Hi everyone! Connie here, ready to give you some stuff to chew on.
Update: Dietetic Internship
If you follow me on Instagram you have probably seen me give you daily updates about my dietetic internship (DI). What I’m learning, what’s hard, and what’s fun. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with what a DI is, it’s the last leg of one’s nutrition studies. Once you’ve completed your DI, you’ll be able to sit for the big national exam to finally become a RD.
The internship is a compilation of at least 1,200 hours in several different areas of dietetics. Some of the different areas are food service and administration (my current rotation), clinical, outpatient, and some areas of specialty focus. After 2 years of graduate level school work I was giddy with excitement when I finally got to put what I’ve learned into practice!
I’ve realized that yes, this is incredibly exciting, but it’s also just really hard. It’s hard to jump into a new rotation after only a few weeks or months with new people and new personalities. It’s also hard to learn a new system with new expectations as well as get used to no pay and hard hours. You are essentially at the bottom of the totem pole for a year and that’s not super fun.
I could choose to poo-poo all over my internship and sit here daydreaming about my future life as Constance Weissmuller MS, RD and all of the freedom (and income) I’ll have through this season of life. But I’m trying to think about it as constructively as I can.
I hope the thought process I’m about to talk about resonates with you no matter who you are. Whether you are a student just waiting for graduation day, an employee in a position you would rather not be in, if you are single and wanting a relationship, if you are finding it incredibly hard to apply the HAES paradigm to your current job and wish you had more freedom, etc. I actually think the thought process I’m about to mention applies to much more than just a DI. I hope it resonates with you.
It’s the concept of a circle of influence and circle of concern.
One of my professors, and now the wonderful director of my cohort’s rotations, Suzanne, taught us about this concept from Stephen Covey’s book earlier in my studies. The book talks about the habits that successful people have. While I enjoyed the book as a whole, the following concept had the most impact on me. It’s the concept of a circle of influence and circle of concern.
The Circle of Concern
The circle of concern is a larger circle that encompass some broader concerns, worries, threats, and concepts. These things are often out of reach or things we can’t directly impact. For example, the big decision of choosing where I want to move is in this circle. This decision is about 10 months away and so many things have to happen before then. Before I decide where to live I need to finish my DI, graduate, take trips, follow through on commitments for the year, study a ton, and pass the RD exam. I haven’t even scraped the surface of debating the pros and cons of the places and whether or not my friends will be staying there to keep me company or if they are moving along to bigger and better things as well. That’s a lot of stuff.
When I spend my time in this circle I often neglect the really important circle, the circle of influence.
The Circle of Influence
The circle of influence is the circle we have (some) direct control over. Stephen tells us that the most successful people spend their time here and work on expanding their circle of influence. Let’s go back to my example of moving and choosing where I want to live. All I have influence over right now is keeping up with my loved ones in the places I want to be and working on finishing school. I can work on gratitude work for the current moment. I can book some trips to continue visiting potential places I want to live and discover their pros and cons. That’s really that’s about all I can do for now. There is so much in limbo it’s not really worth my time worrying. I could spend my time doing much better things.
Another example: my rotation is in my direct control. I could sit there and say that I never see myself in school food service (circle of concern). OR I could choose to ask to be put on projects that will inevitably help me pass the RD exam. I could choose to focus on and accomplish the objectives the Academy needs me to know. I can work a new part of my brain, I can network, and I can accept that this is my here and now. This is what I have influence over. I can choose the stuff that moves me forward. Spending time in the circle of concern only takes away from my presence in my influence circle. I could be missing out on so many opportunities if I’m not here.
Could you imagine if I was stuck in that crazy worrisome circle of concern at this pivotal point in my life?
I was invited to tag along to a big regional meeting with many other school directors, RDs, staff, and other interns. When I’m in the circle of influence, I have the opportunity to network my booty off because I never know if I’ll will run into these people later in my career. I can listen to their world view, what they do, and their experiences that could potentially help my own!
If I was stuck in the circle of concern, I could dismiss the event and just be there physically while mentally thinking “food service isn’t where I see myself so why bother?” I don’t want to do that. That’s not a good use of my time or energy.
Maybe you have a similar situation. Are you stuck spinning in the world of concern and are totally lacking presence in your circle of influence?
There is always work to do in our circle of influence. It’s often the harder choice because it’s one that is part of the cold, hard truth. Sitting with emotions is hard and it’s easier to just jump off into la la land – AKA your circle of concern. Don’t get me wrong, I love to dream. I’m actually a big dreamer and I have big goals and lots of ambition. I simply try and use my circle of influence to accomplish those things in the moment or the near-future instead of worrying about the distant future. This is a constant process for me and I often find myself reigning it in and pulling myself back into the present. I’m certainly not perfect at being in my circle of influence.
Drawing this out for myself has been helpful. The things in my circle of influence may untimely get me to my circle of concern. Maybe one concern will jump out of my circle of concern and into my circle of influence.
Working towards finishing my DI, exploring those cities, saying yes to opportunities that I can give my all in, saying yes to things that make me feel vulnerable, and respecting my current season of life are all things that will inevitably get me to that scary moving concern. The concern that in my heart I know I’m excited for and really scared for. It will happen the way it happens when it happens.
I would love to hear some of your thoughts in the comments. Are you stuck in your circle of concern? What do you actually have influence over?