How to Own Your Power, No Matter What
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Many women I talk with have a negative relationship with power. I sometimes bring up the topic, and I see them visibly shudder. Here are some reason I’ve seen.
So: if power has such a bad rap, why bother owning your power?
I assert that those associations I just shared are only one framework of power, and just like anything, power can be used to help or to harm. So before we go any further, let’s consider a completely different paradigm.
My favorite definition of power, and the most clear and concise that I’ve encountered, is:
“Power is the ability to achieve purpose, and to effect change.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
So simple. So….powerful.
If you’re willing to consider this lens, it opens up so much more possibility for us to consider. From this perspective, we can actually have a conversation about you, and your power. Because who doesn’t want to achieve purpose and effect change?
So how do you know you’re not fully embracing your power? What are your “tells?” For me, one of my tells is when I start comparing myself to other people, because that is an unwinnable game. I also know I’m not in my power when I play the “I can’t” game- i look for all the ways I “can’t” have what i want or fulfill my purpose. I know I’m not in my power when I am underresourced: when my wellbeing practices go, my power goes. Oh- one quick note here- owning your power is NOT the absence of fear. Owning your power is allowing yourself to be afraid, and doing the thing, or saying the thing, anyway.
Let’s look at what not stepping into your full power is costing you.
It could be costing you job opportunities. Leadership. Action toward your goals. It could be costing your self-esteem and embracing your inherent worthiness. Avoiding your power may be costing you clear communication that could lead to deeper connection and getting your needs met. It could be costing you making the most profound impact in the world that you’re truly capable of, because:
“Power is the ability to achieve purpose, and to effect change.”
For most of us, in this culture, the figures we’ve been exposed to, who hold positions of power- in business, in family, in politics, in organizations, in religious institutions: are primarily men. And primarily white men. I coach groups of senior level executive women, who at least inside their organizations, are in powerful roles. The vast majority of these say that they have never worked for a woman. They consistently are the one woman who has a seat at the table. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some outdated nonsense, and we are well past due for that dynamic to shift. That requires a couple things: thing #1 is systemic change, and thing #2 is your willingness, and really your insistence, on owning your power.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “Power without love is reckless and abusive. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.”
Let’s emulate this framework of power to make an impact. Love, justice, generosity, authenticity, mutually respectful sexualtiy, mutually respectful self-expression, creativity, possibility: consider all of these magnified through the lens of power. Exponential possibilities.
What could be possible for you, if you emboldened your own power? Who would you be being? How would you be showing up in your relationships, in your professional roles, in your community? What would be the difference you could make in the world.
First thing required to owning your power: ask yourself if you are willing to shift your relationship to power as a construct. If not, there’s more work to do. If yes, if you’re willing, then congratulations, you have just taken a giant step toward owning your power.
Finally, if you feel led to own your power and would like expert support, schedule a connection call with me. Let’s support you in owning the shit out of your power.