He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still. – Lao-Tzu
Do You Have the Personal Power You Need to Achieve Your Goals?
I’m confident you’ve heard about it, and I’m even sure you’ve used it from time-to-time, but do you actually know what it’s all about? Do you understand the true meaning of personal power?
Personal power means having a deep sense of empowerment. It’s an inner strength and confidence that carries you forward through the toughest of times.
Having personal power means mustering up the ability to handle problems with courage. It means breaking free from inertia and from anything that holds you back and makes you feel mentally and emotionally powerless.
Personal Power is a kind of mental toughness that we bring to every situation. It’s the ability to take decisive and deliberate action toward a desired goal, or down an optimal path that helps you accomplish that goal.
Personal power is about living life intentionally with a sense of purpose and optimism. It’s about effectively managing your boundaries, your critical voice, and the unhelpful thoughts that often sabotage your progress.
And, yes, of course, personal power is also about influence. It’s about positively influencing and impacting the lives of those around us in optimal ways. It’s about becoming a force that’s driven to make a difference to those we regularly interact with.
Personal power can be a tremendous source of mental and emotional strength that can help us work through challenges, obstacles, setbacks, problems, and adversity in more effective ways. In fact, it’s something that separates winners and losers in all fields of endeavor. Personal power and how you wield it is the one thing that often becomes a strong predictor of success.
Now, of course, this is all well and good. But, you’re probably more interested in action steps that can help you develop your own personal power. And we’ll certainly get to that. However, before we do, it’s important to also become familiar with what it feels like not to have a sense of personal power.
The Telltale Signs You’ve Depleted Your Personal Power
Okay, so by now we understand what it means to have personal power. But what about the other side of the equation? What does it feel like when we lack personal power? Or, what does it feel like when our personal power starts to wane and weaken?
Well, there are some telltale signs to look out for. Here is a list of warning signals that indicate you lack personal power:
- You regularly succumb to other people’s expectations of you.
- You often complain but make no positive changes to your life.
- You don’t trust yourself to make the right decisions and allow others to do this for you.
- You are often very dependent on other people and therefore succumb to their influence.
- Because you are prone to being influenced by others, you often succumb to manipulation.
- You feel helpless when trying to influence other people and circumstances.
- You regularly seek approval from other people to your own detriment.
- You kind of feel worthless, lacking confidence, and incompetent.
- You’re easily hurt, discouraged and often succumb to the fear of rejection, judgment, and criticism.
- You don’t feel comfortable around conflict and will go out of your way to avoid it.
- You have a very pessimistic nature — always paranoid and thinking that you’ve been wronged by others.
- You carry a lot of guilt, anger, frustration, and resentment inside.
- You often become a martyr in a psychological sense who makes great sacrifices for others to your own detriment.
Let’s now twist this around in the opposite direction. Let’s reverse these telltale signs to get a sense of what it means to live with personal power, or to win back your personal power.
Below are several telltale signs that indicate that you are tuned into your personal power:
- You are decisive and deliberate in your actions and follow your own gut feelings and intuition.
- You take full responsibility for your life, problems, and circumstances and do what you can to improve the situation.
- You trust yourself to make the right decision at the right time. But if by chance you don’t, then you trust yourself to correct any mistakes you make.
- You are extremely independent in thought and action. Yes, you take other people’s opinions into consideration, but the decisions you make are ultimately your own.
- You feel confident in social situations and in your ability to influence the opinions, perception, and behavior of other people.
- You feel confident in your ability to get the very best out of yourself in every situation.
- When things don’t pan out as expected, you’re not easily discouraged. You instead dig deep and use setbacks and adversity as motivation to help push you forward.
- Circumstances that lead to conflict bring out the best in you. You thrive as a mediator and negotiator in situations where there is a difference in opinion.
- You have a very optimistic nature that’s grounded in reality. You view circumstances rationally and then take appropriate action to make the best of your predicament.
- You’re emotionally intelligent and understand that value of maintaining your composure in emotionally charged situations.
- You wholeheartedly give of yourself, of your time and energy to others, but you’re also very vigilant to look after your own needs.
These two lists are, of course, wonderful on the surface. You can go through the lists and get an understanding of whether or not you’re wielding your personal power in certain situations. However, having these lists just isn’t enough. It isn’t enough because it doesn’t examine what it takes to flip the switch. What I mean by this is that it doesn’t explore what it takes to turn on your personal power in certain situations. Specifically, it doesn’t explore the requirements for wielding your personal power.
The Requirements for Wielding Your Personal Power
Okay, so you want to develop your personal power to boost your confidence and accomplish your goals. You already, of course, have a checklist in place that breaks down all the things you can start focusing on. However, there is yet another list of things that you must commit yourself to doing. And checking off this list of requirements will allow you to fully wield your personal power.
