No one can gift you power. Yes, you may be promoted, elected, and perhaps even worshiped. And as you assume powerful roles, people assume that you have power. But that assumption dissipates over time if you don’t own your power. For authentic power does not come from an external source or important title. True personal power is generated from within.
Owning your power gives you the credibility to be successful. Colleagues and key stakeholders perceive you as influential and effective and seek your opinion and assistance. Owning your power leads to increased confidence and an understanding of how you can help others make decisions and achieve their objectives. Owning your power allows you to create and maintain strong relationships both in and out of the workplace. It allows you to stand up for yourself, negotiate for yourself, demonstrate your strength while admitting when you’re wrong. It takes power to allow yourself to be vulnerable and compassionate without losing yourself in the process.
The good news is that we all have power. The trick is to connect with it and own it.
Follow these 10 steps to own your personal power.
Acknowledge and declare your ambition. Women often have a negative opinion about ambition. They want to be successful but feel awkward admitting it and letting others know they are committed to their career. Never apologize for having ambition! Let your manager know your career aspirations, and seek out mentors and sponsors who can help you reach your goal. When you hesitate to declare your ambition, it keeps you small and robs you of your power.
Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations. Nothing can sabotage you more than letting negative self-talk dominate your thoughts. Negative self-talk paralyzes you from taking action, holds you back from sharing your thoughts and ideas, and prevents you from taking risks and exploring new opportunities. These thoughts will literally empty your fuel tank, and once you’re out of gas, you no longer have power.
Listen to these negative voices and label them as such. Self-awareness is the first step to owning your power. Don’t let these limiting beliefs control your life and your success. Release the thoughts, reframe, and replace with positive affirmations.
Advocate for yourself and others. When you understand your value and how you contribute to successful business outcomes, you can position yourself as someone who can help others reach their objectives; help the company achieve its goals. Communicate regularly with your manager how your work leads to positive results. Seek projects where you can add value in order to create visibility and credibility. That’s powerful!
Step up and advocate for your colleagues as well. Show respect and pride in their work and they will respond in kind. Promote your team and their accomplishments. You will emerge as their powerful leader.
Ask for help when you need it. Somehow we’ve come to believe that if we admit we don’t have all the answers, we seem powerless, when the opposite is actually true. Powerful people know when to seek assistance and feedback from others. When you ask for and line up the resources you need to be successful, you increase your chances of being successful. Knowing what you need and asking for help is a power move.
Speak up and share your opinions and ideas. How many times have you left a meeting where someone suggested an idea you had in your head but you didn’t bring up, and everyone thought that suggested idea was brilliant? Why didn’t you speak up? You need to own the power of your intelligence and opinions. Sure, you want people to think you’re brilliant, and maybe you’re afraid your idea will be shot down, but so what? Every one of your ideas may not be applauded but the chances are pretty good that some will be. You own your power when you share your thinking process and ability to brainstorm with others. People will, in time, seek you out for opinions. That’s powerful!
Acknowledge your fears. Your fears, as with your negative thoughts, sabotage your success and rob you of your power. We all have fears, but we lose our power when we let our fears overwhelm and paralyze us from taking action. Own your power by facing your fears. Understand how you give up control and power by letting your fears dominate your life. Begin with baby steps. Start moving out of your comfort zone one step at a time and build your confidence muscle. Each new risk you take, each new step brings you closer to owning your power.