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Published on March 30, 2020

How to Access Your Personal Power to Create Success

How to Access Your Personal Power to Create Success

You don’t notice the power that charges your phone or boils the water in your kettle, but you sure notice it when it’s not there. Power is something that can’t be stopped as it is meant to flow. When it gets blocked, things go wrong.

Whether that’s causing electrical faults in your laptop or making your car cough and splutter, when power goes wrong it’s not good. Our personal power as humans is no different.

Alas, we can’t just plug into a charging unit as we tuck ourselves up in bed at night and wake up the following morning fully charged and raring to go.

This doesn’t refer to physical power that keeps our bodies going, but to the power we all have inside us: personal power. This is the kind of power that can’t be seen but can be felt by you and everyone in the world around you.[1]

Personal power plays a big part in our ability to be successful and happy. It also helps us get what we want, feel safe, and remain confident that we are playing a part in this world and not that the world is playing us.

What Is Personal Power?

You may not be able to spot your own personal power; however, you have likely noticed these traits in others:

  • Organized
  • Grounded
  • Capable
  • Successful
  • Confident
  • Happy

People with personal power don’t need to shout about what they want, and they rarely make people feel inadequate or unappreciated. They have a way of being comfortable in their own skin, believing what they believe, and confidently saying their own opinions while being able to respect and honour others without feeling threatened.

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This makes them best placed to serve their goals. It also makes them great leaders, great colleagues, and stable friends and loved ones.

When I think of people with personal power, I don’t necessarily think of world leaders, pop stars, or literary giants. So often these people, while brilliant, are trapped in anxiety and a lack of self-belief. This often leads to tragedy and shorter lives.

I’m talking about that silent power that we feel a person has that impacts us without stopping our own power from flowing freely.

Qualities of People With Personal Power

There are some qualities that are obvious giveaways that a person exhibits personal power. Some great examples of people with real power are people who:

  • Enable others without needing any thanks or acknowledgement.
  • Are happy to learn, fail and own up to mistakes.
  • Happy to hear other views and don’t feel threatened by their own beliefs or convictions.
  • Can lead others without needing to be at the front.
  • Communicate powerfully, not forcefully.
  • Are great listeners because they don’t need to ensure the other party knows what they think.
  • Get more done than most.
  • Achieve their goals.
  • Do as they promise, even if it is at the visible detriment to them.

These are just some of the things you will recognize in a person with personal power. So, before we look at how to find yours, if the above ideas don’t inspire you let’s look at what not understanding and appreciating your personal power can do to you.[2]

Benefits of Learning Personal Power

Learning and accepting personal power has a plethora of benefits that will generally make you a happier, stronger, more accepting person. Here are more of the benefits of personal power and what it might lead to:

  • Self acceptance
  • Promotion
  • New career paths
  • Ability to stand up for what you believe in
  • Flying in the face of populism
  • Increase in clients
  • Learning new skills

How to Access Your Personal Power

There are several things you can do to begin the process of developing your personal power. Try these to get you started.

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1. Stop Stressing

Stressing that something is not working the way it has for others just further reduces your power, making you feel more powerless, worthless and not in control. Learn to accept that not everything is in your power. People that get stressed by bad weather, for example, are often good at reducing their own power – they’re so busy concentrating on the grey day that they forget all the things they actually do have control over.

If you really struggle to stop stressing, look for people that will help reduce or alleviate your stress, people that help you see another perspective. Power is often about perspective. Often a new client comes to me feeling powerless, and after just 2 hours they leave feeling fearless and capable of anything. Clearly, I didn’t give them super human powers in those 2 hours; it was more about helping them get a new perspective on their life so that they could think in a better way.

2. Learn to (Really) Listen

In a world filled with thoughts and opinions and ideas, it can be hard to distinguish between our own thoughts and someone else’s. Learn to notice where thoughts come from.

  • Is that really your thought? Or did someone share that idea and you are now adopting it?
  • Is it working for you, or are you trying to mould yourself to fit it?

3. Practice Confidence

When you learn to listen to yourself and what you feel, you can easily be rocked into dropping your new ideas if you lack confidence. Confidence may very well be the underlying power to all of our happiness and success in life.

When it comes to personal power, when your confidence drops, your power can, too.

Failure, unkind comments, passive aggressive work colleagues, bad days, and lost opportunities should not permanently affect your confidence.

Yes, you may have a day where you want to scream into the wind or hide under the bed, but negative moments can’t steal our personal power if we have internal confidence.

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Also, be careful not to conflate confidence with arrogance. Arrogance involves putting others down when you have the chance, while confidence does not.

