By Shelley



10 years ago for Christmas, I asked my talented brother for help. He is a professional photographer and is friends with a graphic designer, and I requested their help with a poster I wanted for an upcoming January workshop. We entrepreneurs normally have a list of “to dos” and an equal amount of creativity to get things done. That Christmas, I was thrilled to open my new poster! Dreams of participants danced in my head! Do all entrepreneurs have unique Christmas lists? I get excited if Christmas presents come in the form of books, software, gift certificates for stationary or anything else that supports my vision.

Other than a shared love of stationary stuffed in our stockings, what are the key characteristics of entrepreneurs? Are we really so different from the rest of humanity? Were we born with an entrepreneurial genetic makeup? Or did pivotal moments in our lives help us see our careers from a different perspective? I believe it’s a combination of both. Research does show entrepreneurs have different characteristics or competencies that some other people do not.

Entrepreneurs, small business owners, and independent professionals are chiefly responsible for starting and building businesses. We are often willing to take some sort of risk. I have clients who are “entrepreneurial spirits” who work inside organizations and definitely embody something other than the status-quo. Finally, organizations are beginning to recognize that all of us need to think and act like entrepreneurs. My early career path was often changing systems, people, ideas and premises. Entrepreneurial spirits are vital to organizations who are looking for fresh perspective(s) or markets. I love any position that allows me to do this, shifting with the needs of my client wherever they may take me. Before Tom Peter’s philosophy in The Brand You 50, I searched for books that resonated with my views. I love Tom Peters; his work became my inspiration to enter the field as an Independent Career Coach. Thanks, Tom!

He stated in Fast Company Magazine, “It’s time for me — and you — to take a lesson from the big brands, a lesson that’s true for anyone who’s interested in what it takes to stand out and prosper in the new world of work. Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called “you”. It’s that simple — and that hard. And that’s inescapable.

As entrepreneurs, we strive to listen to our clients’ desires and are quite gifted at shaping our careers and offerings to meet them. As we tighten our business vision, we must remember to stay aligned with our own values and dreams so that the clients and organizations we serve fit the desires of both parties. This leads to a win-win partnership.

Entrepreneurs and “entrepreneurial spirits” have no precise job description. However, I am 100% confident that Leadership and Social and Emotional Intelligence skills need to be mandatory. Okay, I may be shamelessly selling my expertise and CALM Power program, but I think as a fellow entrepreneur you would both understand and benefit from this skillset. Bottomline, it builds your leadership mindset. This begins with a strong sense of Personal Power, a critical emotional intelligence competency. People with personal power have a sense of self-confidence and an inner knowledge that they can meet life’s challenges and live the life of their choosing. They possess the ability to have the difficult conversations in life, and to speak their truths quietly, sincerely, assertively and appropriately (Laura A. Belsten, Ph.D). Here is my Christmas gift to you and any entrepreneurial spirit on your list. It is a quiz from my CALM Power course (Laura A. Belsten, Ph.D.):

Begin the quiz here:

The Personal Power Quiz – Do you have a strong sense of personal power?

Personal Power: What is it? Do you have it? How do you know? Test yourself with this quick quiz. For each question, give yourself a score from 1 to 10 points, with 1 being “I never feel this way” and 10 being “I feel this way all the time.”

I am fully aware of my professional strengths and weaknesses.
I am in full control of my life.
I know what I want and go after it.
I understand and respect myself.
I can make things happen.
I have the ability to get what I want.
I am decisive; I can make decisions despite uncertainties and ambiguity.
I feel completely comfortable voicing views that are unpopular.
I go out on a limb for what is right, even if it means jeopardizing my career.
I’m living my life exactly as I want.
Total your responses, and see where you rank in the categories below:

High personal power (91-100): You are among the elite who have a strong sense of your self-worth and capability. You live life with an “inner knowing,” a calm conviction about who you are and your ability to get the things you want and need out of life.
Moderately high (81-90): You have a greater sense of personal power than most people.
Moderate (71-80): You are doing well in some areas, but may need to work on a few others. Look back at your lower scores. Is there a theme? Can you resolve to work on this?
Moderately low (61-70): You are exercising personal power on a more limited basis, and probably need to look at specific actions you can take to boost your scores.
Low personal power (60 and below): Don’t despair! This score simply explains why life seems overwhelming and difficult at times. As you work to increase your personal power, you will experience dramatic results in how you view, respond to, and address life’s challenges.
People with a highly-developed sense of personal power believe they can control the direction of their lives. They define themselves from the “inside-out” (I am capable, I am creative, I speak up and do the right thing) rather than from the “outside-in” (I’m a corporate executive, I’m an attorney, I’m an executive career coach).

The opposite of personal power is helplessness or hopelessness, crippling self-doubt, and a lack of conviction to tackle life’s tough challenges.

People with high personal power are catalysts, movers, and initiators who don’t hesitate to take on controversial issues and stand up for what they believe, despite opposition and disagreement. Quite simply, personal power is the degree to which you believe you can meet life’s challenges and live the life you choose. As entrepreneurs, we do this on a daily basis!

If you want more personal power and would like to learn about the other the other 26 Social and Emotional Competencies, sign up for My Free Community call at