Public Speaking Super Powers Podcast: Season 4, Episode 6
Length: 9 minutes, 12 seconds
If you want to be a successful speaker, you need to learn how to tap into your personal power. In today’s episode, I talk about personal power – what it is and how you can tap into yours.
According to Robert Firestone Ph.D., “Personal power is based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction, and meaning in one’s interpersonal world.”
And Adam Sicinski says that 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.”
Speakers who have high levels of personal power are more successful because they are confident, speak up and step up, and resourcefully pursue their goals. Wouldn’t you like to have all that?
Of course, you do! Here are 5 habits that people with high levels of personal power do that you can emulate, as well.
Habit #1: They don’t play the blame game
People with personal power take responsibility for their actions, decisions, emotions, and thought processes. They don’t blame these things on others or play the victim.
Does this mean that things outside of their control don’t happen to them? Of course not!
But the way they approach these whims of fate is different than the approach of those with low personal power.
For example, two people get a flat tire. The person with low personal power may get upset and blame the road, bad luck, or even God for the flat. They tell a story about the experience with them playing the role of the victim of happenstance.
Although a person with high personal power may also get upset — flat tires are rarely convenient events – they do not see themselves as a victim of the event. For this person, the flat tire is neutral – annoying, possibly even inconvenient, but not a personal attack. It simply happened. They deal with it and move on.
So how can you practice this habit? Understand that you are not a victim. When less-than-ideal things happen – like flat tires and PowerPoint slides that don’t work and shoes that break while you’re on stage – deal with it and move on.
Habit #2: They forgive easily
This habit may not seem to affect your speaking directly, but because it is closely related to Habit #1, it is worth mentioning.
Those who have high levels of personal power know that forgiveness is not for the person who hurt them, but for themselves. When you harbor hatred and hold on to grudges, you hurt no one but yourself.
Forgiveness is empowering. It allows you to move on from the transgression and grow. You don’t have to forget the transgression when you forgive, but letting it go will give you the power and the freedom to move past it.
Now I understand from personal experience this can be easier said than done. But if you make an effort to forgive, little by little you will get there.
People who easily forgive have lighter spiritual loads to carry, and so they can spend more time living in the present and being present for their audiences.
Before I move on to the next habit, here is a quick commercial break.
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Hi! This is Carma Spence, author of Public Speaking Super Powers and host of this podcast of the same name. Before the break, I shared what personal power was – at its core, self-mastery – and the first two of five habits that people with high personal power have. Let’s move on to …
Habit #3: They set boundaries
Boundaries are an important asset for developing and honing your personal power. Those with high levels of personal power set emotional and physical boundaries. This allows them to control how they spend their time and with whom they spend it. They don’t blame others for wasting their time or for forcing them to do anything.
These boundaries also play a role in the first habit I mentioned, not playing the victim. You have the power to control what you do, how you view the time you spend, and who you blame. Those with high levels of personal power don’t blame others for anything.
One of the best ways to practice this habit is to learn to say, “No.” If someone asks you to do something you don’t want to do, kindly say, “No.”
Another way to practice is habit is with self-care. Do you need to avoid staying up late or consuming certain foods or beverages before a speaking engagement? Then if someone asks you to stay up late or consume one of your “forbidden” foods or beverages, politely decline.
FOMO – that is “fear of missing out” – has no hold on the person with high personal power!
Habit #4: They take responsibility for their actions
This may sound like a repeat of habit # 1, but it really isn’t. Habit #1 was about not blaming others. This habit is about facing the music, whether it is pleasant or not.
Those with high levels of personal power take full responsibility for their actions, as well as their decisions. You won’t hear these people saying that so-and-so made them feel a certain way or that someone forced them to do something. They take responsibility, control, and power.
Only you control your emotions, actions, and choices. No one can force a person with personal power to do anything.
When you take responsibility for your actions, you understand that there are consequences and you don’t try to skirt them if you don’t like them. “I didn’t have any other choice,” doesn’t flow from their lips. There is always a choice, and high personal power people accept that.
For example, let’s say you’ve been offered a speaking gig but it isn’t a good fit for you. You haven’t had speaking gigs coming in lately and you could use the income. What do you do?
If you have high personal power, you have two options:
- Say no to the gig
- Say yes to the gig and put in the extra work you need to do to give that audience your best
The consequences of option 1 are you don’t get the income, but you leave space open for something else to come along that will better suit you.
The consequences of option 2 are that you may have to put in a lot of extra work to speak to an audience filled with people who are not your target audience.
Both are valid choices and a person who taps into their personal power will accept the results of their choice.
Habit #5: They don’t complain, they problem solve
You don’t get anywhere by simply grumbling and complaining. Only looking for a solution will move you forward. Those with high levels of personal power don’t grumble and complain (or at least they don’t do so for long). Instead, they look for what they can do to fix the problem.
To be clear, when something less than ideal happens, everyone is going to take at least a moment to vent or voice their frustration. The difference is that a high personal power person doesn’t stay there for long, and soon starts looking for a way to solve the problem.
Here’s an example. I was at a marketing event. One speaker got up on stage in heels and about 10 minutes into her presentation, the heel of one of her shoes fell off. She stubbled a moment (who wouldn’t!) and then found the solution: She took off her shoes and continued the presentation in stocking feet.
Mishaps happen, but you don’t need to let them stop you from accomplishing your goals.
So there you have it! The 5 habits that people with high personal power exhibit. Did you hear one that you need or want to work on?
As Lao-Tzu once said, “He who controls others may be powerful, but he who has mastered himself is mightier still.”
So go out there and unleash your inner speaking superhero by mastering your Mind Goblins and continuously working on your self-mastery.
This is Carma Spence, of PublicSpeakingSuperPowers.com, signing off.
About the Public Speaking Super Powers Podcast
Is there a topic you’d like covered on the podcast? Would you like to ask a question about Public Speaking on the show? Send your suggestions and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and mention that it is for the PSSP podcast.