WillPower 2016

The key to success…willPower

This week, we arrive at the mother of all the words of willPower… “willPower” itself. The timing of this week’s word is curiously impeccable — right in the midst of the holiday season when many of us feel our willPower is at its lowest point.

More often than not, when you hear someone speak of their willPower, isn’t it described negatively or in deficit — as in something s/he lacks or struggles to maintain?

This begs the question(s):

  • Are our expectations too high?
  • Is our willPower improperly fueled?
    Or…
  • Is our definition incorrect?

In practice, what is “willPower” to you? Is it what stops you from going in for that third (fourth, or fifth…) piece of pizza? Is your willPower responsible for keeping you honest at work and not, say, incessantly scrolling through your social media newsfeed? In your workouts, do you think of willPower as the element that keeps you from stopping or giving up when the intensity escalates?

Most of the time, willPower feels like a slap on the wrist or an internal policing. We’re “bad” otherwise. The problem is, this doesn’t elicit our best behavior…

Looking at the dictionary, “willPower” is described as a type of self-control.

Since self-control can be motivated by the ego and things, such as fear, pain, self-hatred, rigid standards…or someone else’s standards, our willPower is difficult to maintain…not because we are “bad”, but because it is negatively formed.

Granted, if someone is chasing you, you will run, but when that negative reinforcement is not there, you may stop…for a Starbucks or an extra slice of pizza. Or, even when that negative reinforcement is there, you’re apt to find a crafty way out…

Ouch, my knee hurts. Sorry, I can’t make it today. I guess I have no willPower… See how willPower becomes an easy scapegoat?

To summon willPower from a positive place is the key to success. Think of willPower as putting a core desire into motion. The “power” behind your “will” is now positively-aligned with something you want. Since the “what” of our desires is deeply personal and often mysteriously orchestrated, we concern ourselves more with the “how” of execution. As in…

  • How do we get our desires in motion?
  • And, how do we keep them there?

#1 Start from a pure place. That pure place of wanting what you want.

#2 Then, practice, of course…using the action words of willPower, such as REMEMBER, FOCUS, and SURRENDER.

For more on this week’s word, check out Choose to be strong…willPower.

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah Ingmanson

Sarah is a studio owner, fitness instructor and competitor. She is a former investment banker and equity research analyst with her MBA from the Wharton School and her MA in International Affairs from the Lauder Institute of the University of Pennsylvania. Sarah is fluent in Japanese and consults with Japanese companies on corporate governance, finance, and investor relations. Sarah's interest in Japan stemmed from her first tour with Disney On Ice as a professional figure skater. For more info on Sarah and her studio, visit www.starslocker.com.