What would you do if you felt powerful? Would you start that business you’ve been dreaming about, or ask for a raise? Would you use the word no more often, put an end to people pleasing, or start speaking your mind?
If you were feeling your mojo, would you stop playing small and talking yourself out of going for things? Would you wear your ambition with pride, and collaborate with other women instead of feeling the need to compete with them?
While I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you personally, I’ve worked with enough women throughout my 15 years of professional coaching to know that your answer to these questions is YES.
Yes. If you felt powerful you would say no more often. You would stop it with approval seeking, and start speaking up for yourself. You wouldn’t say yes when you mean no, and you’d give yourself permission to go for what you want. In fact, you’d celebrate the very act of going for it, and you’d look for ways to cooperate and support your fellow sisters as they went for it too.
You would do these things because when you’re centered in your own power, you show up to life as the best version of yourself. And let me tell you, the best version of you is a FORCE. When she takes charge of things, everything in your life improves.
Your career becomes more fulfilling and you start to succeed. Your relationships deepen and take on new dimensions. You get your financial house in order, and you become more confident. Your focus sharpens, your energy increases, and you begin to feel good in your own skin. You can live every day as the most empowered version of you. I’m here to show you how.
First, it might help to talk a little bit about what power is. It’s actually a misunderstood concept. It’s sometimes confused with position or wealth. When I used to think about power, I pictured a bunch of fat, old, white guys sitting around a boardroom making decisions about things I didn’t get a vote on. (This, of course, made it hard to relate.)
Thankfully, power is not a bunch of old guys in a boardroom. As we’ve discussed, power is your ability to impact your life. It’s how much influence you have over your own circumstances. What if you framed power in a new way?
Power is not something you HAVE. Power is something you DO.
It can be helpful to think about your power in the same way you think about your energy. You can’t see energy, but you use it every day to get stuff done. You also know whether or not you have enough of it to manage what’s being asked of you, right?
Power works like that too. You can’t see it, but you use it to get done what needs doing, and the way you direct it determines how closely your life resembles your dreams. There are three foundational building blocks of power. They are; what you think, what you say, and what you do.
WHAT YOU THINK + WHAT YOU SAY + WHAT YOU DO = YOUR POWER
You’re already using these tools. The trouble is, there’s a pretty good bet you’re using them unconsciously. We want to bring them into your awareness, and teach you how to use them to have what you want (and to get rid of what you don’t). We’ll do it today in three simple steps.
Step 1 – Silence your frenemy.
Your power all starts in your head, so first we tackle the THINK part of our formula. If you’re like many women, you have a frenemy taking up residence in there. (A frenemy is an acquaintance that masquerades as your friend.)
Your frenemy is the voice that tells you what’s wrong with you, and reminds you why you can’t do things. (She never shuts up either, does she?) Frenemy tells you she’s reminding you about your limits to keep you safe, but she’s actually keeping you small. She is not your friend, and it’s time for her to bounce.
You CANNOT beat up on yourself and expect to live an empowered life. It’s not possible. (Even if the beating is only happening in your head, and no one else sees it going down.)
You must evict your frenemy from your headspace. You do that by noticing her every time she tries to beat up on you. She’s just a bully, and we all know what happens when you confront one of those cowards. They fold, right? Yours will too.
Next time she starts yapping, ask yourself whose words you’re repeating. Many times, her voice will sound like an influential adult from your childhood. What circumstances put you in mean girl territory? Usually she rears up when you’re risking. Your power lives in your noticing. Start catching your frenemy in the act. I have a little game I like to play that makes doing it fun. It’s called Bestie.
First, imagine you have a best friend living in your head. (If you can have an inside frenemy voice you can certainly have an inside best friend voice too.) If you’re having a hard time imagining her, you can picture your actual best friend, or you can imagine me cheering you on.
The goal of the game is to replace the voice of your frenemy with the voice of your best friend. It’s simple. In the moment your mean girl starts up, meet her by saying, “Thanks, but I don’t want to play with you.” Then imagine what your best friend would say, and say that to yourself instead.
We want to condition the process of replacing the warnings of your frenemy with the encouragement of your best friend. When you do, you’ll find the voice of your frenemy eventually quiets and what you start to hear instead is the encouraging cheers of your best girl. (Take that frenemy.)
Step 2 – Speak on your own behalf.