Ways to Find Confidence
  1. Look for the evidence of your brilliance: Don’t downplay your successes and wins. Accept and celebrate them.
  2. Know that one song that instantly reminds you of one of the happiest days of your life. Have it primed and ready to go!
  3. Create a positive, supportive network of people around us.
  4. Look for the positive in any situation.

4. Have Fun

If you love dancing, paintball, surfing, or yoga, don’t let it disappear out of your life. Many clients have found positive changes in their professional lives just by reintroducing the things they love. We are quick to drop these things when we are mega busy, but don’t. It can have long term repercussions.

5. Find Bounceability

Bounceability is the ability to bounce back from negative experiences. When you’re down, have had a bad day, or feel like nothing is right, try to pull yourself back to a place where you can reset and restart. With this, you’ll be able to move forward and implement more of your personal power.

6. Accept Failure

Personal power can be hard to hold onto when you face failure. However, if you ever need a boost, look up all of the amazing inventions, companies, discoveries and opportunities that have come out of failure.

I met a consultant recently who works for some of the biggest corporations in the world. They told me, “Like you and me, these CEO’s have faced who they really are, faced adversity and decided to use that knowledge to do great things.” We all have that power if we learn that failing can be good for us.

If someone tells you you’ve done a great job, you get that warm feeling, but if you don’t ask for further feedback, there is little chance for growth.

Don’t fear failure, embrace it. It is only truly failure if you learn nothing from it.

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How Will You Know You’ve Developed Personal Power?

When you own your power, you have no issue looking behind you and discovering that you’ve got a lot of people following your lead. Personal power means you can influence and change things without hurting others.

Personal power is more than being an influencer. It’s about accepting that you have a positive influence on people and accepting your power to do so without abusing that power.

Personal power can be seen in confidence and a level of self acceptance that others are quick to recognize.

When you embrace your personal power, it will likely have an impact on:

  • Your work
  • Your personal life
  • Your goals.
  • Your friends
  • Your business colleagues
  • Your happiness
  • Your health

When you find your personal power, own it. It helps us all experience a real world.

More Tips on Personal Power

Featured photo credit: Church of the King via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

Coach, International BEST Selling Author, Speaker & Blogger helping thousands around the world.

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Last Updated on September 30, 2020

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Why Intrinsic Motivation Is So Powerful (And How to Find It)

Motivation is one of the main reasons we do things — take an action, go to work (and sometimes overwork ourselves), create goals, exercise our willpower. There are two main, universally agreed upon types of motivation — intrinsic motivation (also known as internal motivation) and extrinsic motivation (external motivation).

The intrinsic kind is, by inference, when you do something because it’s internally fulfilling, interesting or enjoyable — without an expectation of a reward or recognition from others. Extrinsic motivation is driven by exactly the opposite — externalities, such as the promise of more money, a good grade, positive feedback, or a promotion.

And of course, we all know about the big debate about money. It’s surely an external driver, but is it possible that it can sometimes make us enjoy what we do more? A meta-analysis that reviewed 120 years of research found a weak link between job satisfaction and money[1].

And what’s more — there is some evidence to suggest that more money can actually have an adverse effect on your intrinsic motivation.

Regardless of its type, motivation is still important to get you moving, to improve, excel, and put that extra effort when you feel like you don’t have a single drop of energy left to keep going.

So, let’s see some of the best things you can do to keep the fire going, even when you’d rather just indulge in pleasant idleness.

Why Intrinsic Motivation Tops Extrinsic Motivation

“To be motivated means to be moved to do something.”[2]

Generally speaking, we all need motivation.

An avalanche of research, though, shows that when it comes to finding the lasting drive to “do something,” internal incentives are much more powerful than extrinsic rewards.

Why? It’s simple.

There is a great difference when you engage in something because “I want to,” as opposed to “I must.” Just think about the most obvious example there is: work.

If you go to work every day, dragging your feet and dreading the day ahead of you, how much enjoyment will you get from your job? What about productivity and results? Quality of work?

Yep, that’s right, you definitely won’t be topping the Employee of the Month list anytime soon.

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The thing with external motivation is that it doesn’t last. It’s susceptible to something psychologists call Hedonic Adaptation[3]. It’s a fancy way of saying that external rewards are not a sustainable source of happiness and satisfaction.

When you put in 100-hour weeks in order to get promoted, and you finally are, how long does your “high” last? The walking-on-a-cloud feelings wear off quickly, research tells us, making you want more. Therefore, you are stuck on a never-ending “hedonic treadmill,” i.e. you can progressively only become motivated by bigger and shinier things, just to find out that they don’t bring you the satisfaction you hoped for, when you finally get them.

