Are you ready to step fully into your power? It´s easier than you think but there are a few habits that take us out of our power and they seem so innocuous we hardly give them a second thought. They are all practices that are easy to change and the shift towards a more empowered you can be felt almost immediately. These are the 10 behaviours you need to stop doing now……
Chronically complaining and not doing anything about the things you complain about screams dis-empowered, when you complain constantly about the things you have to do, the people in your life or situations, you are saying to yourself, the universe and anyone else who will listen that you have no power to change things when in reality you are choosing not to. So instead of complaining ask yourself “If this is what I don´t want, what do I want instead?” And don´t stop there follow that question with “What is one thing I can do today to move towards the thing I want?” Life rarely changes overnight but if you re-direct the energy you use to complain into taking small but consistent steps towards what you desire you will be surprised how quickly it does change.
If you are over functioning in any area of your life stop it now. Do you do more than your share of the childcare, housework or take on more responsibility in the workplace than belongs to you? The reality is if one person over functions someone else under functions. If you have ever worked for a boss who micro manages you will know that the more they control every single detail the less initiative their staff take- it´s human nature. Nature abhors a vacuum; only take the amount of responsibility that rightfully belongs to you, and no more, and watch how other people step up. The world will not fall apart, no matter how scary it feels to let go. If you believe the adage if you want something done do it yourself it´s time to explore that limiting belief and come up with some new ones that work for you not against you. Ask yourself: What am I responsible for? What is the worst thing that can happen if I stop (fill in the blank).
This is a habit that women in particular tend to fall into. We are conditioned to be good girls; helpful and humble. We believe that if we are good enough, kind enough and helpful enough someone will see, they´ll notice how much we do and will also step in when we feel overwhelmed or exhausted to lighten our load. Hate to be the one to break it to you but it will never happen!! At least it is not likely to, for two reasons; 1 People are not good at mind reading, so unless you tell them what you need from them they are not inclined to come to the conclusion on their own, no matter how obvious you think it is. 2. If you are doing all the work then they don´t have to – see point two above on over-functioning. One of the most empowering things you can do for yourself is to learn how to identify your needs and ask for them to be met. Will the people you ask say no? Maybe but it really is the worst thing they can say and the payoff for asking for and getting your needs met is huge. Contrary to what you might think it feels so powerful to acknowledge that you are only one person, who cannot do everything on their own and who needs help from others, it is authentic and being authentic is empowering.
Or saying no when you want to say yes. There are a multitude of reasons that we end up doing things we would rather not do; when we lose sight of our values and priorities, worrying too much about what other people will say or think, having blurred boundaries or losing the connection with what you really want. Learning when to say yes and no while keeping in alignment with your authentic self does not make you selfish, quite the opposite, it gives you the time and energy to really show up powerfully for yourself and the people you love. Next time you are asked to do something or go somewhere check in with yourself first, see what you really want to answer and let go of any guilt you might have around your choice. Read more about the power of saying no!
People take cues on how to treat us directly from us, so if you treat yourself like an afterthought you can hardly expect other people to make you their priority. You need to put on your own oxygen mask first, before attending to others. Again, this does not mean you need to turn into a selfish git, but you do need to remember that it is your life and you have your dreams, which you and only you are responsible for achieving. It is not possible to live a truly authentic and empowered life if you constantly put yourself last. Putting yourself last leads to resentment and burnout, which also move us away from our power. Ask: Where in my life do I put myself last? What would it look like if I treated myself like the most precious thing in my life?
Blaming factors outside of yourself places you in the role of a victim and being a victim is the opposite of being powerful- you simply cannot be a victim and be powerful at the same time. Accepting where you are in life without judgement and owning your ability to make choices that will move you forward is so powerful, it can be the simplest of things and even the choice to do nothing, when made consciously is more powerful then saying it’s because of x that I am y and giving all your power away to external sources.
Nobody is perfect and trying to be perfect is a waste of time and energy. Instead of focusing on your flaws and weaknesses focus instead on your strengths and how you can build on them. Striving for mastery and growth is not the same as aiming for perfection, which we all know, is unattainable. When we work towards mastery and growth it becomes about the journey rather than a non-existent destination. Quite often things we consider or were led to believe were faults or weaknesses are actually strengths looking to be built upon and developed. When I was a child I was often told I was ´over sensitive´ and because it was used as a criticism I believed that it was a bad thing so I spent years trying to be less so until I discovered that my sensitivity was a strength and so instead of resisting it I developed it and used it to hone my intuition and other skills that now make me a highly effective coach. How can you develop your strengths? What other strengths do you have that were mislabelled as weaknesses? How would you like to work with them now?
Or believing everything your inner critic says-it is not fact, so stop believing that it is. We all, without exception, have that voice that tells us we are not good enough, smart enough or simply not enough, it tells us that we will fail or we are too old/fat/stupid/ sensitive…. ad infinitum. What differs between people is how much credence we give that voice or the volume we allow it to speak at. In coaching we call this voice the inner critic, saboteur or gremlin because it´s not a nice or helpful part of our inner dialogue. It is, however, one we can take power away from so it no longer takes power away from us. Would you speak to someone you love the way you sometimes speak to yourself? You get decide how to re-frame those thoughts, so they support you instead of knocking you down. The next time your gremlin raises his ugly head ask yourself “Is this true?” and “What evidence do I have to dispute this thought?” “What is another way I can look at this?” – it won´t be long until that gremlin´s megaphone gets unplugged and his shouting turns into a whisper.
The past is gone, yet we often spend way too much time living there, ruminating over our decisions and actions, trapped in a cycle of what ifs. You cannot change the past, so stop wasting time and energy that could be spent on the present and looking forward on things long since gone. Instead try forgiving yourself for your short comings or wrong doings, taking action to remedy a situation if that is what is required and ask yourself instead “What went well?” What would I do differently if I had to do it all again? ” What have I learned about myself or the situation?” Powerful people know that mistakes will be made but they use them as opportunities to grow.
The last of the dis-empowering habits for this list is the belief that things will always be the same as they are now, that is essentially believing that you have no agency or ability to change your current circumstances. Just because something feels like it has always been a certain way in no way means that it needs to remain the same. This belief often comes from trying to change things that are beyond our control- such as other people and their behaviour. Step into your power and focus on the things that you can control- your thoughts and beliefs, emotions and responses. When you change how you show up in the world it has a ripple effect on those around you. Some people will leave your life, which is not always a bad thing, and some people will adapt and in turn show up differently in their interactions with you. So, believe in change, but only try to change the one person you are in control of- yourself.