This is the SAY part of our equation. What you say matters. What you don’t say matters, too. There are two components to this step. It’s about what you speak in your outside voice, and what you hold yourself back from speaking at all. Let’s take them one at a time.
Speak FOR yourself
First, let’s revisit that frenemy inside your head. You can’t let her use your mouth any longer. No more speaking against yourself or using your own words to keep you down.
That sounds obvious, right? Of course, you wouldn’t want to use the power of your voice to keep yourself down. That doesn’t make any sense when you read it written down, does it? But, I bet you do it.
How often do you talk about your shortcomings, deflect compliments, or make jokes at your own expense? These are all ways of speaking against yourself, and if you want to be empowered, you have to stop doing it.
You handle this step just like you managed your frenemy. You notice it. Catch yourself when you start to use your voice for bad. No beating yourself up when you do it. Instead, look at the situation and learn. What’s going on around you? WHO is around you? What’s causing you to doubt on yourself?
My grandmother used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Yours probably did too. Grandma was one smart cookie. Follow her advice. Catch yourself when you start to use your voice in a disempowering way. When you do, just close those beautiful lips of yours. And smile.
Speak UP for yourself
Ironically, the other part of this step asks you to do the exact opposite of closing your mouth. You see there are many circumstances in life that require you to open up and speak on your own behalf.
In fact, one of the most impactful ways you manage your power is through the use of your voice. It’s important for you to develop the ability to make requests, set boundaries, share your opinions, express yourself, and say no when you need to.
Here’s the thing, if you haven’t been speaking up for yourself, your voice might be a little rusty. (Your courage muscles could be too.) That’s totally okay. You just need to start practicing.
To do it, I want you to play a little game called Thought Bubbles. You know how comics put those little bubbles above the heads of their characters so you know what they’re thinking? I want you to experiment with your own version of that. In our game your thought bubbles are for what you would say if you were going to speak up for yourself.
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re bothered, but not comfortable enough to say something in your outside voice, use your thought bubble to say what you’re thinking in your inside voice. (No big deal. No heaviness. Maybe even a little bit funny. Cussing totally allowed.)
Playing with thought bubbles helps you take baby steps towards the day when you’ll be confident enough to use your outside voice. It helps you practice finding the right words in the moment, and shines the light on the people and situations that make you feel the need to stand up for yourself.
Step 3 – Behave for what you want.
At last, we arrive at the DO part of our equation. Guess what? What you do matters. What you don’t do matters, too. In fact, your behavior not only directs your power, it predicts your results.
You cannot behave in a way that conflicts with what you want and hope to get it. You always get the results you behave for. Happily, this can work in your favor once you take control of it. When you line your behavior up with the results you want to create, you will create those results.
There are two parts to putting the power of the DO to work for you. First we assess. Then we adjust. Assessment is a simple process. We want to take a look at your behavior, and see if it’s getting you closer to your goals, or pushing you further away from them. One simple question helps us assess.
Is what you’re doing getting you closer to what you want?
If the answer is yes, keep doing what you’re doing. If the answer is no, adjust what you’re doing. The first time you assess, it’s normal to be a little bit shocked. There’s a good bet you’ve got a pile of behavior that needs adjusting.
Instead of stressing over your pile (which doesn’t help you change things) just start making adjustments. You’ll need to make a lot of them as you pursue your dreams. They’re totally normal and necessary.
In psychology there’s a term called agency, which is defined as “the capacity, condition, or state of acting or exerting power.” When you direct your behavior with the three steps we’ve discussed today, what you’re essentially doing is giving yourself the gift of agency.
This helps you feel less like life is happening to you, and more like you’re in charge of what’s happening. As you assert yourself, you create results, and they act as proof of your ability to impact your life. Which makes you feel more powerful.
That’s it for the week. Please remember that I never want you to blindly take my word for anything. Only you know what’s right for you. (I just happen to have a few coaching tools that can help you get closer to that wisdom.) Give this week’s advice a test drive. Once you do, let me know how it goes. I love hearing from you! There are four ways for us to interact.
· Comment in the comments section below.
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· Email me if you have something more private you’d like to ask. My personal email is [email protected]. I’m the only one reading your messages, and it’s always me answering them.
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My mission is your empowerment. That’s why I’m here. If you haven’t already joined my community, please do it at my website (www.kimberlyfulcher.com). I’ll send you free weekly coaching, and we’ll get your groove back together.
You’ve Got This!