Focus Only On What You Can Influence – by Bob Burg

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged
to change ourselves.”

~ Viktor Frankl, Concentration Camp Survivor and author of Man’s Search for Meaning


There are situations we can control and those we cannot. But, one thing we can always control is ourselves and how we respond to situations.

Having lunch with Mike Benton the day before my recent program in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, I got to learn a bit more of his story. Now the co-owner of a large and very successful real estate firm, as well as one of our Certified Go-Giver Coaches, years ago he experienced hitting rock-bottom.
Bankrupt and homeless (though he insisted his bankruptcy would include paying back his creditors which he eventually did — every penny!), he fought his way back. He is now married to his beautiful wife, father of a new baby boy, and once again a business success. Life, for Mike Benton, is again truly pleasant.

“How did you do it, Mike?” I asked. “You lost everything, yet managed to climb back up.”

His response was clear and direct: “I focused only on those areas that I could influence.”

Profound, really. When it comes right down to it, that’s about the only thing one can do, regardless of whether at the top, the bottom or somewhere in-between.

For example, Mike related the following:

  1. I could not control how someone reacted to my situation, but I could influence their response by how I approached them.
  2. I could not control whether my calls, networking and studying would ever get me out of debt, but I could influence my success by how and what I did.
  3. And, when rebuilding my credit and also a new company, I could not control whether or not the banks and business people would ever trust me again. But, I could influence their decisions by how I acted and how I stayed positive regardless of how many No’s I received.”

Of course, it benefits us to be aware of that which we cannot influence or control. After all, some of the things we cannot influence set the context for what we can influence. Let’s be aware of them; not focus on them.
When we focus on that which is within our influence and pour our energy into that, desired results are much more probable.

Let’s focus only on what we can control. Sometimes, it’s the situation. It’s always us!


Bob Burg is coauthor (with John David Mann) of the international bestseller, The Go-Giver and their newly-released, It’s Not About You. To download the first chapters of Bob’s books, visit