Bet it’s more than you think. :)
I’ll explain what I mean in a minute…
And then I’m going to give you some homework. :)
FIRST of all: Not all power is the same.
And SECOND: You already have more of it than you think you do.
When we take a closer look at those we think of as “powerful”, we’ll see that there are different kinds of power held by each.
In fact, there are a variety of ways that power is earned by or granted to individuals by the rest of us.
Think about people you already think of as “powerful”.
What is it that sets them apart?
Odds are, it depends. For instance…
If you’re talking about your state’s Governor, you may mean one thing.
If you’re talking about your internist, you may mean something else.
And if you talking about your supervisor, your mom, or your favorite actor,
you may mean something completely different yet again.
And yet each could be considered ‘powerful’ in their own right, couldn’t they?
Because power comes in a lot of different ways.
Let’s take a look at a few, shall we?
The Power of Position
This kind of power comes with a title.
No matter what part of the world you’re from, certain people in your community will be granted more power by the rest of us simply by the position they hold or the title they carry.
The title may be “Dr. _____”, or “Chief ______” or simply, “The Honorable ______.” The position may come with a job (CEO, COO, CFO) or with a role (Executive Director, Board Chair, or Reverend.)
Or perhaps, if you’re a Downton Abbey fan, it’s “Lord” and “Lady”. :)
And yet, this kind of power doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with that individual’s talents, abilities, or skill set. Nor does it necessarily prove what kind of impact they do or do NOT have on the world.
This is the power of prestige, and it’s true that some titles carry a certain weight – but only to a point. Because position does not always correlate with a high degree of personal power. You can have a title and still have very little real power to effect change, influence people, impact events.
Just ask the minority representatives in your local government. :)
The Power of Knowledge
I know you’ve heard the saying, “knowledge is power.“
And it’s true.
There is power that comes with any kind of expertise, skills or specialized knowledge.
If you know how to repair a broken washer, sew your own clothes, create and analyze a spread sheet – you have a kind of power.
If I know how to code HTML and you don’t, or you know how to cook gourmet and I don’t….each of us has a kind of power the other doesn’t.
Specialized knowledge doesn’t necessarily make one
a power-full person, either.
For example, I once worked with a clinician who was absolutely brilliant in his assessment of the psychological needs of children and adolescents. He could read them like a book, nailing their underlying emotional issues with an accuracy that was amazing to watch.
And yet he was a caustic and fairly disagreeable fellow, who had few close friends or even supportive colleagues.
In spite of having the power of position and specialized knowledge, I wouldn’t say he was a powerful person.
Because knowledge IS power, but it’s not necessarily personal power.
The Power of Personality
And then, there’s the power of personality.
This kind of power can make headlines (think Oprah). It shows up in those who have the kind of magnetic personalities that draw us in, catch our interest, compel us to listen…
…and often, to follow.
But sometimes it’s considerably quieter.
Think about the older gentleman at your church that everyone seems to deeply respect.
Or the woman on your board who’s generally quiet – but when she speaks, others lean in. They pay attention, because what she says is always something important, clarifying.
These people have personal power.
So which one do you need the most?
Ideally, you need all three to be as effective as possible.
A woman with personal power will have a greater platform, a broader impact, if her title is CEO of the company or Mayor of her city.
A woman who’s the company CEO, or the city Mayor, will earn greater respect if she has the knowledge to back up her title.
But personal power, the power to lead with your Self
and be heard, valued, and respected by others
is the foundation to it all.
What if I could tell you what this kind of power looks like, and what it doesn’t?
What if I could give you the keys to personal power of your own?
Teach you how to practice it, build it, claim it.
Have it. :)
Well that’s what I’m going to do.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll teach you how to establish (feel, OWN) your true personal power anywhere you need it, in any situation that calls for it.
Including those times where you might…
- feel intimidated by someone you have to address
- need to make something happen
- must be taken seriously
- want to avoid being taken advantage of
- could use a confidence boost to do something a little scary
- want to be heard, trusted or followed.
Following the steps I’ll teach you in the coming weeks will help you do exactly that.
Isn’t that cool? :))
But first: YOUR HOMEWORK.
(What? You thought I was kidding?)
Take some time today to do your own Personal Power Assessment.
1. Get out a sheet of paper and draw three columns down the middle.
2. Label each one with these words: Title/Position, Knowledge/Expertise, Personal Impact.
3. Then, under each, make a list of all the ways that YOU already have power in each of these areas.
Are you a mom? That’s a position of power. Do your friends always want you to pick out the movie? That’s personal power. Are you a great cook? or a whiz at Excel? That’s expertise.
List as MANY as you CAN under each.
NOW – go back and add TWO more to each column.
Discover anything interesting? Tell me about it in the comments below.
And if this resonates with you, I really encourage you
to think about joining us for the
2014 Spring Courageous Women’s Weekend.
REGISTER by MIDNIGHT TONIGHT (3/15/14)
to save $100 off registration!
Isn’t YOUR life worth it?
Image Source and Credit: Paul Bica on Flickr