Five Ways to Give Away Your Power

Everyone is born powerful. How we choose to use, share, misplace or give it away is up to us.

Consider this – It’s raining in the jungle. A deluge. A man is standing in a clearing. He is getting drenched. The rain in his eyes prevents him from seeing the path to get back to the village. He curses the rain. He sits down in the muck and commences complaining to on one. “I am an unlucky man! Why does the rain always happen to me? I hope the village sends someone to find me!”

He thinks of the village and the warm, dry shelter where supper is being prepared. He gets up, finds a large leaf, and fashions a kind of rain hat. He can now see clearly enough to find the path home.

The man had a choice, curse the circumstances (an maybe become some creature’s dinner) or use his power to enable him to complete the journey.

Focusing on the perception of powerlessness causes a loss of power because the brain is consumed with frustration. We choose our reaction to situations. Our surroundings are emotionless, they exist without making judgments. Recognizing you have power in any situation can open your mind — use it to adapt and succeed.

Yet, there are sneaky habits we may have developed that result in our being powerless.

1.) Starting with “I’m sorry” when you didn’t say or do anything apology-worthy.

Are you listening to yourself? While grocery shopping I listen for the number of times I hear people say “I’m sorry” instead of “Excuse me” when moving their cart out of the way. No one’s crashed into them, their brain is trained to assume they’ve done something wrong.

2.) Ending a suggestion with a “down” note.

Nothing screams, “I don’t matter!” like a great idea wrapped in a self-deprecating comment like, “We’ll, that’s my idea, there are probably lots of other ideas to discuss as well.” Thud. You’ve just given everyone permission to discuss anything except your idea. They don’t have to criticize it, you already have.

3.) Spending too much time in your comfort zone.

Are people ignoring you to engage the genius next door? To be engaging and relevant, get off your butt, risk discomfort, to contribute! The power to influence comes by sidestepping your comfort zone and embracing the unknown. Sure, the alligator may bit you; on the next trip, you’ll be wrestling it.

4.) Compromising your principle to make a buck.

We all know what principles are and it’s too easy to ignore them when faced with perceived “rewards”. Don’t take that client whose vision clashes with yours even if you “need” their brand credibility. Don’t take a project that will lose money and wreck your marriage because the short-term income is really, really good. Don’t steal clients, let them decide what to do. Don’t pretend to like people you don’t, that’s unsustainable. When exposed, these compromises defeat trust. You’ll never get it back.

5.) Not “showing up”.

“Where’d my power go?” It’s in the opportunities everyone else got.

‘Nuff said.