left is to forget it.


In this case forgetting means, just that. There is nothing at all that you can do in this scenario, so you just need to move on, otherwise all you’re going to do is spend energy worrying about something you can’t change. The Forget option then gives you permission to channel your energy into other things that you CAN fix. If you can’t fix or forgive it, and then you can’t forget it either, you will be in a continual iterative and self-destructive loop

So, there you have it. Fix it, forgive it or forget it. In that order. It sounds easy, but if you’re having problems with it, give me a call.

Simon Ellett

(440) 385 6737