7 Ways to Reclaim Your Power

Oct 09, 2020

In some senses, I hate to even use the word "power." It seems hackneyed, like we are going back to the eighties. Power ties, power lunches, power suits. The last thing I want to sound like it one of those motivational speaker types telling you to find the power within. So accept my disclaimer. But pop psychology apologies notwithstanding, power is an important topic in work and in life. You can’t live without it. You are designed to have it, as we have said, in the form of self-control. When you lose that and are controlled by others, you are rendered powerless. And that is when the slippery slope that disintegrates life and causes you to lose your boundaries appears.

What we know about the human experience of powerlessness is that it erodes functioning in all the areas that are important to having whole life integration: your emotions, your relationships, and your performance. Decades of research have shown that the degree of powerlessness that people feel directly correlates with diminished functioning. And for powerlessness to occur, there must be a crack - a fault in the foundation. Whether the pressure comes from fear, or the inability to say no, or a million other reasons, these situations can occur only if there is a soft spot in the character, a hole in the fence, a vulnerability through which people lose control of themselves. If the soft spot were not there, power losses could not happen:

Without a personal weak spot, power losses cannot happen.

Personal power, which is the beginning of the accumulation of any other kind of power, is about separateness, containment, defining yourself, setting limits, living out values, having self-control and freedom - and it must be maintained, not subject to power losses. It is only through having these kinds of personal power that you will be able to build financial power, emotional power, relational power, political power, spiritual power, and the power to perform. You are powerful when you possess the ability to do the following:

  • Experience yourself as separate and differentiated from others
  • Contain destruction and keep it from spreading
  • Define yourself and know who you are
  • Set limits when needed
  • Possess and live out values
  • Have self-control and thereby be free and autonomous
  • Notice that power over the other people in not on the list. You can only control yourself, and when you do that well, you will do well with others.