Willpower – The Catalyst Of Achievement

As an individual and within a business, the presence and strength of willpower will determine the level of achievement and success. But very few people, including business leaders, reflect on the existence of willpower. If this invaluable resource is not leveraged, then potential is wasted, and suboptimal performance is delivered.


Active Knowledge Question:

How do you strengthen the presence of willpower in your business?


The Power of Will

Nothing happens without Will being exercised. It is the essence of life. Moving, walking, talking, thinking, working, breathing, eating, drinking, feeling – the slightest movement requires Will.  

But it is not only the action but also the quality of the action. Every day willpower is in play; you are:

  • Sitting in a meeting, listening to a presentation on which you will need to make a decision.
  • Reading a submission and wanting to understand its key points.
  • Pitching a proposal.
  • Reviewing financial reports and pulling out the story they are telling.
  • Sitting in your office listening attentively to your HR director.
  • Driving home from work in the pouring rain.
  • Preparing dinner.
  • Reading a book.

The quality of willpower determines the quality of everything you do.

The power of your Will can only be harnessed through discipline and conscious effort. And through such effort, the subconscious can be trained to support the optimal application of your willpower. But if you do not recognise the existence and importance of your Will, then it will be misapplied and wasted. 

Only through the optimal use of your willpower can your real potential as an individual be brought to bear on whatever may be of importance to you. Such application yields focus, endurance, resistance, patience, creativity and imagination. It draws the best of you to the forefront.

When one’s willpower is low, the outcome is to defer to your default response or not even address the issue before you.

In business, the core competitive strength of a business rests in the combined talent and effort of every person working within and with a business. Willpower is the enabler of that talent and effort. So, does your business operate in a manner that supports the optimal application of an individual’s willpower?

Battery Power

Will is best thought of like a battery. It has a limited supply but can be recharged. Unfortunately, the more intensively you use it, the quicker it will drain, and once drained, it will weaken the strength and quality of all you do. As a result, outcomes will be less than optimal.

How often have you been called into a critical meeting late in the day? A day during which after you have been dealing with a range of matters where each and every one of them have drained your Will. Important meetings/decisions should only be held/made when everyone is fresh and at their peak.

Your willpower battery is drained not only through proactive action, for example, making decisions but also through resistance. Suppressing your feelings and impulses drains your willpower. Not giving in to anger, fear, annoyance, frustration, distractions, temptations, wants, etc., all require self-control, and such action can rapidly drain your battery without you recognising its impact.

If you wake up in the morning and dread going to work, then you will have significantly drained your willpower by the time you sit at your desk.

When it comes to willpower, every hour of every day is not equal, and you want to deal with issues of importance, new ones involving risk and challenge, when your Will is at its strongest. 


The common thinking is that willpower recharges overnight, and your battery is full and ready to go in the morning. But be careful with this assumption. The quality and quantity of your sleep/rest is the determining factor. If you have had a restless night, were awake with the kids or simply worrying, or stayed out late, then the optimal charge will not be there.

Also, I believe the condition of your willpower battery can deteriorate over time. Continuing high levels of stress at work, unhappy relationships, chronic anxiety and deep anger – anything that drains you over an enduring time can damage your battery, and it will not recharge with a simple night’s sleep. Damaged batteries can be repaired but only through longer-term restoration.

I would say quality and strength of willpower equals quality and success in life.

Through discipline and conscious effort, you should seek to maintain a healthy willpower battery in your daily routine:

  • Consistent and adequate sleep pattern.
  • Proper eating – quality, quantity, volume and timing.
  • Avoid toxic content and people and draw what is good and uplifting into your life.
  • Proper exercise.
  • Meditation and an awareness of your spirituality.
  • Great relationships.
  • Time out and holidays.
  • Turn-off switch, so you don’t take work and worry home with you.
  • A healthy attitude to life and an acceptance of others.
  • Hobbies and interests that stimulate you.
  • The right attitude to what success means for you.


You can establish foundations that will underpin the strength of your willpower and keep it healthy. When considering these foundations, have regard for the relationship between your conscious and subconscious mind. The conscious mind can programme the subconscious, but if you are not deliberate in your attention to your willpower, you can find your conscious enslaved by your subconscious and your willpower continuously misapplied and drained. The easiest way to think of this is, if you allow bad habits to rule your life rather than good habits that set you up for winning.

You want to build foundations that create an evenness, a solid base in your life. You want:

  • A patience that supports perseverance and fortitude.  
  • Forbearance and restraint so you are not reactive and pulled ever-which-way.
  • Endurance so you can stay the steady course.

This self-control allows you to stand firm so that events cannot shake you and you can apply your willpower free from disturbances whilst being positive and confident.

The traits of an Achiever enable this foundation to be created and sustained. These traits are as follows:

  • Humility: Humility allows you to learn and be grateful, to not take yourself too seriously, to seek continuous improvement, to take failure in your stride and to work with the best, at their best. It is a foundational trait upon which all else can be built as it allows you to be open to continuous improvement and learning and to win the trust, support and effort of everyone you work with. 
  • Gratitude: From the core of humility, you are able to look upon everything with thanks. You are able to wake up each morning with a positive outlook on life and with an excitement about what the day will hold and what you can achieve. It’s not about seeing everything through a false lens but instead about viewing life with a lens that looks for opportunity – that creates a positive energy. 
  • Self: Your physical, mental and emotional health are vital for your enduring success. If you are not physically well, if you struggle to find a clarity and focus of mind or if your emotions sway backwards and forwards then your ability to achieve will be impaired. Strength and resilience in these physical aspects free you to achieve your potential.
  • Beliefs: How you think of the world around you and how you interpret events and actions has a profound effect on your ability to achieve and be successful. You must be conscious of how you have trained yourself to react, respond and interpret events in your life and appreciate how they may impact your ability to achieve. If everything carries a negativity and seeds doubt, anxiety or anger then your physical self will be weakened.
  • Language: The power of words (spoken and thought) should never be underestimated. The words you speak and think to yourself and others have a profound influence on your and their ability to be successful. Words of encouragement and recognition feed and grow. Words of criticism intended to cut and hurt can crush a person, including you. Always be conscious of how you speak about yourself and others and never allow negativity to gain the upper hand.

Through self-control and discipline, you want your conscious mind to establish each of the regiments that will create, sustain and strengthen these traits and then your subconscious will lock them in as habits that automatically are your default settings.

Successful People and Your Business

Individuals who leverage their willpower are successful in all aspects of their life as they bring the greatest potential to bear on what is most important. Therefore, you want successful people throughout your business at all levels.

A successful person can be recognised as they are:

  • Self-confident, but not arrogant.
  • Strong but relaxed. 
  • Articulate in purpose.
  • Clear in beliefs.
  • Renewing through words.
  • Grateful in life.
  • Giving.
  • Humble.
  • Playful.
  • Uplifting of others and self.

Look for these successful people and support them. Look to your leadership team to become successful people. And look at the competitive engine in your business and ensure it is tuned correctly and supports every individual to bring the fullest potential to the forefront in all that they do.


Recognise the existence, importance and role of willpower in achievement and success. Set yourself up to win by applying your willpower to the most important decisions and actions every day. Establish habits that recharge your willpower and eliminate those negative agents that will suck away its strength. Use your willpower to enable and release your real potential.

An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel