Personal power and a sense of purpose are at the foundation of real productivity. Having a sense of purpose that is compelling for you fuels personal power and passion. Personal power is not about ‘power over’ others. It is not even about always ‘being in control’ over the environment. Haven’t you noticed? We cannot always control the environment or what happens to us, so we surely cannot really control other people.

The key to true personal power is mastering your own thoughts and feelings, the two ingredients for your life experience. What we think and feel determines our actions. It is not about time management. It is about Self-Management. True self-mastery will require you to get clear about what is purposeful for you. Doing so will allow you to make a real impact instead of simply burning out.

A strong sense of self-worth and confidence are required to create a Purpose Filter, as you will have to speak up and explicitly communicate when asked to do something that is not relevant to how you need to authentically show up in life.

Answering the heart’s need to know ‘Why’ fuels passion and purpose. Passion increases your energy, focus, and ease in accomplishing your tasks. Why do you want to be on that Board? Why do you have that long to-do list? How will you accomplish the tasks on that list most effectively? What will it do for your family, friends, and community? How will it positively impact the world? Having a purpose that is important to you makes work less like work, and more enjoyable.

Let me be clear – productivity is NOT synonymous with activity. As a whole, people are busier and more stressed than ever. And more skill, innovation, and productivity are being expected now than ever. How are you going to get it all done? In fact, the more helpless and overwhelmed one feels, the less focused, empowered, or clear she or he is, and then the less likely the end result goal will be reached in a form of excellence, if at all. How are we going to do all this?

Where to begin? While it is important to do a “brain dump” onto paper all that you are carrying in your head (holding it there is not a good idea for your personal power or your vitality), you need to then determine what to do with it all.

I have a Purpose Filter. It is about being strong and courageous enough to get off others’ hamster wheels and decide where you want to go and what is important for you. Once you have a Purpose Filter, you can run your to-do list through it and get rid of what is not relevant. Ask yourself, what should be delegated, and then begin to reflect on a plan to sort and accomplish tasks over time – with maneuverability built in.

In addition to tactical steps, you need to consider the importance of retraining your brain. Your old habits are likely to keep you stuck. Personal growth is important for true personal power and living on purpose. While this can be a layered process for some people, here are some tips that are both tactical and build personal power from the inside out:

1. Intend to slow down your mind so that you can get clear and focus. Intention with feeling is powerful. Developing a mindfulness practice is at the root of this.

2. Build your mind or imagination muscle by first clarifying the vision in your mind’s eye (‘vision’ here means creating a mental image). Visualize the following steps 3, 4 and 5, below, ahead of time. The brain will take what you vividly image (imagine) with positive feelings as a command to find the images/experiences in your physical reality. Repetition reinforces this step. So read the following steps and then imagine yourself doing them before attempting to actually do them. (Keep in mind negative feelings can lead to results you don’t want, as well).

Imagination is your preview to your life’s coming attractions.” ~Einstein

3. Create major categories of lists to segment and ‘dump’ all those things to do onto paper. There is a process to this, and it’s not one-size-fits-all; yet it is a starting point if you ever want to prioritize what is really important.

4. Make time to reflect and then address the list – what is important and why? Science is showing how important this step is to clarity, stress reduction, and productivity. You may not immediately connect the dot to your over-arching ‘life purpose’ but you can become aware of intermediate purposeful goals.

5. Sort and delegate your things-to-do list, other people’s requests, and your own intentions after first running it through your Purpose Filter. If it is not productive toward reaching your purposeful goal or if someone better equipped can do it, let it go. There are only 24 hours to a day and increasing your personal power and productivity is about managing your energy and focus of attention/intention.

Without first getting clear about what brings you a sense of purpose and passion, the stress of unclear intentions and the habit of staying busy drains your energy and reduces productivity. Busy for busy’s sake is a waste of your precious life and energy and does not lead to a healthy, happy, or prosperous life that is sustainable or fulfilling. We will first have to know our self and find our own purpose and value, though, before we can say no to over-activity. Do you have a Purpose Filter? If so, how has it helped you to successfully navigate through our stressed out, over-the-top, busy culture to actually accomplish your dreams and goals?

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at