Why does power have such a bad rep, especially for women? Some people think it means controlling others, others believe it leads to corruption, still others shy away from the attention that comes when it’s used.
It can get you from one place to another.
It makes things glow.
It allows you to step out and claim what’s rightfully yours.
And, the successful embracing of your own personal power can lead to all three of these.
Many women have had to search for their own personal power. After years of cultural, familial, or societal conditioning, their personal power ends up buried somewhere—under some internal rock, inside someone else’s expectations, or in an alter ego who may or may not be hidden.
Personally, I consider myself lucky. I’ve always known I am powerful. My challenge has been to use it wisely. To keep it bottled up and not let it come shooting out of the ends of my fingers (or, more likely, from my barbed tongue) at the drop of a hat. “Pick your battles,” is some of the best advice I’ve ever received.
When I used my power indiscriminately, I alienated people, limited myself, and generally made my life more difficult. I focused my power on tearing things or other people down, rather than on creating things and building people up. What’s the difference now? In short, stuff happens.
I have more and better ideas, because there’s enough space in my brain for them to come in. It’s no longer chock full of plans to win all those unimportant battles (like how I’m going to get my daughter to clean up her room or how I’m going to look better than my co-worker).
I attract really interesting people into my life. By stepping out and using my personal power to create instead of tear down, I’m meeting people with similar goals, and we’re working on ways to help each other change the world. I do more than I ever thought I could.
Are you feeling the twinges of your own current of personal power yet? Wondering how to get started wiring (or re-wiring) yourself to embrace your power and wear it comfortably? How about creating your Personal Power Manifesto?
A manifesto, you say? Isn’t that too radical? A manifesto is merely “a public written declaration of principles, policies, and objectives” (as defined by the Encarta dictionary). It’s just a list of what you believe, how you’ll behave, and what you’ll achieve. Is it the “public” part that’s scaring you? Well, you can start with just writing it and printing it out. Get it out of your head and onto paper. Keep it somewhere where you can see it regularly. As you get more comfortable with it, share it with others.
The great benefit of a manifesto is the clarity it brings. By writing it down, you more clearly define what you want and how you want to get it. And the increased clarity makes it easier to find, achieve, and/or attract what you want.
To get you started, I’ll share mine. It’s at the end of this post. Feel free to edit it however you like. Once you’ve created your own manifesto, then share it. Add it as a comment to this post, put it on your web site or Facebook page, tweet about it.
And if you’re still balking at the concept of finding and using your personal power, I give you this quote from Elisabeth Kübler Ross:
People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.
You have to have power to turn on your light.
My Personal Power Manifesto
I choose to find and embrace my personal power, as a key step in leading my own life.
I will not wait for others to give me permission to use my personal power. The very fact that it is “personal” allows me, and only me, the right to decide where, when, and how to use it.
I will no longer keep my personal power bottled up. It just gets stale and nasty.
If I have not yet found my personal power, I commit to the sometimes difficult investigative work of locating it. I will ask myself tough questions, and look critically at my past experiences with my personal power.
If I find that my personal power has been hiding in an alter ego, I will embrace that alter ego, and welcome it into my life. I commit to integrating my alter ego into my own ego—it’s easier to live a single life rather than a double life.
I throw off others’ expectations of when and how to use my personal power. I trust that I actually do know what’s best for me, and will live up to my expectations of my self as the leader of my life.
I assist and encourage others in their discovery of their personal power, and I allow myself to ask for help on my own journey.
I celebrate all victories and accomplishments along the way. I give my self permission to step out, to be bold and brave, to make mistakes and learn from them.
I choose to be fair and judicious in using my personal power.
I choose to get comfortable with my personal power, and all its many benefits.