Or, as the journalist and author Oliver Burkeman wonderfully puts it[4]:

“Write every day” won’t work unless you want to write. And no exercise regime will last long if you don’t at least slightly enjoy what you’re doing.

If you want to find out more about the different types of motivation, take a look at this article: 9 Types of Motivation That Make It Possible to Reach Your Dreams

Benefits of Intrinsic Motivation

If you are still unconvinced that doing things solely for kudos and brownie points is not going to keep you going forever, nor make you like what you do, here is some additional proof:

Studies tell us that intrinsic motivation is a generally stronger predictor of job performance over the long run than extrinsic motivation[5].

One reason is that when we are internally driven to do something, we do it simply for the enjoyment of the activity. So, we keep going, day in and out, because we feel inspired, driven, happy, and satisfied with ourselves.

Another reason has to do with the fact that increasing intrinsic motivation is intertwined with things such as higher purpose, contributing to a cause, or doing things for the sake of something bigger than ourselves or our own benefit. A famous study done by the organizational psychologist Adam Grant is case in point[6].

By showing university fundraisers how the money donated by alumni can help financially struggling students to graduate from college, their productivity increased by 400% a week! The callers also showed an average increase of 142% in time spent on the phone and 171% increase in money raised.

Internal motivation has been found to be very helpful when it comes to academia, too. Research confirms that the use of external motivators, such as praise, undermine students’ internal motivation, and, in the long-run, it results in “slower acquisition of skills and more errors in the learning process.”[7]

In contrast, when children are internally driven, they are more involved in the task at hand, enjoy it more, and intentionally seek out challenges.

Therefore, all the research seems to allude to one major revelation: intrinsic motivation is a must-have if you want to save yourself the drudgery we all sometimes feel when contemplating the things we should do or must do.

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6 Ways to Enhance Your Intrinsic Motivation

So, how does one get more of the good stuff — that is, how do you become internally motivated?

There are many things you can do to become more driven. Here are the ones that top the list.

1. Self-Efficacy

The theory of self-efficacy was developed by the American-Canadian psychologist Albert Bandura in 1982[8]. Efficacy is our own belief in whether we can achieve the goals we set for ourselves. In other words, it’s whether we think we “got what it takes” to be successful at what we do[9].

Find intrinsic motivation with self-efficacy.

    It’s not hard to see the link of self-efficacy to higher self-esteem, better performance, and, of course, enhanced motivation. People with high self-efficacy are more likely to put extra effort in what they do, to self-set more challenging goals, and be more driven to improve their skills[10].

    Therefore, the belief that we can accomplish something serves as a self-fulfilling prophecy — it motivates us to try harder to prove to ourselves that we can do it.

    You can learn more about self-efficacy in this article: What Is Self Efficacy and How to Improve Yours

    2. Link Your Actions to a Greater Purpose

    Finding your “why” in life is incredibly important. This means that you need to be clear with yourself on why you do what you do and what drives you. What is intrinsically rewarding for you? 

    And no matter how mundane a task may be, it can always be linked to something bigger and better. Psychologists call this “reframing your narrative.”

    Remember the famous story of John F. Kennedy visiting NASA in 1961? As it goes, he met a janitor there and asked him what he did at NASA. The answer was:

    “I’m helping to put a man on the Moon.”

    Inspirational, isn’t it?

    Re-phrasing how your actions can help others and leave a mark in the universe can be a powerful driver and a meaning-creator.

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    3. Volunteer

    Volunteering is a great way to give back to the world. It can also help boost your internal motivation by making you feel important in supporting the less fortunate, learning new skills, feeling good about yourself, or linking to some of your inner values, such as kindness and humanitarianism[11].

    When you remove any external reward expectations and do something for the pure joy and fulfilment of improving others’ lives, then you are truly intrinsically motivated.

    4. Don’t Wait Until You “Feel Like It” to Do Something

    A great piece in the Harvard Business Review points out that when we say things as “I can’t make myself go to the gym” or “I can’t get up early,” what we actually mean is that we don’t feel like it[12]. There is nothing that psychically prevents us from doing those things, apart from our laziness.

    But here’s the thing: You don’t have to “feel like it” in order to take action.

    Sometimes, it so happens that you may not want to do something in the beginning, but once you start, you get into the flow and find your intrinsic motivation.

    For instance, you don’t feel like going to the gym after a long day at work. Rather than debating in your head for hours “for and against” it, just go. Tell yourself that you will think about it later. Once in the gym, surrounded by similar souls, you suddenly won’t fee that tired or uninspired.

