Is “power” a four-letter word for you?
What do you picture when someone says the word “power”?
Do you think of it in terms of physical strength?
Great intelligence? Lots of money?
Does “power” have very positive connotations for you, or do you react by cringing away from the very idea?
Here are definitions of power, as listed in Dictionary.com:
- ability to do or act; capability of doing or accomplishing something
- political or national strength: the balance of power in Europe
- great or marked ability to do or act; strength; might; force
- the possession of control or command over others; authority; ascendancy: power over men’s minds
- political ascendancy or control in the government of a country, state, etc.: They attained power by overthrowing the legal government.
Isn’t that interesting? Out of a total of 11 definitions (including synonyms) and three examples, just half of them are emotionally neutral; the other half imply at least some sort of negativity. (This assessment, of course, reflects mental filters operating in The World According To Kathleen. What sort of assessment do your filters lead to?)
My view is that “power” has gotten a bad rap, because we’ve seen so much abuse of financial power and so many examples of people using power (both physical and mental) to force their will on others. For too many women, in particular, “power” is a bad thing.
That’s a pity, because power is simply one more tool, and it can be used for either growth or for destruction. The results you get depend on how—and if—you use it. And since your choice to use or not use your power depends to a large extent on how you define your power, I encourage you to adopt the following (neutral) definitions:
- ability to do or act
- capability of doing or accomplishing something
- great or marked ability to do or act
See? In and of itself, “power” is neutral. Why not choose to use yours to build a successful business and a confident self-image? And while you’re doing that, you’ll also be modeling how to use power in respectful and life-enhancing ways.
Don’t you just love two-fers?
I invite you to notice your gut reaction to the thought of having power or feeling powerful, because that will make the next couple of blog posts even more interesting and valuable for you. First we’ll explore the benefits to others of your wise use of power, and then we’ll look at how you’ll benefit from claiming your power. We’re talkin’ good times here.
What are your thoughts so far?
(Thanks to BigStockPhoto.com for the image of the woman I want to look like when I grow up; WalkingGeek for the Einstein image; and Emilian Robert Vicol for his money image. I found the latter two in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in choice, mindset, personal power and tagged courage, effectiveness. Bookmark the permalink.