Principle 5: Personal Power

We are on the home stretch! So far, we’ve introduced the Promotion Principles, and started to describe why each one matters with an overview of the first 4 Principles: Performance, Potential, Presence and People.

Today, we’re going to get into the last principle: Personal Power.

I saved the best for last. Mastering this principle can have an exponentially positive effect on your ability to excel in the other principles. So, let’s get into it…

Personal Power: What is it and why it matters.


Personal Power is the ability to become promotable while behaving in a way that is authentic to you.

It’s about working in a way that aligns with who you genuinely are as a person, even when that means changing aspects of yourself to get promoted. It’s about operating in harmony with the person you are, and the person you are becoming.

Make degrees of change without becoming someone you’re not

Personal Power is your ability to get promoted just as you are, only better. To become the best version of yourself. It’s the capability to make degrees of changes to yourself without becoming someone you’re not.

As part of your path to get promoted, it’s inevitable you’ll find yourself needing to change certain aspects of yourself. Aspects that are preventing you from developing the abilities essential to getting promoted. 

As I covered in previous posts, each Promotion Principle represents an ability, a domain of knowledge and capability, that is essential to get promoted: Performance is your ability to produce results, Potential is your ability to take on more responsibility, Presence is your ability to show up with impact, and People is your ability to gain advocacy and support from others.


Developing abilities is very personal

The way to develop these abilities is very personal, and dependent upon your unique traits, beliefs, and values. Some will be easier for you to develop than others.

For example, if you were raised to have a strong work ethic, and believe rewards come to those who put in the time and effort, you’ll naturally be inclined to persevere through difficult assignments and show your ability as a high performer. 

But some abilities will be more challenging to master. 

If you’re naturally quiet and reserved, it may be difficult for you to find your voice and speak up. But just because it doesn’t come naturally for you doesn’t mean you don’t do it. At least not if you want to get promoted. 

This is when it becomes necessary to alter aspects of yourself—adjust your personal style, adopt new traits, adapt specific behaviors, or even change limiting beliefs.


Altering aspects of yourself can be a delicate balance

Often these changes are good for you—like learning to tone down your temper to show composure during times of stress. They can also be necessary to push you outside your comfort zone. For example, overcoming your fear of public speaking to become a competent presenter. 

But altering aspects of yourself can be a delicate balance. The degree of change can’t be a 180 turn from who you genuinely are as a person. You still need to be recognizably you at the end of the day. To be the real deal, not a fake or phony.

The bigger challenge comes into play when modifying behaviors or taking actions to advance your career goes beyond bending natural tendencies or getting uncomfortable, and directly conflicts with your personal standards and beliefs. 

If you choose not to do anything, you may very well find your career stalled out. Yet if you choose to go ahead and change your behavior, you won’t win either—you’ll feel like a fraud and likely be seen that way by others too. 

Learning how to respond to difficult situations like this is essential to career advancement.

Signs You’re Becoming a Better Version of Yourself.

Here’s two sure signs that your authentic self is coming through loud and clear, and in a way that is accelerating your ability to get promoted.

You know you.

This means you know yourself. You know what makes you tick. You know your traits, values, and beliefs. You pay attention to the little voice telling you when something isn’t right, and do something about it. And you know how your values and beliefs impact your behaviors, decisions, and actions. You recognize when they are working for you, or against you. How they help or hinder your path to a promotion.

You don’t give up.

You can masterfully manage your career journey on your own terms. Your ability to be authentic at work is a source of resilience and ingenuity. When faced with a situation that requires actions or behaviors that don’t feel authentic for you, you don’t give up or refuse to act. You take accountability to find an alternative path forward, one that is congruent with your ideals.

Common Blockers

Do you feel stuck and can’t pinpoint why? Here’s a few reasons why you may be struggling to make the changes necessary to get ahead at work.


You lack awareness.

Can you list off your top work beliefs and values? Can you explain them to others? If not, it’s time for some self-discovery to learn more about what makes you tick.

Someone who lacks self-awareness is going to struggle. If you don’t understand what drives your decisions and behaviors, it will be difficult to identify what you need to change, and significantly hinder your ability to get ahead.


You focus on the easy work.

When altering aspects of yourself to become more promotable, you’ll find some attributes are more pliable than others.

It’s often easier to fine tune your personal style than modify your behavior. And it’s certainly easier than changing a limiting belief. But be careful, don’t spend more time doing something because it’s easier. You’ve got to do the hard work too. 

Surface work won’t be enough to get promoted, you’ve got to dig deeper. Stop fixating over what to wear or say to project confidence. Instead, do something that scares you—and genuinely grow your confidence. 


You refuse to change.

There may be times when your path to get promoted seems insurmountable, or maybe even feels like you need to become someone you’re not to get ahead. You say things like, I’m not willing to do that to get ahead, or if that’s what it takes to get promoted, forget about it.

But these words are just an attempt to justify your inaction and will only lead to more disappointment and frustration.

By all means, stand by your beliefs and values. But don’t use them as an excuse for why you’re not able to advance your career. Don’t assume the only way forward is to behave in a way that conflicts with your values.

There is always more than one way to achieve a goal. Take accountability, reframe your situation, and consider alternative actions.

Up Next…

This post covered the basic blocking and tackling on what Personal Power means and why it’s important.

To read more of my thoughts around personal power, check out my “personal power” category which contains all my posts related to working in harmony with the person you are, and the person you are becoming.

Next, we’ll look at how the Promotion Principles relate to each other, and how to work them altogether to finally get promoted!




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