Having Clear Written Goals
Personal power requires clarity. It requires knowing what you want and how you plan to accomplish those things. And this is, of course, where your personal goals come into the picture.
When you set clear goals you lay down the foundations for an objective you are working toward. This objective drives and propels you forward through the toughest of times. Moreover, if gives you clarity. It provides you with a sense of certainty that you will develop the necessary skills and acquire the relevant knowledge and experience needed to accomplish your goal. And that’s essentially where personal power comes from.
Personal power comes from certainty. And certainty comes from clarity. And when you have certainty and clarity, you feel empowered and confident. This is why it’s absolutely critical to set clear goals for all the things you would like to accomplish in your life.
Adapting to Changing Conditions
Personal power requires having the ability to adapt to changing conditions and circumstances. It requires being proactive and staying mindful of your thoughts, choices, and actions. Only when we’re mindful can we see things clearly, and therefore adapt accordingly to the conditions of our life.
When you have personal power, you work through your problems with a deep sense of confidence and self-assurance. This self-confidence transforms how you see your world. It transforms how you perceive and interpret all the problems, challenges and obstacles you face.
It’s, of course, not always easy to adapt. Sometimes, you have limited options, inadequate resources, and very little time. However, as long as you stay mindful and open-minded, you will find the personal power you need to carry you though.
Redirecting Disruptive Emotions and Impulses
Personal power requires taming and/or redirecting your emotional impulses. It also requires overcoming unhelpful habits that hold you back from being your best self in every situation.
When you wield your personal power, you have very clear goals and objectives for every situation. Any emotions or habitual impulses that divert you off this path are self-sabotaging forces that hold you back from being your best self.
Developing Drive and Focus
Personal power requires having a drive and focus that consistently pushes you forward toward your desired outcome.
Developing drive and focus, of course, isn’t easy. It requires having self-belief; it requires trusting yourself to make the right decisions at the right time; it requires energy, enthusiasm, a positive outlook, and ambition to get you through the toughest of times.
You then need to channel everything toward your goals. Only in this way will you progressively develop the momentum and confidence you need that will carry you forward toward you desired outcome.
Expressing Your Desires and Needs Effectively
Personal power requires understanding how to express your needs, desires and wants effectively.
Personal power is about having the confidence to be yourself, to express how you feel, and to share your beliefs and opinions without fear of judgment, rejection or criticism. It’s about being assertive and confidently stating what you want, then doing whatever is required to bring those desires to reality.
Being assertive, of course, doesn’t mean being aggressive. Assertiveness is more about confidence and intention rather than aggression. It’s about knowing exactly what you want, and then tactfully and respectfully pursuing that outcome. You certainly won’t always get what you want, but that’s when you need to be adaptable and adjust your approach when facing resistance.
Committing Yourself to Self-Development
Personal power requires a commitment to self-development. In other words, it requires committing yourself to lifelong learning — to progressively and consistently acquiring the necessary knowledge, experience, and skills that can help propel you forward toward your goals.
However, self-development is also about mindset. It’s about growing and developing your mind and your emotional resilience. Likewise, it’s about growing and developing your self-confidence, self-worth, and self-esteem. These are the things that essentially fuel your personal power. They are the things that transform you from a reluctant wannabe hero, into the superhero of your own life.
Your Personal Power Plan of Action
Within this final section, let’s break down a quick, practical action plan that will help you develop your personal power. You must, of course, keep everything in mind we have discussed thus far. All the mindset stuff mentioned above is still relevant and important. However, within this section, we will talk more about practical and actionable stuff you can set in motion using key questions as a guide.
These questions will provide you with the clarity you need to make more effective decisions in certain situations to help strengthen and wield your personal power.
Take Time to Better Understand Yourself
Your first objective is to gather insights so that you can better understand yourself and how you potentially give away your personal power throughout the day. Take a moment to ask yourself:
How do I tend to give my personal power away throughout the day?
How does this make me feel?
How is it hurting me?
Examples of how you might potentially give away your personal power throughout the day include:
- Not taking initiative by going for what you want.
- Whining and complaining about things that don’t work out in your favor.
- Being very indecisive when making important decisions that can help move your life forward.
- Fearing criticism, rejection, judgment, ridicule, embarrassment, etc. And subsequently avoiding social situations because of these fears.
- Feeling undeserving or discouraged when things don’t pan out as expected.
- Shunning responsibility when problems get too difficult to handle.
And it all essentially comes down to taking responsibility. When you take responsibility for your life and circumstances, you naturally feel empowered no matter what happens or how dire your predicament.
