Anais Nin said “Life shrinks or expands directly in proportion to one’s courage.”
When you are trying to influence someone, when you are trying to have power, it helps to share a vision of the future – to take them some place, and better yet, to use archetypes, stories, and images while painting the picture of a new future.
People love archetypes because they conjure up the notion of all things that stem from that original prototype. Images, literally imagining the outcome you want, helps mobilize unseen energy - a phenomenon which has actually been proven through the study of particle physics.
A practical way to start this process of visioning is in every meeting, whether it be with a donor or a staff member or your boss, in relationship to any project or goal, ask them: "What would success look like? What would “winning” look or feel like?"
If you can imagine your goal and give it texture and shape, it is much more likely that you all will achieve the outcome you are seeking. It’s all part of “shared power.” If you build it, they will come…
People frequently ask me about female sports champions and what I've learned of their careers and their success. I often share stories about coaches who have their athletes visualize themselves at the gold medal ceremony and how this practice motivates and focuses their efforts.
All of the successful athletes I've met had this in common: they worked incredibly hard and diligently at their skills and their sport. If you want to reach your goals, then you must believe that if you work harder and smarter, you will win.
Sure, you and all athletes know that you may not win every time and there will always be someone who is more powerful, but in the long run, longevity and “stick-to-it-iveness” will prevail… potentially even over those who may be more powerful! This has been shown over and over in many advocacy efforts for social change.
Look forward with courage, play with ‘winning’ in mind and work hard - these are three essential components for realizing your goals.
“Follow your passion with persistence, magnified by intense preparation. Use compassion and courage to weave a strong web of connections. Use focused excellence to drive achievements and gain wisdom. It is through the combination of all these things that your power will reveal itself.”
- Shirley Ann Jackson, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute President