Tapping into Your Own True,
Power can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. To some, the very thought of worldly power is a heady and motivational elixir. In this definition, one might envision "having people under him," who report to him and require his approval to move ahead with projects or activities. Or he might see himself in public office, or with a corporate title that conveys power to others. With this type of power, we hear derogatory phrases like "power hungry," "power trip," and "power monger."
This is power based on external circumstances and perceptions, on a "win-lose" or "zero-sum" premise that boosts one (temporarily) at the expense of others, and therefore is no power at all. And all too often, such power-tripping requires one to flame the fire of fear, and take a journey away from ethics, integrity and deeper values such as honesty and trust. It is the illusion of power, which is why this type of power doesn't satisfy, as many studies and surveys have shown.
Yet there is another power – a true power – that doesn't rely upon external measures or the perceptions of others. It doesn't depend upon others thinking more highly of you, or treating you deferentially, because of what you have or what you're called. To the contrary, this power stems from within you, from who you really are, and thus isn't a power that someone can arbitrarily diminish or take away.
Power from within is inspired from a source far removed from the volatility and fickleness of the mob or the market. It's this type of power that resides in saints, sages and truly inspired leaders – the ones that inspire, encourage, and lift others up. Yet most people, even those who crave power, let this inner source go untended. They allow their most precious fuel source – that which can provide them with the meaningful life they desire – to go untapped.
You've no doubt heard the phrase "she gave away her power" or "he stepped into his power." And you've probably seen the phrase attributed to Nelson Mandela or Marianne Williamson that "it's not the darkness we fear, but our light." All of these refer to true power, the power that stems from within and finds its source in something far greater than anything the material world can provide.
You give away your true power – diminish and cast it away – every time you refuse to take responsibility for your choices and your life or the smallest elements of it. You spurn your true power each time you let circumstances define you or, as said in the movie The Matrix, every time you let the matrix – another person, a set of circumstances, or "society" – tell you who you are.
Who are you, really, and what is your true power? The answer is waiting for you to see it, and to listen to its guidance. You can't buy it, and you don't need to. You already have it, and part of you already knows it. It rarely shouts, but whispers and leaves clues all along your path. It lives not in your intellect, but in your heart and soul -- your very core.
It can be heard most easily when you've quieted, and removed yourself if only for awhile from the bustle of the world. It can be seen only with an intentional and discerning eye – an eye that's open to seeing will see it more easily. And it can't be found in the praise of others, or in the car that you buy, or the title you wear hoping to impress others of your worth. Your worth is a given, it's a gift, and it's already within you and all around you. It's the buried treasure that you're seeking, and it's waiting for you to discover it and share it with others. It wants to be found. Don't you want to find it?
Jamie S. Walters is founder and chief vision & strategy officer at Ivy Sea, Inc., and publisher and editor-in-chief for Ivy Sea Online, recognized by Inc.com, Harvard Business School, The CEO Refresher and other business portals as one of the best sites on the internet for entrepreneurs, small-business owners and organizational leaders. Jamie is also the author of the new handbook for conscious, human-scale enterprise: Big Vision, Small Business: 4 Keys to Success Without Growing Big (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, San Francisco). E-mail Jamie directly at email@example.com .
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