Feel like everyone else’s agenda runs your day and you can’t get anything done at work? You can break this cycle – here’s how…

Do you feel incompetent, insufficient, discouraged or powerless to get done what you need to or want to accomplish?  Welcome to inefficacy.


How much would you agree with these statements:


  • I accomplish the things that really matter every day at work.
  • I have the resources I need to get my job done.
  • I feel supported and encouraged at work by my colleagues.
  • I value my contributions at work.
  • Others value my contributions at work.
  • I feel qualified to do my job.
  • I feel I can handle anything that may come up in my job.
  • It’s ok to contribute to others in my unique way.
  • My job matters.
  • I play an active role in addressing issues that come up related to my work or workplace.


If your degree of agreement with many of the statements above is low, you may be at risk for experiencing a feeling of powerlessness at your job which can lead to disengagement and eventually burnout.


Feeling powerless at work is especially concerning because it can directly affect the quality of your work.  We all know when the quality of your work falls, we stand out – and not in a good way.  In my experience, management tends to tolerate a degree of cynicism from workers who are still producing strong results – and everyone can easily empathize with exhaustion because we all experience it from time to time.  But when you don’t produce – your boss isn’t producing – so it’s a problem that quickly gets noticed.


Although there is a lot an organization can do to improve an employee’s ability to recover more quickly from inefficacy – but often it’s left to the individual to “shape up or ship out.”  It usually goes down something like this “It might be a tough time/situation, but your _____________________ (fill in the blank with some negatively perceived quality you may have – i.e. anger, complaining, lack of confidence, unwillingness to participate, etc.), isn’t helping.”


The organization often sees feelings of powerlessness as the employee’s problem to fix – not theirs.  Organizations tend to do their part by starting performance counseling – a “talking to”, poor reviews,  written documentation, demotion, etc. or threats of those things come your way to put you on notice that you need to improve.


So, do you feel like everyone else’s agenda runs your day and you can’t get anything done at work?  You can break this cycle – here’s how…

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10 Secret Skills that Build and Convey a Personal Sense of Power and Engagement for your Work

From now though March I offer to you a countdown of 10 Secret Skills that build and convey a personal sense of power and engagement for your work.  I suggest them as a countdown because I believe that they are a progressive set of skills that can be developed – meaning working on #10 provides a solid foundation that makes #9 easier to do and share with others.  In other words, I believe it’s going to be very hard to tap into Secret Skill #1 if you haven’t yet incorporated Secret Skill #10 into your daily work.


You might be wondering 2 things…


1.  Why should I value building a sense of power for my work?  Because when we feel that we have something unique to contribute to others it energizes us and makes us feel like we matter.  Do you want to tap into a greater sense of energy and fulfillment from your work?


2.  Why should I value conveying a sense of power for my work?  Because when others get a sense that we are powerful we inspire others (and stand out over other job candidates when we are interviewing).  Inspiring others connects us to a personal sense of mastery of our work.  (Check out what Harvard Business Review has to say about why inspiration matters).  Becoming a master often frees us from external factors (i.e. what others think, do and say) as contributing more to our sense of self-importance and value to others and shifts our source toward internal factors (i.e. what we think, do and say) as contributing more to our sense of self-importance and value to others.  We then become more intention-focused vs. (material) reward-focused.  That shift creates a more sustainable connection to happiness and (therefore), success from our work.   From that the materials markers of success flow more naturally and in greater abundance than we could imagine than when we were solely focused on collecting them.  They become an effortless by-product of our happiness and engagement at work.


Our jobs are one of the easiest realms of our life to make a difference because unlike in family dynamics there is no pre-context for others about what we are capable of – (or what might be appropriate for us to be capable of in relation to our elders or given some scale of privileged or tradition we were born into).  At work the people we serve are always welcoming and hopeful for us to give our best.


Boosting up the volume on the “secret skills” you already have can matter greatly to those who are served by you or work with you – especially if you…

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Balance, balance, balance – “Blend” your values

I recently figured out a way to “blend” two of my values.  This was inspired by my life long quest for balance.  If you are like me, you too cram too many things into a 16 hour window each day (sometimes for me it’s a 20 hour window).  But if you also value sleep like I do (man, oh, man – I do like my sleep!), then you must get creative about how you accomplish all the things that matter to you – so I seek to “blend”.  What do I mean by “blending” my values?  Let me share with you a recent real-life success story about blending my values…

Well – I have (as you do too), values in my life – things that I hold near and dear to my heart and/or purpose on this planet.

One of those things is being a Mom.  My value statement for being a Mom is:

“When my life is ideal, I am a loving, kind Mother who serves my children like they are a priority and matter at set times of the day and when they call upon me for assistance no matter what else is going on at the time or regardless of how I might feel.  This or something better!  I make choices that favor my values.”

One of my other values is leading a healthy lifestyle – that includes exercising.

Many of you know, especially if you are parents of younger children, that it can be challenging for these two values to co-exist harmoniously.

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