We have all met those people who just seem to exude personal power. That sense of control and confident, ethical grounding that is worn like a well-tailored garment… even more, worn as their skin. I have students who often ask me what one does to get that, where does that come from? In truth, we all have that ability. We are all endowed with personal power, but most of us are not trained in how to nurture it, sustain it, and be comfortable with it. We [especially women] are taught from an early age that standing in our own power is “bossy” or “unladylike,” or that we are ‘just children’ and not powerful. No one can grant personal power to you, nor can anyone take it away.
We can reclaim and rebuild it. It starts with doing what we say we will do – and not doing what we say we won’t do. Start by showing up. If you consistently agree to do something, but flake out at the last minute, or just don’t show up – no one is taking your power, you are throwing it away yourself. Personal power – it’s always giving more than was required. It’s holding yourself accountable for everything you do and everything you say.
Remember, you are a mere mortal and sometimes you won’t succeed, or do your best, or you might say something you regret. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect, but always hold yourself accountable and when things go wrong, look at your part and see where you can improve next time. If you have hurt someone’s feelings, whether you meant to or not, apologize and be more aware next time. If you didn’t meet a deadline that you agreed to, apologize and be sure to hold up your end the next time.
Now, apologizing doesn’t give you a pass to continue bad behavior. We all have a friend who is flaky and is consistently apologizing and taking ‘full credit’ for the poor outcome, and yet they never change the poor behavior. Don’t be sorry – be different. Otherwise, an apology has no worth.
Personal Power comes from being mindful of your words, your actions, your agreements, and – of course – your own power to control yourself and your actions. Live your life in a way that if somebody said something bad about you, no one would believe it.