Take Back Your Power

How many times have you told yourself “when I get to X then I can do X” ? Or “when I save (a certain dollar amount) then I can buy X”?

I hear this excuse a lot, and I’m calling it an excuse, because the truth of the matter is your power doesn’t rest in the unknown. Living in a world of uncertainty is not great. In fact, it can be stressful and debilitating if you let it. So how can you take back your power?

  1. Start with a the smallest step – you got it, start doing something! The smallest step towards what you want and who you want to be is everything. This first smallest step can be as simple as making a list of what you want to achieve. If you get stuck here, then reverse this list and write down what you don’t want to achieve.

For example: if you have a financial goal of: When I save $1000 in my emergency fund, then I can start planning to remodel the guest bathroom. Ok – great goal to have, but have you even considered what your guest bathroom remodel will entail? Will it be new paint and fixtures, or a full gut job taking the room down to the studs? Have you gotten estimates on what your project will even cost? Putting the steps together, even before you are ready to pull the trigger, will (believe it or not) open up the path to achievement. You may find out that the steps of your plan aren’t hurdles at all, and that the tools already exist for you to get started.

2. Overcome the mindset that “others take away my power.” This is a good one. I, too, have gotten all excited about a new idea only to have those close to me (my spouse included) take all the wind out of my sails. It is not because they think my idea is a bad one, necessarily, but perhaps more to do with the fact that my idea isn’t interesting to them. This is where the planning part of your strategy needs to come into play. As yourself these questions:

  • Why is this goal important to me?
  • What will allow me to do differently than I’m doing now?
  • What will not moving forward with this goal mean to me?
  • Who and what do I need to have to accomplish this goal?

3. Find your own path. Many years ago, I was on a long flight by myself and was seated next to a guy who ended up having a remarkable conversation with. It is not always the case that we get seated next to strangers and end up having a hours long bonding session, but this one stuck a chord with me. I never got his name, but the conversation we had was powerful. I can’t even remember how the conversation started, or even what the specific topic was about. The feeling I got when the flight was over was a feeling of understanding, sense of self and aspiration to be more centered in who I was. This gentleman exuded a high sense of self confidence, humbleness, and total lack of insecurity in who he was. We were sitting in coach, and as we exited the plane I watched as he made his way over to the limo driver who was holding a sign with his name. An assistant greeted him, took his carry on bag and escorted him into the waiting limo at the curb. I felt like I had been given a gift that day. This person was obviously someone who had achieved financial success, but took the time to have a hours long conversation with me (a complete stranger) in coach on an airplane. WOW!

4. Share your power. The best way to feel powerful is to give it to others. Think of yourself as a magic fairy who can wave their magic wand and drop power into the hearts and minds of others at any given moment. Something as little as a kind word of encouragement, an open ended question, or a little nudge in the right direction through an introduction is a spark that someone else needs to reclaim their power.

5. There is enough power for all of us. I sometimes come across other people who hang on to their power like it is their last lifeline on this earth. They are afraid to “give their power away” because that will mean that there is less for them to have or control. Here is a secret: power is not limitless. Allowing others in our lives to rise up will create even more power to us.

Teaching Moments

Ok 2020. I got it. I’ve struggled, and muddled, and fought against the “new normal” long enough. This year was a teaching moment for all of us. While we are days away from putting it all behind us, as many of us like to say, I think we are on the horizon of realizing who we really are.

There has been no better environment to find out what you are made of than 2020. Who were you before you were forced into quarantine? Who were you before you thought about the air that you breathe? Who were you when you went about your everyday and thought more about the errands that needed to be completed instead of thinking about adversity?

I’ll tell you who I was. I was someone who didn’t truly appreciate my home and my community. I was someone who put off until later the value of spending the time, making the memory and enjoying the sunshine. I was someone who would doubt my own abilities because someone put a thought in my head that said I couldn’t.

This year has been a series of teaching moments, and that alone has been a blessing.

What I have learned this year has been empowering:

  • I am married to my soul mate. My heart hurts for couples who have gone through break ups this year. Choosing your life mate is probably one of most important things you will do in life, and (in my opinion) way harder than raising kids. Spending more time than usual together is definitely a test of your relationship. I knew that my husband was this person long before COVID hit, but this year has been strengthening to our relationship in ways that make me excited about the future.
  • I have a voice that is unique and powerful. I used to overthink my blog posts, podcasts, emails…you name it. Drafts and more drafts would be constructed before I would feel confident enough to publish. What I have learned this year is that my voice, ideas and messages are not meant for everyone. And that is OK. Those that feel connected to what I have to say are who I am meant to be with and work with.
  • There is no roadmap for success. While there are always lessons to be learned from those that went before us, no one has lived and experienced this year. You create your own path, and you make the rules.
  • I don’t have a place for assholes. I was amazed at how much I “put up with” from other people. Whether it was the offhand comment, to just being, well, an asshole. I realized that I can’t change the world, but I can change how I react to it. How I show up in the world makes a difference, and has given others the strength to do the same.
  • We can create change even in micro steps. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and people’s minds, attitudes and deep seeded systematic racism won’t change in a day. We need to take steps, even the smallest steps forward each and every day to understand, become aware, and advocate for our fellow human beings in these great communities that we call home. I want to live in a world where the color of someone’s skin, the spelling of their name, which gender they identify with, or knowing their background doesn’t even give a millisecond of pause to anyone.

I want you to make your time on this earth the best that it can be. Share your talents with us. Show forgiveness and grace. Walk away from those that don’t serve you, and be a teacher for others to learn from.