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During this time of business as unusual, I can’t think of a better opportunity to work on yourself. Author and motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously advised, “Work harder on yourself than you do on your job.” Owning your personal power is a way to affect positive change in your own life and broaden your circle of influence.
1. Be authentic.
People value transparency and authenticity as a doorway to connection, but you can’t be authentic unless you first know who you are. I believe this so strongly that I have a tattoo that reads, “Be true to yourself and you will be able to lead others.” People want to connect with and learn from like-minded individuals, so your best way to influence them is by being your true, authentic self.
We were all born with specific gifts, and by making the most of these gifts, we can positively impact our own life as well as the lives of those we touch. But we tend to get in our own way. The words, habits and attitudes from our upbringing can continue to impact how we think about ourselves and what we focus on even today.
One of the best exercises to help you get out of your own way is to write a list of your pros and cons. What are things that you really love about yourself and your life? Few people find it easy to say they love themselves or to find positive attributes to list, but the greater your capacity to love yourself and what you represent, the easier it is to love others. What work, activities or hobbies are you doing when you’re in the zone? On the con side, write down the things about yourself that, if you could wave a magic wand, you’d change.
2. Ask effective questions.
With your list in hand, start asking yourself open-ended, effective questions:
- Why is this important to me?
- What price am I willing to pay to change this?
- Who could be my mentor?
- What skills could I learn?
- Which books could I read? Podcasts could I listen to?
- Who could I add to my circle?
- What behavior could I change to continue to grow?
Write down the questions and then let your subconscious mind get busy delivering the answers. Time is our most valuable resource, yet we spend 20% of it on the activities that produce 80% of our results. No one is good at everything, but we all have something—or things—that comprise our natural skill set. Concentrate on doing more of that. If you really want to own your personal power and grow as an individual, amplify the 20% and delegate everything else.
3. Establish specific a.m. and p.m. routines.
How you begin and end your day matters. Some of the world’s most successful and influential people rise early and spend time alone on specific activities to prime their day. One collection of activities—in fact, the one I practice—is described in Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning as silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading and scribing (writing). The acronym spells SAVERS. Spending even 10 minutes on each of these activities first thing in the morning puts you in control of your entire day.
Whether I start my day at home or in a hotel room, I close my eyes and visualize for 120 seconds how I want my day to unfold, how I want people to feel, and what I want the end result to be. More often than not, my day evolves the way I visualized because I already lived it in my mind.
At the end of the day, I close my eyes and ask myself what worked. It could have been the right tagline in an email, or perhaps I was there for someone at exactly the right time. Regardless of what it is, I write it down.
I keep a legal pad beside my bed, and before I go to sleep, I write down what I’m concerned about and a few effective questions. I likely can’t do anything about my concerns between midnight and 5 a.m. anyway, and by writing them down, my mind is freed up to sleep restfully. Effective questions might include, what did I learn today? Who did I help? How did I take my company further? What am I grateful for? This practice sets the stage for my productive tomorrow.
4. Income = value.
Regardless of your job, your income is directly related to the value you provide. So, what are you doing to add value to the person in front of you? Do your homework. Google them, friend them on Facebook, connect with them on LinkedIn. Discover what’s going on in their world so you can make an authentic and sincere connection. Don’t only worry about nailing the presentation or making the sale. The more you build a relationship that adds value, the more they will trust you. Without question, this is the experience economy, so personalizing your service is key.
5. Invest in people.
Every time you have an opportunity to invest in someone by teaching them, offering advice or catching them doing something good, you’ll see the benefit paid back to you—directly or indirectly—many times over.
I believe too often we complete a job for someone else because we think we’re being helpful, or it’s easier to do it ourselves than it is to teach the other person. But doing so won’t help them to grow. True leaders build other leaders. So, my best advice for empowering both yourself and others is to learn it, do it, teach it. If you learn it, you’re going to absorb it, but you may not retain it. Once you do it, you learn best practices through experience. But when you teach it, you cement the knowledge into your brain and you’re empowering someone else.
6. Measure your impact.
How will you know your efforts are paying off? What does your owning your personal power translate to in black and white? Measure your impact on everyone you’re touching. Is your yardstick increased sales? A greater audience? The measurable success of the people you’re influencing? Ask for constructive feedback on a regular basis so you can improve. Aim for unconscious competency.
7. Never stop growing.
If we want people to follow us, we must continue to grow as human beings. If we really want to attract more success and better experiences, then we must be someone who attracts the right people into our lives. That won’t happen unless we’re constantly growing as individuals.
Magic happens when you know you nailed your day, moment after moment. You were in the flow and all the right people did all the right things, including you. You owned it, start to finish. But you also have to own your day when you make a mistake. Those days present some of the best opportunities for personal growth. People respect and empathize with others who are truthful and forthright when something goes wrong. Own it instantly, correct it, make amends, and move on.
Owning your personal power is at the core of everything you want to accomplish in life: dreams fulfilled, goals achieved, successful relationships and influence on others. Put as much time and attention into working on yourself as you do your career, and your investment will pay off exponentially.
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