Four Acts of Personal Power: Healing Your Past and Creating a Positive Future

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It is good for us to slow down and look at these lives and use what we learn to adjust the course of our lives to be the best we can be. There is much we can learn from others. Biographies provide us with feedback on our own lives in a most palatable way if we take the time to apply what we learn. None of these admirals was perfect, but we can learn from them all.

A leader should avoid getting into a position where the only way to persuade an audience is by an almost magical feat of rhetoric. Great leaders learn how to balance inherent uncertainty with a firm-enough grasp of context to enable decisive action. Finding the balance between determination and an open mind is one of the ongoing tests of character for us all. The most defining issue of character is curiosity. You need the deepest reserves of character—strategic patience especially—to implement vision. Rickover was a curious combination of someone who was supremely tactically impatient, to the point of real anger, but had deep reserves of strategic patience to implement a long-term vision—a very rare combination in terms of character, and it served him well.

A little innovation today is often the best insurance against epochal change tomorrow. I often ask—and especially encourage young leaders to ask—what any organization I lead is doing right now that is going to look really wrong fifty years in the future. Stavridis shares ten character traits that he has learned from the admirals he showcases and from his own experience as an admiral.

Second is resilience. Learn from your experiences and set new goals and keep moving. Third, he lists humility. Arrogance is toxic to a leader. The fourth quality is the need to find balance in our lives. Most of the admirals he lists in the book failed this test. After all, ambition often drives the lack of balance in our lives.

Four Acts of Personal Power: How to Heal Your Past and Create a Positive Future online

Sixth is empathy. Seventh is believing a sense of justice matters.

Self-control is at work here. Eighth is decisiveness. Ninth is determination. And while some distractions seem to be adding to our life, they are actually undermining our growth. Distractions take us away from what we should be doing and kills our momentum. But the problem with distractions goes deeper than that. Clay Scroggins deals with the root problem and the impact it has on our leadership in How to Lead in a World of Distraction and offers some solid advice. And it works. That outside noise distracts us for a time.

In mutes the inner turmoil, the uncomfortable emotions, the pain, the inadequacy, the discomfort, the memories. We allow our emotions to control our lives instead of taking control of them, and it puts a lid on our growth. As leaders, we need to be aware of the distractions that affect us and deal with what is going on inside of us. Scroggins offers four noise-canceling habits that will allow you to turn down the noise low enough and long enough to tune into the emotions going on inside you.

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Know your why. He suggests we ask four questions of ourselves: What are the things I no longer need? What can I afford to get rid of? What are the things keeping me from what matters most? Speaking to Yourself. That voice inside our heads. That voice that tells us who we are and what choices we should make. Distractions, like social media, create insecurities.

And that insecurity takes us in all kinds of unhealthy directions.

It snowballs the negative things you hear and say throughout your day in powerful ways. Your self-talk should be about the kind of person—the kind of leader—you want to be. It is important to get away to a quiet place.


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It can be anywhere you can find some solitude. Pressing Pause. You have to plan for a time-out. Taking a fast from social media is a good way to slow down and create some space in your life. But not just social media.

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It helps you to re-center your life and realign with your why. You can step back from all of the noise and see the bigger picture. One of his most important and insightful chapters is the last chapter, Master Control. Growing as a leader means taking control—mastering control. And specifically, what is going on inside of us. To begin, there are two questions we should think about:.

What are you going to allow to control you? Who are you going to allow to control you? Positive emotions release dopamine and serotonin, and we keep coming back for more, and they can take control. So far, so good. But negative emotions will produce the same effect, and so we keep them around as well, returning to them again and again. In their own way, they also make us feel better.

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And as with an addictive substance, the more you take the bait on them, the more your tolerance of them grows. And the more your tolerance grows, the more you create the patterns that keep you coming back for more. The busier my life gets, the louder the nose. The louder the noise, the cloudier my future feels. W HO IS looking out for you?

In Learning to Lead , Williams shows how anyone can grow and succeed as leaders. He grew up in a working-class family in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Chicago in the s. The book is exceptional. He weaves the experiences of his career with the lessons we can all learn from them. Well told and insightful. He begins by asserting that the single most important asset you have is you. As a result, you need to focus on getting better. To do that you need to really think about what you are going to do differently.

If you want to be extraordinary, you need to stretch yourself above the average person. Exceed your job description. Do it for you and build a reputation.

For him, his underprivileged background represented an opportunity. It is our mindset that often makes it impossible to escape the box we find ourselves in.

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Mentorship must arise naturally out of the situation rather than being forced. As you work on learning to lead yourself, you should also seek out others whose examples, experiences, and insights can be of value to you. When people do or seem to get in your way, rather than finding blame, assume positive intent.