By Jenni Hallam
Take a moment. Step out of your day and check in with how you are. Are you doing what you really want to do in business and life? Are you feeling good about yourself? Are you being who you really want to be?
If your answers are anything from ‘almost’ through ‘not really’ to ‘no’ then take a few more minutes to think about why those answers are not ‘yes’? What is it that stops you from being and doing what you want?
Money or the lack of it is likely to come up at this point. What if you had £5 million? It would make a huge difference in practical ways, but would money alone allow you to do what you want and become who you want to be? However much money you have there is something else you need, something no one else can give you.
You need personal power
Personal power is a resource we all have waiting to be discovered and used but so often we obscure and restrict it with self-imposed limits. Women are particularly good at this!
You will hear your self-imposed limits popping up in the endless chat that goes on in your head…
“I’m too old ” “It’s too late” “I’m no good at” “People like me can’t”
Women are also very good at giving their power away. We don’t realise we’re doing it because we’re busy being conscientious, committed, hard-working, putting others needs first, saying yes to things because we want to help (and maybe because we want to be approved of and liked?). Sound familiar? We end up with overwhelm, exhaustion and create one of our favourite limiting beliefs
“I don’t have time”
How do you change? How do you tap into your personal power and break through these self-imposed limits?
Start with the three Cs
Women are often faced with juggling multiple demands at work and at home. You get caught up in the doing and lose sight of where you’re going. Give yourself permission to step out for a while, go somewhere quiet where you can relax and focus on yourself.
Ask that £5m question. If you had that much money what would you do? Write down everything that comes into your head. Think business and personal life. When you start to run out of steam have a break, go outside and walk or run for a while. Then look through your answers. Notice what you’ve kept in your £5m life and what you’ve let go of. This helps you know what you really want, recognise what’s working for you and understand where change is needed.
Small children are endlessly curious, always asking why. Be like a child, explore your power with an open mind. Notice times when you feel strong and positive. Sixteen years ago, after a serious illness, I was faced with learning to walk again. Prior to my illness I’d been very active and I wanted to defy medical opinion and get back in the gym. But how?
I discovered the exercise connection could help me. I realised that when I was working out my inner power surged, driving me on to do more, do better. I recognised how it rose up from my stomach to my chest, spreading energy through my body, sharpening my mind so I was ready to respond to challenge. I ran movies in my head of myself training, I listened to music from my classes; and I felt something of that power rise. I practiced tapping into my power every day so the connection became natural.
The power I sourced through that life challenge not only meant I got back on my feet and back in the gym. It drove me to follow my passion, leaving my career in education to train as a coach and set up my business. You really don’t need a major life challenge like that to discover your power. Get curious and you will find it.
All those self-imposed limits were not there when we were born! We’ve learnt them and now they run on automatic. It’s like driving, once you’ve learnt how to do it, you keep doing it until you do it without thinking.
Personal power is founded in belief. The belief that you have it, supported by the beliefs that build and sustain it. You need to identify your specific power sabotaging beliefs. Sometimes staring them in the face can be enough to shake them up and help you realise just how ridiculous they are.
Start to tell yourself different stories, talk to yourself in positive can-do language, create new empowering beliefs and collect evidence for them. It will be there if you look!
Keep revisiting the three Cs to build and grow what you want to do and be
And remember your power is precious. Stay alert to the ways in which you might be giving it away. Learn to put yourself first more often, it is the best thing you can do for your business and your family. When you are doing and being more of what you want and have the resilience and focus you get from personal power you will be a great role model, you will inspire others, you will have natural authority and you will be more successful. You will become a woman without limits.
Jenni Hallam, pictured above, has a long and successful history of producing impactful change and development for both individuals and groups in a range of personal, business and educational environments.