The Power of You

What if I told you you had a secret weapon?

You do.

Many times I write about improving systems and practices at work. I believe in this: many if not all work places can be improved – some dramatically – if these elements are re-thought, re-imagined and just plain re-engineered. But there’s another tool that can improve virtually any workplace in any industry.

The power of you.

While Eastern cultures often emphasize the preeminence of the group and the subservience of self, Western cultures tend to teach the opposite as we believe self needs trump groups’. But this isn’t an either/or question. Its both.

In the West our focus on self takes on two fundamentally flawed notions. On one hand, we support self so much that we teach people that their own status and self are paramount regardless of what they do. We want to foster self-esteem so we congratulate people on being normal for heaven’s sake. This is not healthy. On the other end of the dynamic countless misguided thought-leaders and social gurus preach that denial of self and admitting our flaws ad infinitum and often publicly is necessary for improvement. This too is unhelpful.

Just as the East teaches subservience to the group at the expense of the individual, without putting into proper context neither approach will be sufficient. We have to go back to the id and recognize our innate desires and dreams are in many cases valid – and within our reach. We need to act.

In every coaching exchange I’ve ever been a part of the people I’ve worked with recognized that they wanted more. More health, wealth, security, love, success, etc. However they personally defined success, they wanted more. But very few of these people actually believed they could achieve this.

How sad.

Part of the challenge of course is recognizing the cultural influences (East or West) we’ve grown up with. This takes a great deal of introspection and review. Beyond that though is recognizing what healthy goals are (I personally will never weigh 140 pounds: it isn’t healthy for my frame – 160 is, and I’ve been there) and more importantly what it will take to get there.

Call this realism, discipline or focus: use any word you like as long as you recognize this incontrovertible fact: you are capable of more.

The flaw in pop culture of course is that we believe to simply think these things is enough. I can “think” myself to health, wealth, etc. No. You cannot.

But the significant detail is this: you will never achieve what you personally believe success is if you don’t think you can. Said another way, “thinking” you can be better (whatever that means to you) is not enough: but you can’t actually become better if you don’t think you can. This is your secret weapon.

Think that you can. And then do the work. It is a two part equation.

You can do more, you can experience more and you can enjoy life more. If you believe it – and work on it.

You are your own secret weapon.

No go out and start living.

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