The P Word

In this series of posts, I’ve been working my way backward through the Power + Authenticity = Accountability equation.  I left power last because we all have different definitions of the word. It’s as hard as talking about success. Success means different things to different people.  

Power is often a personal journey.

What I’m really talking about is personal power— the generative, creative power that we all harness. We harness it by to placing our awareness on our goals and choices.

For me, it's easy to sugar-coat this word, or dress it up so it looks nice. I often use 'empowerment' in this way. But in short, it's really just power. Do I have the power to change things in my life? Are the results of my efforts worthy of the power I'm expending?

In this equation, I'm defining personal power through the lens of choice and awareness and what affect it has on my self esteem and those around me. We all have choices and choices determine outcomes. Do I hold myself accountable as well as speaking up and holding others accountable? Are the effects I'm producing powerful for me and others? Do I feel, viscerally, the impact of my own agency?

Although this concept can seem elusive, I'm going to try and simplify it by just telling you what I believe—that power is self-generated, self-defined, and manifests in all sorts of different guises. The tricky one is the self-critic that can undermine our power if we let it dress up our mind with negative thoughts. How are you dressing up your power?

In short, you get to define your personal power for your own use, but it’s important to know what it is you want and what effect you want to have. If you're not stepping up to the plate, or if you are not staying accountable to your own desires and goals, what generative or motivating force is missing? What can help you become more aware so that you build your personal power, versus deplete it?

Three tips for harnessing your own power:

  1. Own everything you do fully—if you have to apologize, you’re not owning it.

  2. Communicate your intention lest others create their own idea of what you’re doing.

  3. Establish clear boundaries and hold yourself to them, flexibly—the point is that you know when to stop and question whether what is happening is in alignment with what you’re creating.

If you asked yourself what truly matters to you, what motivates you to get out of bed everyday, and what this would inspire—I'd say you've found your personal power.

Matthew Koren unleashes the leadership potential in your people so teams can thrive. He is based out of Portland, OR. To learn more about his programs, click here. To receive great, useful content each month, sign up for his email list here. To discuss how Matt can support you, your organization, and teams, contact him today!