“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.”
Do you see yourself as a powerful person?
Would you describe yourself as strong and bold?
I’m hoping you do because if you don’t it’s going to be hard work attracting a tribe and letting them know who you are, who you really are. It’s going to be tough trying to sell your products, services, building the biz of your dreams.
What is personal power?
I'm not talking of having power over others, persuading, cajoling or demanding them to make you hot chocolate, fetch your slippers and move the sofa one inch to the left (although I can see the attraction of this).
I'm talking about having personal power, that feeling of being able to take on the world, “show them what you've got”, power. When you feel uninhibited by thoughts of not being good enough, worthy enough or having something to say that’s big enough. When you know yourself, your strengths and your wobbles.
When you feel as if you could fly.
And this is so, so important because if you’re an online entrepreneur, you are your biz. And if you don’t have personal power, your biz is like trying to dance without rhythm, co-ordination and balance. It’s going to be a bit of a mess (although it could be very expressive).
What does personal power give us (and our biz)?
It’s the power to fully use all the limitless, beautiful, amazing inner resources that are uniquely ours, to be ourselves, where we are unhampered by expectations of how we think we should feel or behave.
It's about deeply owning who we are and not being afraid to show others our true selves without the need for camouflage. Being willing to be authentic and vulnerable even though there will be knocks and setbacks (and yes there will be plenty of these).
I recently shared my thoughts and gave advice to a facebook group member’s request for help. Maybe I gave rubbish advice (and should never darken groups with my thoughts again), maybe I didn’t. Perhaps what I offered was poorly judged. Who knows! But the response I got back seemed dismissive, even angry. So yes I did feel hurt for the rest of that evening and I was upset.
I used to believe that being powerful meant being impervious to knocks and hurts from others, but true power, I believe now, is about being vulnerable. It’s about allowing ourselves to feel whatever we feel, not beating ourselves up for it and telling ourselves we should be more resilient and able to brush this sort of remark off.
We have to stop trying to change ourselves into something we’re not.
I’ve got to the stage where I realise this is me, this is who I am. I do take things to heart and am at times, way too sensitive. And this doesn’t mean, I’m going to hide away forever, crushed and squashed, but I do have to look my feelings squarely in the eyes.
I have to be myself, fully myself, because if I’m not, I’ve got no way of connecting authentically to my tribe. They won’t know who I am.
It's about our ability to master our own feelings and inner states so that we can work towards goals of our choosing. It’s about knowing who we are
This might seem a contradiction after the previous section, but mastery should never mean suppression. Rather, we need to acknowledge where we’re at and then know how to move ourselves through the feeling without getting stuck in it.
And that’s exactly what happened for me. I asked for support from another facebook group (and got it in heaps), I went for a walk, I took steps to move myself though it.
Personal power gives us self-mastery. It helps us deal with our emotions, it enables us to push through all the fear and resistance and gives us the self-discipline to get that blog post written and our latest webinar out there.
It's about being willing to move around the world in the way that makes sense to us, secure in the knowledge that our thoughts and actions will have the impact and results we're after. We expect success.
The very opposite of this in its extreme version is the state of learned helplessness. When this happens we start to feel that whatever we do we’re not going to be able to make a difference and that our actions have no impact. And eventually we stop trying. We stay still and keep small. We don't trust ourselves.
To be personally powerful is to feel that you can influence your world. That your biz has its place and it's worthwhile,
Years ago I met a man at a company social event. We talked briefly and then a few days later, I plucked up the courage to phone him and ask him out for a drink. I'd been reading that classic Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. So I felt it didn’t really matter if he accepted or not because I felt good about myself having pushed through my (large) fear and resistance. I made the call and he accepted.
We went for a drink, and he told me he’d been very flattered but he already had a girlfriend but he’d been curious about me. We had a lovely few hours over a few drinks and I went home elated even though the outcome had not been entirely what I wanted. But I had done it and that was the vital part. It was important to my sense of who I was.
So that’s personal power and if you’ve got it, your biz will be unstoppable. Without it you're going to want to spend your time with your head under the duvet. You're not going to be prepared to stand up for your opinions and chances are you're not going to be willing to voice them in the first place.
That’s not to say that most of us have our personal power intact, all of the time. We all have off days, days when we wonder where the hell we’re going with all of this. And even whilst it might not be your constant companion, it needs to be nurtured, taken care of and protected wisely.
It's going to fire up your biz.