Stop Giving Away Your Power (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 100)
(30 Things To Stop Spending Time On If You Want to Be Successful #9)
“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”
— Margaret Thatcher
It is a fundamental need to be able to express and experience power in life. We learn who we are, why we are here, and what we are able to do through personal power that increases our quality of life. There are many different types of power. Psychologists and social scientists have long debated the differences between various kinds of power. But there is one power that every single person possesses.
Power has long been viewed with a negative connotation. Terms such as ‘cruel,’ ‘domineering,’ and ‘Machiavellian’ have been used to describe how power is often exercised, and in many ways, exploited. Although power is often used to control and manipulate others, power is actually not bad. It is how we recognize and use power that determines its development and impact over time.
While there are many different kinds of power, most of us can associate with two specific kinds. The first is personal power, and the second is positional power. Personal power is something we all possess but very few of us realize we have and actually use. Positional power is given to us based upon the position we hold in life and career. One main difference between the two is that positional power can be taken from us while personal power cannot.
Personal power is based on healthy confidence, sincere humility, and inner strength. It is the ability to be confident and content with one’s place in the world. It is a healthy self-assertion that is acquired over time during the course of one’s development. To own your personal power is to know who you are. It is an attitude, a state of being, acting, and thinking. It is based on positive qualities and empowering traits that lead us to stay motivated, set goals, overcome fear, and experience a higher standard of living and loving.
Positional power can only define us temporarily. Personal power defined us permanently. At the end of our position, doing whatever we have been trained or chosen to do career-wise, we still will have a life to live. It is not the position that makes us, but how we act and think in everyday like that makes us who we are. When we embrace our personal power instead of giving it away and leaving it for other people to handle, we are better equipped to develop healthy relationships. When personal power is in play, we focus more on possibilities and not problems.
When personal power is internalizing, it results in vision, competence, and achievement. When personal power is externalized, the results is generosity, creativity, and self-control. Discovering and using the power within can make us become everything we ever imagined. Many of us only realize bits and pieces of the power we’ve been given, but to recognize the whole treasure is to create a clear picture of who you are and what you want to achieve.
Personal power can be defined as the ability to choose the direction of your life. If you have a bad habit such as not exercising or drinking too much, for example, how you choose to change that will show you the measure of your personal power. When the desire to do what is better and healthier for you is front and center, the willingness to discipline yourself to reach that goal will open up a well of personal power and positive growth. Personal power is also about responsibility. If you make a mistake, view it as a learning experience.
To grow in personal power, you must be humble and willing to learn. Evaluate your progress in life on a daily basis. Adjust your attitude, your standards, and your relationships as you grow. Refuse to give in to complacency and a mentality of just getting by. Be grateful and make others feel appreciated. Work hard to overcome difficulties and focus on your goals and the positive direction of your life. Vision and effort will create the reality you want. You have the power to form your own vision and the willpower to work as hard as you want to work to reach your goals.
“Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones.”
— Stephen R. Covey