How to take back your power
There are a lot of ways to surrender your power.
- Adopt a victim mentality by falling prey to what Dr. Martin Seligman calls learned helplessness…
- Use power-robbing language (for example, I can’t, If only, Why me?, I wish)…
- Allow others to interrupt you, dismiss your contributions, or claim credit for your work…
- Make yourself physically small…
The list can go on and on.
Fortunately, for every thought or behavior that diminishes your power, there’s a corresponding one to shore it up.
For example, if you become aware that you’re using phrases that make you feel weak – and cause others to perceive you as so – you can consciously change them into words that increase your power.
If you realize that you frequently withhold your good ideas for fear of rejection, you can mentally practice what it would feel like to confidently share them and bask in the warm reception they receive. By doing so, you’ll be taking advantage of Mike Dooley’s powerful tool for consciously creating your results. His shorthand for this tool is “thoughts become things.”
Claim your power or surrender it. Your choice.
And if you become aware that you’re literally going through the world in a small, pulled-in, “don’t mind me” posture, you’ll definitely want to incorporate some powerful behaviors identified by social psychologist and Harvard professor Dr. Amy Cuddy.
One of the most effective – and easiest to use – tools Dr. Cuddy’s research has uncovered is what she calls the Wonder Woman power pose.
Think back to still photos of Lynda Carter when she played Wonder Woman: feet planted shoulder width apart, hands on hips, eyes looking straight ahead.
Dr. Cuddy’s research indicates that physically assuming this posture for just two minutes leads to noticeable decrease in levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as measurable increases in levels of testosterone. (If you’re a woman, don’t panic over the latter; the increase in testosterone was associated with increased bias for action and willingness to take risks, not with rogue hair growth.)
I personally use this tool when I find it hard to get started on a task. That makes sense: If you’re less stressed about what you’re facing and are more willing to take action, then naturally getting started will be easier.
When I want to turbo-charge myself, I hold this power pose while listening to John Williams’ Olympic Spirit. (This download was the best $1.49 I ever spent.)
So what’s been your experience? What have you found that makes you feel powerful and confident? Please share your comments and success stories below.
And if you’re at the stage where you’re trying to figure out how to pull together all the great tools and ideas you already have, I encourage you to connect with me for a no-sales, no-charge, get-acquainted call. My specialty is showing talented people how to get out of their own way so they can focus and create what’s important to them.
If that sounds worth exploring, grab a spot on my calendar and we’ll see if we’d be a good fit for each other.
(BTW, thanks to Victor for posting the handcuffs image on Flickr.)This entry was posted in personal power and tagged mindset. Bookmark the permalink.