You don’t notice the power that charges your phone or boils the water in your kettle, but you sure notice it when it’s not there. Power is something that can’t be stopped as it is meant to flow. When it gets blocked, things go wrong.
Whether that’s causing electrical faults in your laptop or making your car cough and splutter, when power goes wrong it’s not good. Our personal power as humans is no different.
Alas, we can’t just plug into a charging unit as we tuck ourselves up in bed at night and wake up the following morning fully charged and raring to go.
This doesn’t refer to physical power that keeps our bodies going, but to the power we all have inside us: personal power. This is the kind of power that can’t be seen but can be felt by you and everyone in the world around you.((Kent Academic Repository: Does Influence Beget Autonomy? Clarifying the Relationship between Social and Personal Power))
Personal power plays a big part in our ability to be successful and happy. It also helps us get what we want, feel safe, and remain confident that we are playing a part in this world and not that the world is playing us.
What Is Personal Power?
You may not be able to spot your own personal power; however, you have likely noticed these traits in others:
People with personal power don’t need to shout about what they want, and they rarely make people feel inadequate or unappreciated. They have a way of being comfortable in their own skin, believing what they believe, and confidently saying their own opinions while being able to respect and honour others without feeling threatened.
This makes them best placed to serve their goals. It also makes them great leaders, great colleagues, and stable friends and loved ones.
When I think of people with personal power, I don’t necessarily think of world leaders, pop stars, or literary giants. So often these people, while brilliant, are trapped in anxiety and a lack of self-belief. This often leads to tragedy and shorter lives.
I’m talking about that silent power that we feel a person has that impacts us without stopping our own power from flowing freely.
Qualities of People With Personal Power
There are some qualities that are obvious giveaways that a person exhibits personal power. Some great examples of people with real power are people who:
- Enable others without needing any thanks or acknowledgement.
- Are happy to learn, fail and own up to mistakes.
- Happy to hear other views and don’t feel threatened by their own beliefs or convictions.
- Can lead others without needing to be at the front.
- Communicate powerfully, not forcefully.
- Are great listeners because they don’t need to ensure the other party knows what they think.
- Get more done than most.
- Achieve their goals.
- Do as they promise, even if it is at the visible detriment to them.
These are just some of the things you will recognize in a person with personal power. So, before we look at how to find yours, if the above ideas don’t inspire you let’s look at what not understanding and appreciating your personal power can do to you.((Frontiers in Psychology: The Power of Good: A Leader’s Personal Power as a Mediator of the Ethical Leadership-Follower Outcomes Link))
Benefits of Learning Personal Power
Learning and accepting personal power has a plethora of benefits that will generally make you a happier, stronger, more accepting person. Here are more of the benefits of personal power and what it might lead to:
- Self acceptance
- New career paths
- Ability to stand up for what you believe in
- Flying in the face of populism
- Increase in clients
- Learning new skills
How to Access Your Personal Power
There are several things you can do to begin the process of developing your personal power. Try these to get you started.
1. Stop Stressing
Stressing that something is not working the way it has for others just further reduces your power, making you feel more powerless, worthless and not in control. Learn to accept that not everything is in your power. People that get stressed by bad weather, for example, are often good at reducing their own power – they’re so busy concentrating on the grey day that they forget all the things they actually do have control over.
If you really struggle to stop stressing, look for people that will help reduce or alleviate your stress, people that help you see another perspective. Power is often about perspective. Often a new client comes to me feeling powerless, and after just 2 hours they leave feeling fearless and capable of anything. Clearly, I didn’t give them super human powers in those 2 hours; it was more about helping them get a new perspective on their life so that they could think in a better way.
2. Learn to (Really) Listen
In a world filled with thoughts and opinions and ideas, it can be hard to distinguish between our own thoughts and someone else’s. Learn to notice where thoughts come from.
- Is that really your thought? Or did someone share that idea and you are now adopting it?
- Is it working for you, or are you trying to mould yourself to fit it?
3. Practice Confidence
When you learn to listen to yourself and what you feel, you can easily be rocked into dropping your new ideas if you lack confidence. Confidence may very well be the underlying power to all of our happiness and success in life.
When it comes to personal power, when your confidence drops, your power can, too.
Failure, unkind comments, passive aggressive work colleagues, bad days, and lost opportunities should not permanently affect your confidence.
Yes, you may have a day where you want to scream into the wind or hide under the bed, but negative moments can’t steal our personal power if we have internal confidence.
Also, be careful not to conflate confidence with arrogance. Arrogance involves putting others down when you have the chance, while confidence does not.
Ways to Find Confidence
- Look for the evidence of your brilliance: Don’t downplay your successes and wins. Accept and celebrate them.
- Know that one song that instantly reminds you of one of the happiest days of your life. Have it primed and ready to go!
- Create a positive, supportive network of people around us.
- Look for the positive in any situation.
4. Have Fun
If you love dancing, paintball, surfing, or yoga, don’t let it disappear out of your life. Many clients have found positive changes in their professional lives just by reintroducing the things they love. We are quick to drop these things when we are mega busy, but don’t. It can have long term repercussions.
5. Find Bounceability
Bounceability is the ability to bounce back from negative experiences. When you’re down, have had a bad day, or feel like nothing is right, try to pull yourself back to a place where you can reset and restart. With this, you’ll be able to move forward and implement more of your personal power.
6. Accept Failure
Personal power can be hard to hold onto when you face failure. However, if you ever need a boost, look up all of the amazing inventions, companies, discoveries and opportunities that have come out of failure.
I met a consultant recently who works for some of the biggest corporations in the world. They told me, “Like you and me, these CEO’s have faced who they really are, faced adversity and decided to use that knowledge to do great things.” We all have that power if we learn that failing can be good for us.
If someone tells you you’ve done a great job, you get that warm feeling, but if you don’t ask for further feedback, there is little chance for growth.
Don’t fear failure, embrace it. It is only truly failure if you learn nothing from it.
How Will You Know You’ve Developed Personal Power?
When you own your power, you have no issue looking behind you and discovering that you’ve got a lot of people following your lead. Personal power means you can influence and change things without hurting others.
Personal power is more than being an influencer. It’s about accepting that you have a positive influence on people and accepting your power to do so without abusing that power.
Personal power can be seen in confidence and a level of self acceptance that others are quick to recognize.
When you embrace your personal power, it will likely have an impact on:
- Your work
- Your personal life
- Your goals.
- Your friends
- Your business colleagues
- Your happiness
- Your health
When you find your personal power, own it. It helps us all experience a real world.
More Tips on Personal Power
- 9 Ways Mentally Strong People Retain Their Personal Power
- Are You Giving Away Your Personal Power?
- Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 1)
- Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 2)
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