March 01, 2021 3 min read 3 Comments

About 20 years ago, I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. Written in 1989, It wasn’t a new book, even then, but it changed my life I refer to its teachings all the time with my children, my husband, and every aspect of my life. Even my kids have been known to quote its well-worn lessons to a friend or sibling, or even back to me. You may even have read it yourself. One of the first and most powerful habits is about focusing on and acting within our area of control and influence versus focusing on things that affect us but are outside our control. Here’s a diagram

You can see that the arrows from those forces outside of our control push in on us. The more we focus on those forces, the stronger they become, and the more they push in on us, decreasing our area of control and influence until we are crammed into a tiny space where we have no power and can hardly move.

If instead, we focus on those things that we can control, like our attitude, our efforts, and our response to those external forces, the greater our area of control becomes, and our little circle expands. We have more control, more power, and more opportunities, as shown in this diagram:

To use knitting as an example, we worry about making a mistake, messing up, others not liking our work, or there being a knot in our yarn. None of that is under our control. But we can invest in our skills, learn how to go back and fix mistakes, choose to knit only for those who value our effort, and we can cut the know and weave in the ends. It’s a matter of perspective.

In the larger world, change is a big outside force pushing in on us all. Even if we do nothing at all, we can wake to find that everything is different. Despite our desire to keep things the way they are, the world moves on. There are changes in our jobs, our lifestyle, our circle of friends, and more. Covid is just one force of change, but it has, by itself, profoundly and permanently changed life as we know it. And change is bad, right?


Change is hard, but it’s not bad in and of itself. Change is hard because fear, loss, and the unknown all hide under its big dark cloak. If we focus not on what might happen, but instead put our energy into how we can adapt and what we can create, change can be wonderful.

Over the past 9 months or so, I’ve tried to let go of fear, ignore self doubt, and kick inertia out the door. It’ s been a challenge, but change has opened up some really great opportunities. I am using the forces within my control to build a powerful and beautiful membership site for the Crazy for Ewe community far and wide. This site will help you learn and grow your skills so you can knit beautiful things and create a wonderful hand-knit wardrobe you're proud to wear.

When you join, you'll be able to connect with other Crazy for Ewe knitters both inside and outside of the classes.  You'll be part of a warm and supportive community, and live your best knitting life.  I'm excited, and I hope I hope I'll see you there. 
Thoughts? Tell me in the comments ~E

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3 Responses

Mary Smith
Mary Smith

March 05, 2021

I loved reading this, Ellen. Excellent! I feel you are not only a talented knitter, but a philosopher, and talented writer, as well. I appreciate it all. Thanks!!

Tyral  Spence
Tyral Spence

March 04, 2021

My dad was chamber of commerce president in our town and took Dale Carnige course How to win friends and influence people.After everyone went to bed I ‘d get books and read them. I took speech as freshman with junior and senior In college another girl and I were the only girls in speech.My most challenging knitting project was over 40 years ago Aran sweater with many different designs in each row vertical and horizontal.It resides in cedar chest. I understand the circle. Thank you for sharing these thoughts.Tyral Spence

Kathy Cox
Kathy Cox

March 04, 2021

Ha!! I was just thinking ,“I want to ask Ellen to let me share this.” Thank you Ellen, really well done and helpful!!

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