Reclaim your personal power
What is Personal Power?
There are two types of power: external and inner (personal) power.
External power can stem from an external source such as status or occupation, e.g. Managing Director, police officer. It can also come from expertise, e.g. doctor, plumber.
Personal power involves self-respect, respect for others and relating to people on an equal basis. It is not about using power oppressively over others.
You could lose external power if you change your role or occupation. Inner or personal power is less easy to remove; the core is self-belief and the ability and determination to translate self-belief into action.
Some people start with externally-conferred power and develop their own inner power, such as Princess Anne. Conversely, Nelson Mandela, while in prison, had no external power or authority, but he did have an immense inner power that brought him standing internationally and ultimately led to the acquisition of political power.
Building Your Inner Power
You can do this by:
- recognising what is in your power to change
- developing how you communicate and present yourself and coming across with confidence
- being proactive instead of reactive.
Giving Away Your Power
Here are a few of the ways you can give away your power:
- Staying silent when you have something important to say
- Saying ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no’
- Putting yourself down – in your mind and in front of others
- Rejecting compliments
- Minimising your achievements
- Saying ‘I don’t mind’ when you do mind
- Continually apologizing
- Waiting for the world to come to you.
All of these situations make you powerless in your own eyes and in the eyes of others. It’s very possible to create these circumstances all on your own, without any help from anyone else!
Ask yourself…which of the above do you do?
Reclaiming Your Personal Power
The good news is that there are several ways in which you can restore your energy and self- esteem; your personal power:
1. Speak up when you have something to contribute. Think it through; be assertive.
2. Be aware of when you want to say no. Be clear at the time, or change your mind at the earliest opportunity.
3. Be aware of your self-put-downs. Some people will take advantage of them. Start keeping a note of when you say them so you can stop yourself in the future.
4. Accept compliments and thank the compliment-giver, even if you’re embarrassed.
5. Be appropriately upbeat in describing your achievements, backed up with evidence.
6. Avoid saying “I don’t mind”. You give away your power to someone else & could ultimately find it hard to make decisions at all.
7. “Sorry…” - apologetic prefaces undermine the impact of what you want to say so keep sorry for when you tread on someone’s foot!
8. Go out and get the world rather than waiting for it to come to you. Set goals for yourself and plan how to achieve them.
In the words of the Chinese Proverb:
The weak wait for opportunity, the strong seize opportunity, but the wise create their own opportunity.