So what is real power, what is the nature of power? How do we access power? When do we feel powerless? Is there a difference between real power and conventional power? Dwelling in these questions has in and of itself affected my life. When I ask these questions, I am filled with insights into my own internal and external motivations. It is my intention to share these insights here and to leave you knowing that you already have all that it takes to be authentically powerful!
It seems part of our confusion about power is in the different meanings we have for power and how we view power.
So, “What is power”? The conventional view is typically expressed as control, authority, status or strength. Often, when using the word power, we have in mind the idea of controlling the actions of someone or something. We speak of will power or controlling our behavior or controlling our children etc.
In George Orwell’s 1984, the main character Winston (I named my oldest son after him) is considering the control based society in which he lives and comes to the realization, “they can make you do and say anything but they can’t make you believe it”. So perhaps power, viewed as control is an illusion.
Frequently we mean strength when we use the word power.
We refer to physically strong people as powerful. We might call a nation powerful based on its military strength. In other words, the ability to inflict harm by a person, group or nation. At its very core all this is, is intimidation, bullying and it generates fear. So perhaps power, as strength is an illusion.
Power as authority? Most of our society is set up as such. We all know that just because someone has authority, it does not give them power. How many figureheads have we seen in large companies? How many times have we “pulled rank” on our children “because I said so!” just to have it backfire on us later.
What we have learned and often teach our children is that by virtue of position, people in authority have power. For example; teachers, parents, and police officers. Power through authority, an illusion maybe? At its best, it is not consistently effective or sustainable. I would also say that this belief system leaves the vast majority of us feeling powerless!
Climbing the ladder of success? This is the one I believe to be the most addictive, the attempt to find a suitable place for ourselves within a hierarchy or ranking system. Could be in our neighborhood, could be in the PTA, could be at your place of business, or even within your family. Ranking or status can be based on wealth, prestige and physical attributes. Look at how we revere our athletes or education, a PHD behind your name, now there is power.
See if you recognize yourself just a little here “If I could just have some of these attributes like more education, more beauty or more money. I could have the power to control circumstances to my advantage; others will look up to me. I will feel happy and accepted.”
My definition of real power; Real power is about being able to transform results into a sustainable reality. It is also the capacity to translate your intention into reality. Webster’s definition which I also like…the ability to act or produce an effect.
Conventional power has us react to life in fear, seeking control, force or status, hiding behind all the things we are not, the notion or belief in conventional power is in and of itself what holds you back from experiencing real power.
We have all experienced real power before. Some of us daily, some of us have moments at a time and others of us even less often. Take a moment and remember your last experience of real power. What were the qualities or circumstances of that experience?
Real power is identifiable by its absence of fear. Imagine the power of someone who is no longer ruled by fear, someone who is, therefore, immune to manipulation and control by others, someone who has moved to a new level of awareness. Imagine the quiet confidence and power of someone who is no longer addicted to the approval and affirmation of others, someone who is in touch with his or her real self. Imagine that this person is whole and complete even without their job, or their family or their status. Now imagine that this person with this quiet confidence, this person who no longer needs approval is you, think about it, what would life be like? What could you do in your business? Now imagine what you could do in your life!
Owner of Profit Consulting Co, Alicia Fruin has become a leader in the field of coaching, consulting and training for small business. She has designed more than 80 custom training programs for hundreds of business owners in a variety of industries across the country.http://www.profitconsultingco.com
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