Are you a mood hoover?


We all know them…those people around us who when asked ‘how are you?’….. draw in a massive breath and proceed to tell you how bad things are and how bad their life is.

With every breath they suck the life out of you. Their negativity brings down the mood and over time begins to impact the people around them. Behaviour breeds behaviour…having a mood hover in your team can be very detrimental to the morale and performance of the team overall.

Having a positive mental attitude to sales, leadership or life in general is key to success.  Your inner game is just as important as the right skills and knowledge. The mindset we choose is down to each of us. You are the only person who can influence that! We have a limited amount of energy to use at any given time.  Some of that energy is used to control how we feel about something and what we then decide to do.  It forms the basis of whether we are able to influence our own behaviour in a given circumstance.  This applies at any point in time regardless of the situation.

Stephen Covey provides a useful tool to focus us, his circle of influence and concern. When I came across this it changed my life. In my past roles I used to focus and worry about things I had no control over. I would moan and whine about why ‘x’ or ‘y’ could not be done, but I had no control over them. At times I would become the mood hover, sucking the life out of those around me! I wasted energy and time on things that I just could not influence. They were important and were things that needed to change…but for all my efforts I had no or very little impact on them. In the meantime, the things I could influence, like the motivation of my team or how I helped coach them to improve their performance suffered because I had little time to spend with them.

People are concerned about many things, and reactive people tend to try and change all of these things. This happens when you stay in your circle of concern and can result in a lot of wasted energy because we can only influence a small number of all of the things we’re concerned about. Proactive people focus on the things they can influence by moving into their circle of influence. This can result in great positive change. For example, you may be concerned about world famine and whilst you can’t actually stop it (circle of concern), you could join a volunteer group and provide some of your time every week/month to help change things (circle of influence).

Circle of concern - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Circle of Concern

A circle of concern encompasses a wide range of concerns or issues we have.  It is a negative mindset – focusing on problems and looking for reasons why we cannot do something.  Reactive people (mood hovers) tend to focus on these concerns and ignore those things over which they have control.  They tend to blame others.  This increases their concerns and their influence  therefore reduces.

Circle of Influence

A circle of influence encompasses those things that we can do something about.  They are issues that we have control over.  It is a positive mindset – focusing on what we can and will do.  Proactive people take control and responsibility for their actions and behaviours.  By focusing on things that are in their control to influence, their circles of influence increase, and therefore concerns have less impact.

Ask yourself what can I influence, and then focus your efforts on this. If everyone in an organisation did this, the ripple effect would be massive. Great sales people, leaders and coaches have the ability to focus on what is within their Circle of Influence. They don’t waste time moaning about the things they can’t change, but find a way to positively influence the things that they can. Everyone spends time in both areas of concern and influence but the question is ‘Where do you spend most of your time?’ If the answer is in concern (worrying about things you can’t affect), this is a very negative space to operate in as a leader. A much more positive position is to focus on the things in your immediate control or influence: things you and your team can affect. If you find yourself being a mood hover, stop, and consider the choices you have and focus on what you can influence.

Handy tips:

  • If your team members want to express an opinion about the company, acknowledge what they have said and move them onto something that they can influence like their performance and their contribution in relation to the team
  • Share the model with your teams
  • Share personal stories about yourself where you have chosen the proactive approach, e.g. to eat more healthy, and what difference the change has made to you
  • Always ask, ‘and what can we do about that?’ When someone is in the area of concern, it’s normal to let off some steam, which is fine. To get the conversation back on track, simply ask, ‘what can we do to have an effect on or change the situation?’ If the answer is ‘nothing’, the human brain is an amazing thing and tends to move on almost immediately. If something can be done, great! Move into action mode. It’s progress.


Sean Spugin - Blue Sky Performance Improvement

Blue Sky Performance Improvement


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