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Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 1)

Take Back Your Personal Power (Part 1)

Take Back Your Personal Power

    “But I know What’s Best for You…”

    Do you ever feel like you’re a mere pawn in someone else’s game; a powerless player that is regularly used, abused and manipulated for the gain and self interest of others? Self interest that’s often thinly disguised as some kind of action, decision or “plan” that’s somehow in your best interest? Isn’t it amazing how some people know what’s best for their life and yours? If only you and I had the ability to think and choose for ourselves; things could be so different. Have you ever felt like your life (or part of your life) has been taken hostage by someone else’s ego, insecurity and/or greed?

    Welcome to a very large club.

    Manipulators of the Masses

    Perhaps you feel like you’re trapped in some kind of on-going poker game where you’re never dealt any decent cards. As a result you feel like you have no real power or leverage… just the occasional bluff. The truth is, knowingly or not, many of us have given away our personal power (or part thereof) and allowed situations, circumstances and other people to dictate, direct and control our reality for far too long. Some of us have let others tell us what we can do and what we can’t do. What we should think. What we should believe. Where we can go. Who we should spend time with. Why we’re here. What our future holds and even what our life purpose should be. And because on some level we all want acceptance, approval, connection, security and love (and a whole bunch more), far too often we compromise… and compromise… until we eventually lose the real “us” and become a simulated version of us: looks like you and me – but isn’t.

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    Surrendering of Self

    Clearly this “surrendering of self” – that is dreams, goals, ideas, values, beliefs (not to be confused with the Christian notion of “dying to self”) – ain’t a great personal strategy for my life or yours. So if it’s all the same to you manipulators and self-centred control freaks, the rest of us will find our own life purpose, discover our own limits, explore our own potential and keep our personal power. Thanks anyway. Not.

    “People can only take our personal power if we give it to them.”

    Being a humble, generous and occasionally selfless individual is to be admired and respected but being a person who has essentially handed over the reigns of their life is tragic, sad and ultimately terminal. Someone who has given away their personal power is a person who has given away control, hope and happiness.

    “It’s nice to be nice but it’s stupid to be a doormat”

    Some people confuse feelings with reality. Not “feeling” powerful doesn’t necessarily equate to not “being” powerful. Unless we make it that. For the most part, feelings (read, fear) merely get in the way of our potential, personal power, growth and success. As a rule, our emotions and thoughts are in no way an indicator of our potential or the incredible future we might create and results we might produce if we should choose to use our power rather than give it away — as we have done in the past. Just because you don’t “feel” powerful or consider yourself to be powerful doesn’t mean that you’re not or you can’t be; it simply means you’re denying your potential and buying into a fear mindset. A feeling is only a feeling and a thought is only a thought until you make them a reality; good or bad.

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    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Marianne Williamson

    Just to clariff: I just re-read what I’ve written so far and I want to make a few things clear:

    1. We give away our power – people can’t take it without our permission;
    2. We allow people and things to have an unhealthy level of control and influence in our life;
    3. Getting angry, bitter and/or resentful at others will fix nothing – although it’s totally understandable;
    4. Positive change starts with awareness, understanding and acknowledgement; and
    5. The situation will change when you change – and you can change any time you like.

    Now, is that me over-simplifying the complicated or you complicating the simple?

    You decide.

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    The Last Bit…

    Even as you read this right now, some of you might be rationalising your less-than-desirable existence and situation (1) to make yourselves feel better (thereby ignoring those buttons I just pushed) and (2) to avoid confronting the things you know you should deal with. My advice? STOP IT! Your world will change — when you do.

    You have the ability, you have the understanding and you have the reasons – now find the courage.

    Next time I will share some ideas to help you shift your reality from power-less to power-ful.

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    Peace.

    More by this author

    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on July 23, 2019

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    5 Steps To Move Out Of Stagnancy In Life

    In the journey of growth, there are times when we grow and excel. We are endlessly driven and hyped up, motivated to get our goals.

    Then there are times when we stagnate. We feel uninspired and unmotivated. We keep procrastinating on our plans. More often than not, we get out of a rut, only to get back into another one.

    How do you know if you are stagnating? Here are some tell-tale signs:

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    • If you have been experiencing chronic procrastination on your goals
    • If you don’t ever feel like doing anything
    • If you keep turning to sleep, eating, games, mindless activities and entertainment for comfort
    • If you know you should be doing something, but yet you keep avoiding it
    • If you have not achieved anything new or significant now relative to 1 month, 2 months or 3 months ago
    • If you have a deep sense of feeling that you are living under your potential

    When we face stagnation in life, it’s a sign of deeper issues. Stagnation, just like procrastination, is a symptom of a problem. It’s easy to beat ourselves over it, but this approach is not going to help. Here, I will share 5 steps to help you move out of this stagnation. They won’t magically transform your life in 1 night (such changes are never permanent because the foundations are not built), but they will help you get the momentum going and help you get back on track.