When you take responsibility you feel as though you are in control of your life and of the situation. Now, of course, that may not be completely accurate. Things might very well be out of your direct control. However, when you take personal responsibility you take charge. And when you take charge you proactively seek answers and solutions to improve the situation. And that is when you know you are wielding your personal power.
Get Clear About What You Want
Getting what you want essentially comes down to knowing what you want. We, of course, already discussed this. But let’s get more specific here.
Every moment of your life where you enter a new scene or scenario, there must be an intention that you bring into that situation. To wield your personal power, you must know exactly and specifically what you want to accomplish in each scenario of your life. And this isn’t just about having a goal in mind. It’s rather about being clear about your intention for getting what you want, about how you want to be treated, and how you desire to be at every moment. Ask yourself:
What do I want specifically in this situation?
How do I deserve to be treated in this situation?
How do I choose to be in this situation?
How do I choose to live my life moving forward though this day?
The greater level of clarity you have about what it is you want at each moment of your day, the more control you will have, and the more likely you are to wield your personal power.
Get Clear About What’s Most Important
It’s all well and good to know what you want. However, if you don’t quite understand what’s most important, then there simply won’t be enough desire behind your actions.
What am I really good at?
What motivates me to pursue the things I want?
What specific things tend to draw out my passions?
What are my core values and why are they important to me?
What’s my life’s purpose, and why is it important to me?
When you have clarity about what’s most important, you are more aligned and centered. You are more attuned to your inner desires and needs, which, of course, helps you stay grounded and focused when things take a turn for the worse. In other words, you tend to be more in control of your impulses during difficult times, which is a clear indication that you are actively wielding your personal power.
Take Control During Social Interactions
The final way to check to see if you are actively wielding your personal power is during your interactions with other people.
When we interact with other people, it often becomes a power struggle where both individuals attempt to gain the ascendancy within the social interaction. Often, there is a stalemate during neutral interactions. However, other times one person comes out feeling empowered, while the other ends up feeling emotionally drained and deflated.
It’s important that while you’re interacting with other people that you stay attuned to your personal power. Stay attuned to how you wield it and how you potentially lose it. To help you with this, ask yourself the following questions:
What did I want coming into this situation?
What was my specific intention for this social interaction?
How powerful was I during this interaction?
How did I wield my personal power?
How did I communicate my needs?
What did I think, say and do that increased my personal power?
What did I think, say and do that reduced my personal power?
What could I do differently the next time around to ensure that I don’t give away my personal power?
These questions will help you to stay vigilant. They will help keep you focused during your social interactions to ensure that you make the best of every situation and never give away your personal power unnecessarily.
It’s easy to think that the key to wielding personal power comes down to a person’s level of self-confidence. While self-confidence certainly plays a part, it’s only one part of many components that align together and shape our personal power.
When we have personal power, we naturally feel more confident and in control of our lives. No matter what’s happening around us, doesn’t change what goes on inside us. And when you reach that stage of your growth and development, that is when you will know you have ample personal power at your disposal.
However, it’s important to mention that sometimes, giving away our personal power can also be helpful. Times, when we need to be authentic, compassionate, and vulnerable, are times when giving away our personal power can benefit the social interaction. Moreover, it can benefit and empower the other person.
Personal power is therefore not something that you should flaunt with pride. It’s rather something you must control and moderate depending on the situation or person you are interacting with. It’s therefore in a sense a gift, or superpower that you wield whenever you need it most.
Remember, that you don’t need to be superman all of the time. Instead, at times, be Clark Kent, the mild-mannered reporter who gives away his personal power to win the trust and respect of those around him. And just possibly, that in itself is what personal power is all about. When you have it, you never actually lose it. Instead, you just choose to use it in a variety of ways.
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
Did you gain value from this article? Is it important that you know and understand this topic? Would you like to optimize how you think about this topic? Would you like a method for applying these ideas to your life?
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 3 Ways to Increase Your Personal Power at Work @ Forbes
- 4 Keys to Building and Maintaining Your Personal Power @ Self Growth
- 4 Ways to Cultivate Your Innate Personal Power @ Mind Body Green
- 5 Keys to Developing Personal Power @ Seattle Business Mag
- 7 Practices that Improve Your Personal Power in Any Situation @ Art of Wellbeing
- 9 Ways for You to Keep Your Personal Power @ Psychology Today
- 50 Ways to Increase Your Personal Power @ Daring to Live Fully
- How to Ignite Your Personal Power in Two Simple Steps @ Huffington Post
- Using Your 5 Personal Power Bases to Get Ahead @ Psychology Today