How do you know when you are around someone powerful?  Definitions vary, but they tend to have a few things in common.  Powerful people accomplish more than others during their day.  They are sought after by others as mentors.  These people are often quoted, interviewed, and talked about.  I’m sure you have other things that come to mind as well.  The one thing I think we can all agree on is this: people look up to powerful people.

Here’s the follow up question: how do you become powerful?  There is no quick answer, or short path to becoming a person of power.  There are some benchmarks you can measure yourself against.  I’ve compiled a list of 5 things powerful people have in common.  This list is a combination of traits I see in my friend and mentor, John Maxwell, as well as wisdom reputable sources such as Forbes and Success magazines agree on.

5 Things Powerful People Have in Common

1: Powerful people start with the end in mind.

Powerful people set powerful goals.  They spend time at the front end planning, journaling, meditating, and visioning.  They get a picture in their mind of what the end of their efforts will be.  Once they have a vision, they refine it, polish it, restate it, and re-imagine it over and over and over again until it is crystal clear.  Then, it can be  described for others in a way that is just as crystal clear.  With “eyes on the prize,” they are able to make choices and endure sacrifices greater than most people because they know why they’re doing what they’re doing.

2: Powerful people create their own space.

It’s easy to tell a power person when you walk into a room.  They are the people that bring power with them.  They may not be dominant, or even the focus of attention, but you can feel their space.  Power people exude confidence.  In turn, the people around them are in their orbit.  If you’re at a banquet table, the power person is the one who easily creates the space for conversation, sometimes by leading the discussion, sometimes by encouraging others to speak.

3: Powerful people are mental acrobats.

Because they have an end clearly in mind, there is no such thing as a barrier to a power person.  There are only obstacles, detours, and challenges to overcome.  The mind of a powerful person is as flexible as the body of a gymnast.  They easily adapt and flow in any direction required to keep moving toward their goals.  If they run out of money, they seek donations.  No workers?  They get volunteers.  When they get sick or injured, they invent new ways to work from their bed.  Powerful people continue to move towards their goals no matter the circumstances they find themselves in.

4: Powerful people read.  Daily.

No matter how many powerful people you interview, you will notice one habit they all share.  They read something of substance every day.  Powerful people understand that the things that got them where they are cannot take them where they’re headed.  They constantly seek out new insights, skills, and knowledge to raise their effectiveness.

5: Powerful people don’t waste their energy.

Powerful people understand that energy is a finite resource.  Throughout the day, they use up their energy just like everybody else.  To maximize their power, they have trimmed out everything from their life that does not generate results.  They waste little energy on frivolous things, and have an almost superhuman ability to super-focus their energy during the most critical periods of their day.  They also understand the value of rest, and know better than to burnout by pouring out more each day than they recover.


How do you compare to the traits listed above?  What areas do you see yourself needing to work on to increase your power?  Leave a comment below.

5 Things Powerful People Have in Common
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