    1. Realize You’re Not Alone

    Everyone stagnates at some point or another. You are not alone in this and more importantly, it’s normal. In fact, it’s amazing how many of my clients actually face the same predicament, even though all of them come from different walks of life, are of different ages, and have never crossed paths. Realizing you are not alone in this will make it much easier to deal with this period. By trying to “fight it”, you’re only fighting yourself. Accept this situation, acknowledge it, and tell yourself it’s okay. That way, you can then focus on the constructive steps that will really help you.

    2. Find What Inspires You

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    Stagnation comes because there isn’t anything that excites you enough to take action. If you don’t have a habit of setting goals, and instead just leave yourself to daily mundanes, it’s not surprising you are experiencing stagnation. What do you want to do if there are no limitations? If you can have whatever you want, what will it be? The answers to these questions will provide the fuel that will drive you forward.

    On the other hand, even if you are an experienced goal setter, there are times when the goals you set in the past lose their appeal now. It’s normal and it happens to me too. Sometimes we lose touch with our goals, since we are in a different emotional state compared to when we first set them. Sometimes our priorities change and we no longer want to work on those goals anymore. However, we don’t consciously realize this, and what happens is we procrastinate on our goals until it compounds into a serious problem. If that’s the case for you, it’s time to relook into your goals. There’s no point in pursuing goals that no longer inspire you. Trash away your old goals (or just put them aside) and ask yourself what you really want now. Then go for them.

    3. Give Yourself a Break

    When’s the last time you took a real break for yourself? 3 months? 6 months? 1 year? Never? Perhaps it’s time to take a time-out. Prolonged working can cause someone to become disillusioned as they lose sight of who they are and what they want.

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    Go take some extended leave from work. A few days at bare minimum; a few weeks or months will be great. Some of my ex-colleagues have quit their jobs and took months out to do some self-reflection. Of course, some of us might not have that luxury, so we can stick to a few weeks of leave. Go on a trip elsewhere and get away from your work and your life. Use this chance to get a renewed perspective of life. Think about your life purpose, what you want and what you want to create for your life in the future. These are big questions that require deep thinking over them. It’s not about finding the answers at one go, but about taking the first step to finding the answers.

    4. Shake up Your Routines

    Being in the same environment, doing the same things over and over again and meeting the same people can make us stagnant. This is especially if the people you spend the most time with are stagnant themselves.

    Change things around. Start with simple things, like taking a different route to work and eating something different for breakfast. Have your lunch with different colleagues, colleagues you never talked much with. Work in a different cubicle if your work has free and easy seating. Do something different than your usual for weekday evenings and weekends. Cultivate different habits, like exercising every day, listening to a new series of podcasts every morning to work, reading a book, etc (here’s 6 Proven Ways To Make New Habits Stick). The different contexts will give you different stimulus, which will trigger off different thoughts and actions in you.

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    When I’m in a state of stagnancy, I’ll get a sense of what’s making me stagnate. Sometimes it’s the environment I’m in, sometimes it’s the people I’ve been hanging out with, sometimes it’s my lifestyle. Most of the times it’s a combination of all these. Changing them up helps to stir myself out of the stagnant mode.

    5. Start with a Small Step

    Stagnation also comes from being frozen in fear. Maybe you do want this certain goal, but you aren’t taking action. Are you overwhelmed by the amount of work needed? Are you afraid you will make mistakes? Is the perfectionist in you taking over and paralyzing you?

    Let go of the belief that it has to be perfect. Such a belief is a bane, not a boon. It’s precisely from being open to mistakes and errors that you move forward. Break down what’s before you into very very small steps, then take those small steps, a little step at a time. I had a client who had been stagnating for a long period because he was afraid of failing. He didn’t want to make another move where he would make a mistake. However, not wanting to make a mistake has led him to do absolutely nothing for 2-3 years. On the other hand, by doing just something, you would already be making progress, whether it’s a mistake or not. Even if you make a supposed “mistake”,  you get feedback to do things differently in the next step. That’s something you would never have known if you never made a move.

    More to Help You Stay Motivated

    Here are some resources that will help you break out of your current phase:

    Featured photo credit: Anubhav Saxena via unsplash.com

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