09/10/2013 03:56 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Path to Building Your Power

The core of your power is in the nature and value of your meaningful contributions. A year is a reasonably long time to make something meaningful happen. Since you can't make magic happen on the final day of the year, a quarter provides a good check point to see if something will happen at the end of the year. Extending the logic, we can get down to a month, then a week and to a day when the needle has to move in a meaningful fashion to make a difference.

We can stretch this even further going down to a part of the day to see if you are creating meaning. That would put some pressure on you to do something meaningful every day but we really need to go even further -- stretch it all the way.

For you to do something meaningful in a day, it has to be in one or more "contexts that matter" for that day. A few examples of "contexts that matter" for the day:

  • Your staff meeting
  • An email you are sending to a potential prospect
  • An email you are sending to one of your current clients
  • The proposal you are preparing for an upcoming opportunity
  • A meeting with your potential partner
  • A meeting with the editor for your new book

... and so on.

The shortest available time window you have available to make an impact is "a context that matters."

Dials for a Context That Matters

Ultimately, what you have to bring to a context that matters is YOU and a whole lot more. Here are the dials that you need to take care of on your path to more power. Set the dials at the right levels and you will come out in flying colors in THAT context that matters. Repeat this in more "contexts that matter" during the day and you will come out a winner for that day. Now keep repeating the same as many days as possible. More power will be a by-product of that practice.

Without further ado, here is the partial list of dials in no particular order:


1. Mindshare: You can be present but have your mindshare somewhere else. Presence does not guarantee mindshare but providing your mindshare guarantees presence.

2. Moods: Moods matter way more than you can imagine. A positive spin helps shed the extra baggage. It sets the stage for how you will see the context. Start with a bad mood and you have to battle it out to make some meaning out of that context.

3. Intent: Your intent is generally not visible outside but your actions and words will give a clue about your true intent.

4. Resourcefulness: Resourcefulness in simple terms is one's ability to marshal all available resources in the most optimal fashion. Rarely do everyone have all the resources they need to make the most of the current context. You are no exception. However, your resourcefulness will play a major role in how much you will make out of the context in question.

5. Preparation: There is really no excuse to go unprepared to face a context that matters. Surprises are always in the store but good preparation goes a long way to help you win.

6. Curiosity: You and are I eternal students of life whether we agree or not, curiosity is your key to learning from that context. Have a lot of it and you will come out a better person or have none of it and the context will have no charm.

7. Humility: Even when you know a lot about the context in question, a posture of humility will open new possibilities. There is little downside and a huge upside if you on with a posture of humility in the context in question.

Putting the Learning Into Action:

Think about a context that mattered in the last 24 hours. Do a self audit on all the dials to see how much of YOU were present in that context. Change the dials to the positive a bit and see if the result would have been any different.

Next, think about an upcoming context that matters. In your next email, your next meeting or that blog post you are working on. Consciously set the right levels of all the dials mentioned above before you enter the contest. You will see a difference in how you will handle that context.

It is one tiny step on your path to power.