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Possessing Your Power — A Series on Getting What You Want

“Possessing Your Power — A Series on Getting What You Want”

Oftentimes, the seed of power is self-esteem. This document analyzes power and the psychological forces that can add or detract from it. Practical advice on bolstering your self-esteem and feelings of empowerment is dispensed.

Power isn’t something we think about each moment of the day. In fact, it probably isn’t something that we think about at all…unless. Unless, we begin to feel powerless too often, our businesses reflect choices that don’t seem like our own or we begin to feel as though we’re being torn by too many opinions and influences.

Possessing Power means that you have a commitment and ability to know your thoughts and feelings and are willing to act on your own behalf. Although this description seems easy enough to implement, most find the ability to maintain constant awareness of power to be much more difficult. It only requires one second to lose your power. Of course, you can always regain ownership.

By maintaining consistent possession of your power, you are able to:

  • Set Realistic Goals and Achieve Them
  • Know Which Thoughts are Limiting and How to Prevent Their Impact
  • Interact With Peers, Employees and Business Resources More Effectively
  • Realize More Success Throughout Your Life
  • Remove Complacency as a Valid Form of Thinking

This article is the first of a series on "Possessing Your Power". You will be shown how to possess your power with employees, peers, family, customers and business resources. To assist in understanding this concept, a thorough understanding of the 4 "Power Thieves" is most beneficial.

These "Power Thieves" can be minimized by noticing the thoughts or interactions where they are most present. The 4 "Thieves" are:

  • Thief #1: Another’s opinions or feelings seem more important or significant than your own.
  • Thief #2: Buying into an inequality that you have previously accepted as real.
  • Thief #3: Not believing in the value of your own thoughts and feelings.
  • Thief #4: Feeling powerless due to external circumstances that you believe are beyond your control.

To provide more insight, I am going to provide examples of each of the "Power Thieves" along with the new thinking or communication which would minimize their influence.

Thief #1: Another’s opinions or feelings seem more important or significant than your own.

As sensitive, compassionate human beings we often put another’s feelings before our own needs. This results from our rationalization about their behavior, feelings, personality or lifestyle and the need to be concerned about each. Examples of this are as follows:

  1. I don’t want to ask my employee to stay overtime because his/her circumstances are too demanding right now.
  2. I can’t tell my partner that she is "dropping the ball" because I don’t want to hurt her feelings.
  3. If I tell my spouse how I really feel, he/she’ll tell me that I am being insensitive to his/her needs.

To maintain power in these examples, you must know that your feelings are equally important and be willing to voice them while participating in the interaction. Alternative methods to maintaining your power in these examples is:

  • I would like you to stay overtime and I understand that you may be unable to meet my request. Would this be possible?
  • I have noticed that your responsibilities in the business are not getting as much attention as we originally planned.
  • I am concerned about the impact of this on the business and also about your reaction to my comments.
  • Your feelings do matter to me but we need to discuss the basis for my perceptions.
  • I have very specific needs right now which I would like to find a way to meet comfortably.
  • I am concerned that you will find my desire to meet my needs insensitive, but it is very important that I feel the freedom to pursue my goals as well.

The key to managing the impact of this "Power Thief" is to acknowledge your rationalization that is associated with negating your feelings to the person during your communication.

Thief #2: Buying into an inequality that you have previously accepted as real.

Experience, knowledge, education, social status, financial success and appearance become inequalities when you utilize them to draw comparisons of better than or worse than.

Common examples of unequal statements where we believe that the other person or entity’s perspective should be considered more significant include:

  1. A person who has run a successful business for 20 years knows more than I do.
  2. Because that person has a Ph.D. and has published a book, he/she is an expert.
  3. Because that person is financially successful, they must know something I do not.
  4. I am older therefore I know better.

Although you might think that these types of thoughts are not considerations for you, we find that many inequalities become part of our subconscious belief systems. Thus, we no longer are aware that these inequalities are influencing our conscious thinking. Alternative thoughts you might use to counterbalance these inequalities as you become aware of them are:

  • The person who owned a successful business has an experience that could be valuable to add to my own experience and innate wisdom. But, if their experience differs with my own goals, I do not have to question my own wisdom.
  • The person who has a Ph.D. and published a book was able to achieve recognition for their knowledge. But, being an expert is relative and there are always other perspectives — including my own.
  • Financial success is one of the many ways to feel success. I believe that financial success will be a natural result of doing what I love.
  • My age does not mean that I understand another’s experience better than they do. I can only thoroughly "know" my own and this is the only advantage that age provides.

This "Power Thief" can be minimized by refusing to believe in the inequalities. In addition, maintain your receptive learning stance while you remember that your perspective is unique and equally valuable.

Thief #3: Not believing in the value of your own thoughts and feelings.

Taking the time to explore the basis for your sense of value is a challenging task. However, if you are unaware of the gaps between feeling more or less valuable in each area of your life, you are then positioned to have your power "stolen" by the "Power Thief". You can begin to replenish and protect your weak value areas by becoming more aware, discussing these with peers and beginning to create new thought patterns. Some questions you might ask to begin this process are:

  • How do I limit myself because I believe I don’t know something?
  • What parts of myself are excluded from my sense of value?
  • If I were standing in a meadow with 1,000 people, all dressed in uniform, would I feel valuable?
  • Do I utilize exterior successes to feel valuable?
  • In what circumstances am I willing to sacrifice what I really want?
  • Do I make choices for myself that clearly demonstrate that I am deserving of all the things that I want: success, support, esteem, etc.?

Thief #4: Feeling powerless due to external circumstances that you believe are beyond your control.

Yes, there are some circumstances that are beyond our control. But, most circumstances are not. Common statements I often hear stem from a sense of complacency that says circumstances cannot be changed. Some of these statements are:

  • We’re not going to grow until the economy turns around.
  • I’d like my employees to be more conscientious and make better judgments, but people just aren’t like that anymore.
  • Anyone wants a closer relationship with their spouse, it’s just not very realistic with children, schedules and lifestyle demands.
  • Without capital, my business is going to have to grow slower than my competitors.
  • I know who my market is, why they’re going to buy and how much they’ll contribute to my gross income. There is no strategy that could change the result.

All of these statements seem believable. And, to the listener, each statement could demonstrate a knowledge of the circumstance or people involved. Unfortunately, each represents a substantial limitation for the speaker who believes it to be true.

To minimize the impact of these thoughts, you could embrace the following perspectives:

  1. Although the economy negatively impacts my revenues, I seek new ways to avoid economic influences.
  2. Currently, my employees are not as conscientious as I would like and their judgments lack understanding. I am finding new methods to relate to my employees’ needs and to communicate my expectations.
  3. My relationship with my spouse could be closer. I know that it is a matter of finding interactive techniques and new information to achieve my goals with my spouse.
  4. Although capital is important to the growth of my business, I know that there are other options to accelerate growth if it is important to me.
  5. My market seems to be very defined at this time. It is important to develop strategies that redefine our role in the market and thus, make my organization more appealing.

As your thinking broadens and begins to embrace the various methods needed to "Keep Your Power" — you will see more of your visions and goals realized. Keeping your Power will mean that alternative modes of thinking and feeling, the ability to communicate these thoughts and feelings and your unwillingness to allow the "Power Thieves" to steal your value are all conscious and useful tools.

Writer: Salem A. Marquis

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