    Another way to overcome procrastination is to create routines and follow them. Once the habit sets in, suddenly getting up at 6 am for work or writing for an hour every day won’t be so dreadful.

    5. Self-Determination, or the CAR Model (As I Call It)

    The Self-Determination theory was created by two professors of psychology from the University of Rochester in the mid-80s—Richard Ryan and Edward Deci[13]. The theory is one of the most popular ones in the field of motivation[14]. It focuses on the different drivers behind our behavior—i.e. the intrinsic and extrinsic motivators.

    There are three main needs, the theory further states, that can help us meet our need for growth. These are also the things which Profs. Deci and Ryan believed to be the main ways to enhance our intrinsic motivation—Competence, Autonomy, and Relatedness (CAR).

    If our jobs allow us to learn and grow, and if we have enough autonomy to do things our way and be creative, then we will be more driven to give our best, and our performance will soar. In addition, as humans are social beings, we also need to feel connected to others and respected.

    All of these sources of intrinsic motivation, separately and in combination, can become powerful instigators to keep us thriving, even when we feel uninspired and unmotivated .

    6. Tap Into a Deeper Reason

    Some interesting research done in 2016 sought answers to how high-performing employees remain driven when their company can’t or won’t engage in ways to motivate them—intrinsically or extrinsically[15].

    The study tracked workers in a Mexican factory, where they did exactly the same tasks every day, with virtually zero chances for learning new skills, developing professionally, or being promoted. Everyone was paid the same, regardless of performance. So there was no extrinsic motivation at all, other than keeping one’s job.

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    A third kind of motivation was then discovered, which scientists called “family motivation.” Workers who agreed more with statements such as “I care about supporting my family” or “It is important for me to do good for my family” were more energized and performed better, although they didn’t have any additional external or internal incentive to do so.

    The great thing about this kind of driver is that it’s independent of the company one works for or the situation. It taps into something even deeper—if you don’t want to do something for your own sake, then do it for the people you care for.

    And this is a powerful motive, as many can probably attest to this.

    Final Thoughts

    Frederick Herzberg, the American psychologist who developed what’s perhaps still today the most famous theory of motivation, in his renowned article from 1968 (which sold a modest 1.2 million reprints and it the most requested article from Harvard Business Review One More Time, How Do You Motivate Employees? wrote:[16]

    “If I kick my dog, he will move. And when I want him to move again, what must I do? I must kick him again. Similarly, I can charge a person’s battery, and then recharge it, and recharge it again. But it is only when one has a generator of one’s own that we can talk about motivation. One then needs no outside stimulation. One wants to do it.”

    Herzberg further explains that the so-called “hygiene factors” (salary, job security, benefits, vacation time, work conditions) don’t lead to fulfillment, nor motivation. What does, though, are the “motivators”—challenging work, opportunities for growth, achievement, greater responsibility, recognition, the work itself.

    Herzberg realized it long ago…intrinsic motivation tips the scales when it comes to finding long-term happiness and satisfaction in everything we do, and to improving our overall well-being.

    In the end, the next time when you need to give yourself a bit of a kick to get something done, remember to link it to a goal bigger than yourself, and preferably one that has non-material benefit.

    And no, don’t say that you tried but it’s just impossible to find internal motivation. Remember the janitor at NASA?

    Because once you find your internal generator, you will be truly unstoppable.

    More Tips to Boost Motivation

    Featured photo credit: Juan Ramos via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Harvard Business Review: Does Money Really Affect Motivation? A Review of the Research
    [2] Contemporary Educational Psychology: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [3] Scientific American: The Science of Lasting Happiness
    [4] The Guardian: Is the secret of productivity really just doing what you enjoy?
    [5] European Journal of Business and Management: Impact of Employee Motivation on Employee Performance
    [6] Adam Grant : Impact and the Art of Motivation Maintenance: The Effects of Contact With Beneficiaries on Persistence Behavior
    [7] Grand Valley State University: The Effect of Rewards and Motivation on Student Achievement
    [8] Encyclopedia Britannica: Albert Bandura
    [9] Pinterest: Self-Efficacy Theory
    [10] Educational Psychologist: Goal Setting and Self-Efficacy During Self-Regulated Learning
    [11] University of Minnesota: The Motivations to Volunteer: Theoretical and Practical Considerations
    [12] Harvard Business Review: How to Make Yourself Work When You Just Don’t Want To
    [13] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivations: Classic Definitions and New Directions
    [14] Richard Ryan and Edward Deci: Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being
    [15] Nick Tasler: How some people stay motivated and energized at work—even when they don’t love their jobs
    [16] Harvard Business Review: One More Time: How Do You Motivate Employees?

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