When it comes to success, I don’t care how great your experience, resume and education are, willpower trumps them all. To understand willpower we need to first break it down.
Will: The ability to make a conscious choice. We all have free will, even if it is to obey the commands of others.
Willpower: The motivation to exercise will. If you have strong willpower you will assert decisions eves in the face of strong opposition. Someone with weak willpower will give in easily.
In order to get what you want, you have to have willpower. Willpower is the most powerful weapon you have in all areas of your life – personal and professional. Willpower enables us to do our best each day. It is the power that enables us to overcome obstacles to keep moving forward. Quitting, retreating and surrendering are due to a lack of willpower. Sometimes that’s a good thing. But most of the time it’s not.
Here are 4 ways you can master your own willpower to achieve exactly what you want.
Turn your frustration into fascination:
I borrowed this one from one of my yoga teachers. It was during a recent class that I was super frustrated and it turned out her mantra for the class was to “turn your frustration into fascination.” I’m sure she didn’t choose that because she’s a mind reader (although I’ll humor myself and choose to believe she’s that in tune with me specifically). It’s because it’s so common. We’re all frustrated about something at least once a day.
I took this principle and immediately put it to work. I sat down and thought about exactly what and who I found to frustrate me. Then, I let my mind wander and started to think about their world, who they are, what the situation was. I found that I was able to compartmentalize my frustrations and look at them as a fascinated outsider. It was almost like watching an elephant (or panda or whatever you fancy) at the zoo.
When you reduce or eliminate frustration you free up yet another obstacle. Frustration can make us want to give up. Get rid of it. Turn it into fascination.
Manage your temple:
Taking care of our health, wellness and fitness is essential for success and willpower. It’s proven (time and time again) that physical exercise reduces stress and helps with depression, anxiety and so much more. All of these get in the way of our willpower. In addition to taking care of our bodies we also need to take care of our mind and soul.
Stress affects us in so many ways, and can lead to many health problems. We have to take care of ourselves before we can take care of anyone else. I find this is often a challenge for women, who all too often put themselves last or leave little time for themselves.
Your body is your temple. Eat healthy, get physical activity, sleep, take vacations (time off to do something fun), and have healthy stress-relieving activities.
Pivot to problem solve:
Keep the goal but be willing to be flexible with getting there. Our willpower can be squashed if we feel our path to the goal fails. Sometimes we are focused on one way to get to the goal. When we’re willing to pivot it’s easier for our willpower to stay strong. So what if the first way didn’t work. Try another way. Or another. It took Edison 1,000 tries to make the light bulb. He famously said, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
Walk it off:
Suck it up. Walk it off. Ha! I don’t mean it to sound that harsh. But, the more we let roll off our backs, the stronger our willpower will be. Turning our frustration into fascination can help with this. And taking an actual walk also helps. Before you give up or say sayonara to your willpower, take a walk and remember that life is short and very few things are really that serious. You can pivot and still achieve your goal. As a dog lover I have a mantra that “dogs are how people would be if the important stuff was all that mattered to us.”
So go out there and rock your willpower! You can overcome any obstacle you want if you choose to.