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The First 90 Days
Learn to set boundaries for career and life by building inner confidence
There is nothing like success for boosting our self-confidence. Graduate at the top of your class? Fist pump! Learn a new skill? Fist pump! Lead an initiative that achieves target goals? Fist pump!

Personal power is about our sense of being capable and being confident in the world. It’s the inner knowing that you can solve the problems life presents, and the conviction in your own ability to succeed. It’s being able to distinguish between the things you have control over, those you do not, and not stressing over the latter.

It’s the belief that you can set the direction of your life and do.

Personal power is important because it gives us and others confidence in our ability to solve problems and to achieve results. When we believe that we can solve the challenges life presents, we unleash our ability to convey our ideas and solutions assuredly. People with a highly developed sense of personal power also are able to define themselves from the inside out (“I’m creative,” or “I’m good at resolving conflicts,”) rather than from the outside in (“I’m a doctor,” or “I’m a medical director”).

People who score high in the competency of personal power have an inner calm conviction about who they are and their ability to get the thing they want and need in life. It is a critical emotional intelligence competency that reveals itself in the ability to confidently take on new challenges, have difficult conversations, and to stand up for what we believe despite opposition and disagreement that enlists others to follow.

Personal power is setting and keeping boundaries.

Without knowing what we want to say “yes” to, it’s almost impossible to know what to say “no” to when a request shows up. Despite uncertainties or ambiguity, people with a strong sense of personal power can comfortably make decisions that move them closer to their priorities, and if it moves them farther away, politely decline. They set and remain faithful to healthy boundaries, personally and professionally, because boundaries give them the freedom to become the person they wish to be. They are assertive, not aggressive, and confident, not egotistical about the degree to which they believe they can meet life’s challenges and live the life they choose.

Tip #2 – Say “Yes” to what is important to you. Say “No” gracefully to what is not.

Strategy #2 – Before saying “Yes” to anyone or any project, ask yourself the following question: “By saying yes to this, will that force me to say “no” to something else that’s important to me?” If the answer to that question is “Yes it will,” then evaluate its importance, staying true to your priorities.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking about what you want to say “yes” to:

  • What’s most important to you regarding your closest relationships?
  • What’s most important to you regarding your career?
  • What’s most important to you when it comes to how you want to spend your time?
  • What’s most important to you in terms of fun and recreation?

Remember: Boundaries don’t separate us from life; they enrich it.

Teresa Dean Malcolm, MD, FACOG, MBA, CPE, CPXP, is zealous in her belief that an exceptional experience in clinical care, the human(e) experience, is achievable through meaningful and authentic relationships with others. She has served in executive positions, integrating people with process and purpose, and successfully aligning the ideas of the team with a compelling vision. Her coaching philosophy, The Malcolm Method, is rooted in trust and supportive accountability. Through thought-provoking conversations, she strives to deepen the awareness of her physician clients and further their actions, thereby helping them to thrive as they lead. Dr. Malcolm (known to her friends and family as Terri) is a loving wife to her husband, Nate. Together they have three charming and athletic boys, Nathaniel, and twins, Roman and Colton.
The materials and information in Dr. Malcolm’s course, “The First 90 Days Course – Boost Your Social and Emotional Intelligence,” is derived from the training she received to become a certified coach from the Institute of Social and Emotional Intelligence.

Recommended: Order your copy of Compassionomics, by Stephen Trzeciak and Anthony Mazzarelli