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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 November 18, 2020

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It)

    It’s okay, you can finally admit it. It’s been two months since you’ve seen the inside of the gym. Getting sick, family crisis, overtime at work and school papers that needed to get finished all kept you for exercising. Now, the question is: how do you start again?
    Once you have an exercise habit, it becomes automatic. You just go to the gym, there is no force involved. But after a month, two months or possibly a year off, it can be hard to get started again. Here are some tips to climb back on that treadmill after you’ve fallen off.

    1. Don’t Break the Habit – The easiest way to keep things going is simply not to stop. Avoid long breaks in exercising or rebuilding the habit will take some effort. This may be advice a little too late for some people. But if you have an exercise habit going, don’t drop it at the first sign of trouble.
    2. Reward Showing Up – Woody Allen once said that, “Half of life is showing up.” I’d argue that 90% of making a habit is just making the effort to get there. You can worry about your weight, amount of laps you run or the amount you can bench press later.
    3. Commit for Thirty Days – Make a commitment to go every day (even just for 20 minutes) for one month. This will solidify the exercise habit. By making a commitment you also take pressure off yourself in the first weeks back of deciding whether to go.
    4. Make it Fun – If you don’t enjoy yourself at the gym, it is going to be hard to keep it a habit. There are thousands of ways you can move your body and exercise, so don’t give up if you’ve decided lifting weights or doing crunches isn’t for you. Many large fitness centers will offer a range of programs that can suit your tastes.
    5. Schedule During Quiet Hours – Don’t put exercise time in a place where it will easily be pushed aside by something more important. Right after work or first thing in the morning are often good places to put it. Lunch-hour workouts might be too easy to skip if work demands start mounting.
    6. Get a Buddy – Grab a friend to join you. Having a social aspect to exercising can boost your commitment to the exercise habit.
    7. X Your Calendar – One person I know has the habit of drawing a red “X” through any day on the calendar he goes to the gym. The benefit of this is it quickly shows how long it has been since you’ve gone to the gym. Keeping a steady amount of X’s on your calendar is an easy way to motivate yourself.
    8. Enjoyment Before Effort – After you finish any work out, ask yourself what parts you enjoyed and what parts you did not. As a rule, the enjoyable aspects of your workout will get done and the rest will be avoided. By focusing on how you can make workouts more enjoyable, you can make sure you want to keep going to the gym.
    9. Create a Ritual – Your workout routine should become so ingrained that it becomes a ritual. This means that the time of day, place or cue automatically starts you towards grabbing your bag and heading out. If your workout times are completely random, it will be harder to benefit from the momentum of a ritual.
    10. Stress Relief – What do you do when your stressed? Chances are it isn’t running. But exercise can be a great way to relieve stress, releasing endorphin which will improve your mood. The next time you feel stressed or tired, try doing an exercise you enjoy. When stress relief is linked to exercise, it is easy to regain the habit even after a leave of absence.
    11. Measure Fitness – Weight isn’t always the best number to track. Increase in muscle can offset decreases in fat so the scale doesn’t change even if your body is. But fitness improvements are a great way to stay motivated. Recording simple numbers such as the number of push-ups, sit-ups or speed you can run can help you see that the exercise is making you stronger and faster.
    12. Habits First, Equipment Later – Fancy equipment doesn’t create a habit for exercise. Despite this, some people still believe that buying a thousand dollar machine will make up for their inactivity. It won’t. Start building the exercise habit first, only afterwards should you worry about having a personal gym.
    13. Isolate Your Weakness – If falling off the exercise wagon is a common occurrence for you, find out why. Do you not enjoy exercising? Is it a lack of time? Is it feeling self-conscious at the gym? Is it a lack of fitness know-how? As soon as you can isolate your weakness, you can make steps to improve the situation.
    14. Start Small – Trying to run fifteen miles your first workout isn’t a good way to build a habit. Work below your capacity for the first few weeks to build the habit. Otherwise you might scare yourself off after a brutal workout.
    15. Go for Yourself, Not to Impress – Going to the gym with the only goal of looking great is like starting a business with only the goal to make money. The effort can’t justify the results. But if you go to the gym to push yourself, gain energy and have a good time, then you can keep going even when results are slow.

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