Do you have personal power? Are you sure you know what it is and can you describe it to a friend? You might think it’s obvious, but is it the same for everyone as it is for you?
You see, “personal” makes it relevant to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s relevant to others. Of course, we have many similar attributes to others, but the way they affect each of us, will most likely differ.
The word “power” can be construed in a negative way, when someone has control over someone or others. It’s the same with personal power because you have the ability to control yourself in either a positive or negative way.
Finding your inner strength and improving confidence is the positive way to implement your power. It involves a mental toughness which helps you move towards your goals. Power is about having the ability to take action to get results.
You have the ability to change beliefs and bad habits that hold you back. The power is already there, you just need to ignite it. It’s likely your mind is controlling you, but it’s YOU who should control your mind.
How to Know You’re Lacking Personal Power?
Do you feel you’re not controlling yourself? That’s the most obvious sign. But what about others controlling you? Are you letting them do that but feel you’re powerless to stop it?
These are signs that you’re “giving away” your power. If you tend to do what others want, rather than what you want, you end up relying on them. This is a classic case of handing over power.
You may feel you’re not good enough, lack confidence and ultimately see yourself as not worthy.
Emotions such as fear, guilt, anger, frustration and even resentment can all be a sign. In some cases, jealousy can also be a factor.
Remember, this is you allowing others to use their power over you because you’re not using your own. You have it, learn how to use it.
Finding the Power
Some people are content not being in control because it means they can stay as they are, safe and not having to change. This is often as a result from beliefs in the subconscious mind.
The first step is to know what you want to achieve or do with your life. You may have to do a little self-searching, but most of us know if we’re honest with ourselves.
Write down what you want to achieve. By putting it in print, you’re making it real, which helps with commitment. Set a clear set of small goals you know you can achieve with a little bit of effort.
It’s about laying the foundations for the building blocks. There’s no cutting corners, the foundations are crucial to a lasting end result. Author Dr Stephen Covey explains it beautifully in his short story, The Big Rocks of Life.
Are you motivated to change? Motivation comes from inspiration or desperation. Dissatisfaction with life can bring a desire to change, it can be a great motivator.
Change will occur once you’ve made the decision to do so. Then, the actions you take as a result of the decision, will begin that change.
Whatever it is that you want to do, study it, understand it, get to know it so you’re completely immersed in it. You’ll begin to feel that it’s a part of who you are. As you change your thoughts, the world around you will also begin to change.
Don’t Confuse Desire with Personal Power
If you want to make a change, you’ll need a desire to do so, a strong desire. That might sound like stating the obvious, but it’s easy to confuse desire and personal power. They are similar, although not the same.
Without a strong desire for change, you’ll never tap into your power to do so. The stronger your desire, the more likely you’ll use your power to change quickly.
Consider a heavy drinker who loves alcohol. He knows excessive amounts are not good for him, but he enjoys it and says he’ll cut down on it one day.
Then, after suffering pains in his back, the doctor tells him that his kidneys are damaged and if he doesn’t quit alcohol, he’ll die. Do you think the man’s desire to give up drinking would increase?
You bet it would, and he’d probably stop immediately. It’s not that he was lacking personal power to change, it was the lack of desire to do so. Not wanting to die caused the increase in desire to use his personal power, which, in turn caused him to take action.
Pleasure and Pain
Sigmund Freud wrote about what he called The Pleasure Principle, where he says our basic instinct is to seek pleasure and avoid pain.
It describes the scenario above, where competing desires are the reason people often avoid changing. In this case, the desire to avoid the pain of being unhealthy, is outweighed by the desire for the pleasure of enjoying the alcohol.
When you experience something similar, you know the little voice in your head is going to make you feel guilty. You’ll think you lack power and self discipline, but that’s not necessarily the case.
By paying attention to the voice in your head, then feeling bad about yourself, you’ve already resigned yourself to having no power. You’ve done that, not the little voice! The good news is, you can change this by taking small steps.
Take Small Steps and Don’t Worry
You should take small steps and not rush yourself or you may become overwhelmed and give up. If you’re not careful, this can start a negative pattern of beliefs.
You will make some mistakes along the way, but you should give yourself a little slack. Mistakes are a part of the learning curve of life and should be treated as such, in a positive way.
Treat any fear as part of the process, you will experience it, so when it comes into play, you shouldn’t be surprised. You can overcome fear, but it’s not your enemy, it’s trying to be your protector.
Summary of Your Steps to Personal Power
Be yourself – you’re an important part of the universe, so spend time thinking about your worth and what you contribute to this world.
Know what you want – you can choose who or how you want to be by harnessing the power of your mind.
Replace negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones – It’s difficult to do at first, but gets easier as you practice.
Avoid negative people – why spend time with those who make you feel bad when you can be with those who make you feel good?
Confront your fears – we all have them, but they can be a great source of learning or seeing things differently.
Say what you think – your opinion matters and you may be surprised by the impact you have.
Ask for help – we all need it sometimes, it isn’t a weakness and asking will make you stronger.
Be kind to others – give out love and acceptance without the need of having it returned. Give because you want to, not because you crave it yourself.
Spend quiet time alone – around 20 minutes a day. Use it to contemplate, affirm and really think good things about you.
Celebrate your successes – as you move forward, take stock of your progress and feel good about it.