Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Dare to be Powerful

- by Matt Leedham

“When I dare to be powerful – [that is] to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
- Audre Lorde (American Poet, Teacher and Activist; 1934-1992)

This is an interesting quote as it addresses many components of personal goal setting in just one short sentence. Let’s start at the end and move backwards.

“…it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” I addressed fear in two separate posts recently because fear is a critical piece of success. Fear, and the ability to overcome it, seems to be a common trait among people that achieve great things in life. And while I had been suggesting that you become more and more comfortable with it, Lorde is suggesting that you can simply make fear less and less relevant in your life. But how?

“…use my strength in the service of my vision…” To use your strength, you must first know your strength. Through my experience in working with others, I find that there is a standard gap between having a strength, and knowing that strength. To know yourself comes from a deep respect and acceptance of who you are, at the core, and can be achieved through personal reflection, or exercises to elicit your core values, tendencies, preferences, and behavioral and thinking styles. That’s why, at Velocity, we spend a significant amount of time focusing on core values in the beginning of our live courses. It’s the foundation for moving forward and is critical to understand about yourself.

The second part of this section of the quote is about vision. What does it mean to have a “vision?” You may hear about vision and mission statements in corporate settings, and it’s not much different in your personal life. A vision is an image or a picture of where you want to be at a future date. Some people prefer to think 1 year out, and others think 3 years out. I generally advise people not to think out much further than that, as things can change so much and the vision can become blurry. The key to having a vision is to imagine it and write it down with such vivid detail that it seems real. Think of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa – the beauty is in the detail. That’s why some people refer to your personal vision as your “painted picture.”

When you know yourself and your strengths, and have a clear, vivid image of where you want to go, can you see how fear becomes less relevant? Can you see how emotional challenges and obstacles begin to melt away? Can you see how material challenges and obstacles, while very real and tangible, become puzzles through which you need to find alternate solutions? Living with confidence in knowing who you are and where you want to go is very liberating.

And finally, can you see how this “knowing of yourself” and this “visioning” can be quite powerful?

Dare to exercise the strengths you have. Dare to use those strengths in service of your vision. You can overcome fear and achieve great things. Dare to be powerful, my friends.

How have you used your strengths in service of your vision? Share your thoughts and stories below and leave a comment!

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