Do you ever wake up in the morning with a feeling of anxiety in the pit of your stomach? Having no idea what the day has in store for you, but convinced that “thing” that’s giving you the churning stomach is no doubt going to continue causing havoc in your life? The anxiety is almost unbearable, and it causes you to doubt some or all aspects of yourself. All you can do is muster up just enough energy to get ready and head out the door to face “it.” Or at least survive. This is what life feels like when you’ve given away your personal power, and when you’re living your life to satisfy everyone but yourself.
Think about that one person in your life for whom you have the most respect. Maybe this is a person you know, or maybe it’s someone you don’t know but admire greatly. This is a person to whom you would never say no unless absolutely necessary, and for great reason. This is a person you would do anything for, stop anything for, and defend if ever needed. Who is this person? Think long and hard.
Now here’s the reality: If this person you’re thinking about isn’t yourself, you’re giving away your personal power to everyone and everything else in your life instead of using it for what it’s meant for—you. The only way you’re going to eliminate the anxiety in the pit of your stomach is if you start taking back what was always yours to begin with—your personal power.
So here’s what keeping your personal power looks like. Here’s how you take back your power and keep it. If you’re not doing any of these practices you’re giving away your power on a silver platter, and you’re choosing to swim in a pool of toxic energy. If you have a business that involves people, there’s a good chance every person in the business, regardless of title, is also giving away some (if not all) of their personal power. The goal of an energetically healthy business is to support everyone in their quest to actively live the following seven practices.
Practice 1: Own Only What Is Yours
Most people go through the day packing luggage for a trip they don’t even want to go on. This luggage quickly becomes baggage filled with unhealthy energy. Here’s an example of the type of baggage we put into our luggage throughout the day.
Let’s say you have made an apology, because you chose to take responsibility for something you did or didn’t do. And the person you made the apology to never even acknowledged it was made. Instead of letting it go, you pack anxiety, hurt, disappointment, and even fear into your luggage. Even though you owned your part, the fact that they still have emotions tied to the situation makes you still want to hang on. Here’s the deal: Their emotions are not yours—let it go. Move on. If they don’t want to acknowledge the fact that you took responsibility for your actions, the rest is not yours to carry. Feel good about the fact that you owned what was yours, and move on. This is true for any emotion, in any type of relationship, period. If it’s not yours, don’t own it. Take a good solid look at the baggage you’re carrying and unpack everything that’s not yours. If you’re thinking, It’s not that easy, you’re right. No one said it was going to be easy. However making the choice to not own it is the hardest part. The rest is taken care of by time.
Practice 2: Honor Your Values
Personal power is all about honoring your values. If something in your life or the business doesn’t align with your values, then you need to make the change that moves you into alignment. Until you do, there’s no one in this world you can blame for the situation you’re in except yourself. Here’s the beautiful thing: Oftentimes the change needed is simply of mindset. Sometimes, yes, significant action is needed, but many times it’s a mindset switch. Having personal power means that, in your mind, you see yourself as the most important person in your life. Until you choose to honor yourself and your values through both thought and action, you will continue to give away the power that’s rightfully yours. When you put yourself first by honoring your values, your healthy energy is magnified throughout the business and throughout your life. Everything in your presence benefits and becomes better.
Practice 3: Forgive Yourself and Others
So many people in this world give away their personal power because they choose to hold on to grudges. They disparage themselves for past choices, and punish themselves by not forgiving themselves. And they refuse to forgive other people because they don’t believe other people deserve their forgiveness. This is called the blame game, and it’s a game that no one will ever win. Personal power and forgiveness go hand-in-hand. Remember, forgiveness is most oftentimes silent. When you choose not to forgive and move on the only person you’re harming is yourself.
Practice 4: State What You Want
Being able to state what you want is the essence of personal power. It’s not enough to identify and live your values; you need to look at your life and literally state what you want within every aspect of your existence. That includes everything from the intricacies of a work project to big life aspirations. It doesn’t matter the size of the want; unless you state it there’s no guarantee you’ll get it. The first part of stating what you want is stating it to yourself. The second part is stating what you want to the rest of the world—clearly and with respect.
Practice 5: Let it Go, and Move On
This is the most significant challenge people have when it comes to keeping their personal power. You’ll notice that “letting it go, and moving on” comes up in every personal power practice—it’s the red thread that unites all the practices together. And it takes practice, conscious effort, and deliberate intention to make it happen. Let me be clear: Letting it go and moving on does not mean that you condone behavior that is wrong. It means that you don’t own the poor choices and negative emotions other people are choosing to put into this world. Yes, state your piece respectfully. Make it clear that you own what is yours. Be intentional about having the other person’s best interests in mind. Take responsibility for your own emotions and choices. And when you’re in the wrong admit it and apologize—no matter how hard that may be. However, once you name it, and take responsibility for your own actions in a healthy way, let it go and move on. Life is much sweeter, and feels that much easier when you’re not carrying other people’s baggage.
Practice 6: If it Doesn’t Fit, Don’t Buy It
In business we love to give and receive feedback. We say things like, “Here are your areas of opportunity. I see your challenge as being…” Sure, sometimes the feedback is spot-on, and you should be thankful someone actually shared her opinion with you. Sometimes it’s not. If it doesn’t fit, don’t buy it. Guess what. You have that right. It doesn’t matter how high up the chain of command the person who has given you the feedback is, if it doesn’t fit you have the right not to buy it.
Practice 7: Accept Nothing Other Than Respect—Period
You, along with every person in your business, are a human being who deserves respect and is worthy of personal power. No matter a person’s title, age, generation, skin color, gender, or belief system, no one deserves anything other than genuine, authentic respect. Most people will logically understand and believe this in concept, but even today the action of disrespect is everywhere in business. We still treat people like cogs. Dysfunctional leaders still think it’s okay to treat other people who have less of a title as less important. Discrimination is still everywhere. We can all pretend that the issues of yesterday are no longer the issues of today, but that’s not the case. And until every human being shows up in your business treating every other human being in your business with respect, toxic energetic cancer will continue to spread throughout your business. Accepting nothing other than respect is about you standing confidently in your personal power.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.