Growing Your Inner Power

Photo by Joshua Earle

As much as we hold back from admitting it, power is deeply linked to our identity. It’s not an external force governing our life. Growing our inner power determines how others will use their power on us. This understanding of power steers us away from the passivity of being and the victim mindset that ‘others’ have ‘the’ power.

We don’t naturally speak about power over lunch, unless it appears in a form that affects us to such a degree that we can’t look away. It can be arguing over a parking spot or paying taxes. It can be that we want pasta for dinner while our partner wants rice. Regardless of the elements in place, power is the talk of the town when there is an imbalance.

Cultivating our inner power and influence is not something that should be put on hold. Our power is what moves the fallen trees out of our path so that we can move forward, grow and tackle any injustice from a position of equality. It’s up to us to build ourselves up before it’s too late.

How Perfect. The Mistruth of Perfection

Photo by Valeria Bold

How often did we get paralyzed by the fear that we won’t reach the absolute form of perfection of ourselves through our image or through our work? It happened at least once to all of us and it can be seen in the details – the fiddling with the tie, hours spent on a tiny, unimportant thing, sculpted makeup and the not too strong and not too weak handshake. The philosophy of being imperfectly perfect seems to escape our thoughts at times, particularly when exploring a new territory.

Perfection is a manifestation of fear, the fear of failure or success, the fear of social judgement or letting people down. Remember the times when it used to be fashionable to say at job interviews that a great weakness is perfection because it made us look cooler? Perfectionism is indeed a weakness. Striving to do a great job is different from perfection.

Perfection is an event that requires stillness while us, as human beings, are ever evolving. We can work at our best ability and show up with determination. We can accept inconsistencies as stepping stones towards building up success. We have to overcome our misconception of perfection and take perfection as what it really is – performing at our best, based on the circumstances and our ability at any given time.

What Tools Do We Need to Succeed?

Photo by David Pisnoy

Broadening our skills helps us live a fuller life. We can laugh wholeheartedly, control our impulses, limit self-pity and focus on creating a positive impact. When it comes to social skills, we all have basic abilities that are glued to our identity. We show love and care instinctively. We also express anger and disappointment. This might be beneficial when we first ‘learn’ the feelings, but isolating them as unfriendly companions is key.

How do we treat an unfriendly companion? We try tempering them down and take away their power in different ways – by not responding on a tone that matches their own, limiting the time we spend with them and spinning their attention to the underlying cause of the issue or to the solution. Having spent too much time ranting, being angry and aggressive, here are some practice that helped:

  • reading books that focus on understanding human behaviors and our own actions
  • meditation
  • exercise
  • spend time being intentionally happy

Nothing new here, but change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes understanding the tools, making them our own and learning when to apply them through lived experience. What tools do you need to succeed?

The Reality of Sharing Ideas with the Inner Circle

Photo by Etienne Boulanger

If you’re passed that stage in your life when grownups look at you with empathy and tell you You can do whatever you set your mind to, you might feel like you need reassurance for every idea, big or small. But as we grow up and the reality of social norms and the expectations of fitting into the 9-5 pattern kick in, people who are emotionally invested might not be best fit to run by ideas.

You might be thinking – hang on a second, my mom, grandpa or loyal puppy have my best interest at heart. And although that might be the case, new avenues are always scary. Not just for ourselves, but for the people we care about (you can read more about limiting mindsets in the piece on How Much Can You Handle?). Being supportive of new ideas takes an openness that someone else’s judgement might also work. It also takes accepting that even if no one in the family or in the whole world dared to aim so high, that doesn’t mean that it cannot be done.

In the idea phase of a project, when our self-confidence is so fragile, why give an opportunity to nay sayers to deray us? What do we have to lose, ultimately? If it is time you are worried about, it will be time invested in learning. Money? Don’t invest what you can’t afford losing. Failure? You fail if you don’t learn anything from the experience and as a wise mind once said, if you don’t try, you fail by default.

What Do We Tell Ourselves in Bed at Night?

Photo by Kevin Escate

You are getting all cozed-up after a long day of work and growth, with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Or maybe you just went straight to bed, fallen flat on your tummy and let sleep take over. Either way, we are about to get our system rebooted. But the data that we input last will be picked up first in the morning. A bit of an irony when you think about an orderly lineup in processing information.

We can give ourselves the opportunity to be bright and excited next day by introducing three simple practices in our evening routine:

  1. Detach from work through a buffer activity – yoga, meditation, reading, listening to music or a nice bath
  2. Be thankful for what you’ve achieved, kindness, love and health
  3. Visualize yourself succeeding, being accomplished, making the difference you want to make into the world and add some descriptions of who you want to become – powerful, in control, creative, committed

Paying attention for ten minutes to our thoughts today and stirring them into the direction we want to go to will have a great impact on the next day and the next day and the next day. Our future is now.

Monkey Mind Essentials: Mind Your Language!

Photo by Andre Mouton

What do you see when you are looking at your reflection in the mirror? Do you see someone who will power through, step over self-enforced limitations or someone who is scared and worried? All people, regardless of their ability to push themselves forward, had points in their life of feeling insecure and defeated. What matters is what we make out of that situation.

That tingle in your hands and dryness of throat signals that something exceptional is about to happen. Something we have never experienced before. Unless there is a real threat to life, realistically our brain and body is playing up the fear of the unknown. There are different strategies to manage anxiety and the anticipation of uncertainty and I am a huge believer of positive self-talk. This on itself can be uncomfortable, but power does come from within.

Love and kindness affirmations practiced in our head or said out loud in the shower or in front of a mirror help flip the narrative of negative self-talk. Positive self-talk does not replace taking action. Positive self-talk is a device that increases our confidence and with that, our chances of moving forward.