People love the idea of magic.
The Hobbit, a fantasy novel published in 1937, has never been out of print. When the first Harry Potter book hit the bookstores in 1997, it quickly became a worldwide phenomenon.
But it’s not just characters in books filled with witches and wizards who have magical powers. While you might not qualify for admittance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, you do have your own brand of powers.
The question is: are you using them?
I recently had a client cancel a long-planned day off when a co-worker failed to get a client proposal done on time. Despite having ample notice of her availability, he caught her as she was heading out the door and threatened to send it without her input. Concerned that in its current state the proposal would reflect poorly on their company, she unhappily abandoned her plans.
As I listened to Nancy express her frustration that this happened frequently and she had no choice but to do what she did, I was reminded of an incident with my niece and nephew.
Quite young at the time – two and four – they were happily playing together when suddenly Adam burst into heart-breaking sobs. Unable to resist the opportunity to be super-aunt, I rushed over and, as his older sister sat by smirking, Adam sobbed, “Alyssa stole my magic powers.” His tears dried up instantly when I explained she wasn’t actually able to do that. I believe he’s hung onto them ever since.
Even though no one explicitly told Nancy her powers were being stolen, once she believed she had no choice, she felt as powerless as my nephew Adam.
Unlike Harry Potter and his friends, your magic doesn’t come from a wand, a spell-book, and a cupboard full of potions, but from seeing your options … and exercising them. In Nancy’s case, covering for her co-worker’s failure to meet his deadline was only one option. Once we began talking, she realized it was well within her control – her power – to have said “no” and let her co-worker deal with the consequences, or to have offered to do an abbreviated review.
Next time you find yourself getting ready to agree to something you really don’t want to do, pause for a moment to evaluate your choices. If none are immediately coming to mind, let the person in front of you (or on the phone) know you’ll get back to them in a few minutes. Then go ask a friend or a co-worker to help you brainstorm other options. You’ll be surprised by how many there actually are.
Your powers might be a little rusty, but once you start using them regularly it won’t be long before they’re second nature. And just like magic, you’ll find yourself living your day the way you want to live your life.
Sherry Essig, founder of Flow-Dynamix, specializes in helping professionals get unstuck so they can joyfully live their potential and achieve goals that energize them. Her work is built on an understanding that your professional career and your personal life are two aspects of the whole that is you. Personal development is professional development. She blends over 25 years of business experience, applied metrics, and in-depth coach training with the principles of leadership of self, positive psychology, and yoga. Sherry holds a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) credential and is a certified yoga teacher. © Copyright 2009 Sherry Essig, All rights reserved.
Sherry@Flow-Dynamix.com :: @sherryessig on Twitter