How to connect with your power.
What would you do if you felt powerful? Would you start that business you’ve been dreaming about, or ask for a raise? Would you use the word no more often, put an end to people pleasing, or start speaking your mind?
If you were feeling your mojo, what would you allow yourself to accomplish? Would you stop playing small and talking yourself out of going for things? Would you wear your ambition with pride, and collaborate with other women instead of feeling the need to compete with them?
While I haven’t had the opportunity to meet you personally, I’ve worked with enough women throughout my 15 years of professional coaching to know that your answer to these questions is YES.
Yes. If you felt powerful you would say no more often. You would stop it with approval seeking, and start speaking up for yourself. You wouldn’t say yes when you mean no, and you’d give yourself permission to go for what you want. In fact, you’d celebrate the very act of going for it, and you’d look for ways to cooperate and support your fellow sisters as they went for it too. (Totally awesome, right?)
You would do these things because when you’re centered in your own power, you show up to life as the best version of yourself. And let me tell you, the best version of you is a BADASS. When she takes charge of things, everything in your life improves.
Your career becomes more fulfilling and you start to succeed. Your relationships deepen and take on new dimensions. You get your financial house in order, and you become more confident. Your focus sharpens, your energy increases, and you begin to feel good in your own skin. You can live every day as the most empowered version of you. I’m here to show you how.
First, it might help to talk a little bit about what power is. It’s actually a misunderstood concept. It’s sometimes confused with position or wealth. When I used to think about power, I pictured a bunch of fat, old, white guys sitting around a boardroom making decisions about things I didn’t get a vote on. (This, of course, made it hard to relate.)
Thankfully, power is not a bunch of old guys in a boardroom. As we’ve discussed, power is your ability to impact your life. It’s how much influence you have over your own circumstances. Which brings me to our first paradigm.
Power works like that too. You can’t see it, but you use it to get done what needs doing, and the way you direct it determines how closely your life resembles your dreams. There are three foundational building blocks of power. They are; what you think, what you say, and what you do.
3 Steps to Shift
Step 1 – Silence your frenemy.
Your power all starts in your head, so first we tackle the THINK part of our formula. If you’re like many women, you have a frenemy taking up residence in your headspace.
A frenemy is an acquaintance that masquerades as your friend. Your frenemy is the voice that tells you what’s wrong with you, and reminds you why you can’t do things. (She never shuts up either, does she?) Frenemy tells you she’s reminding you about your limits to keep you safe, but she’s actually keeping you small. She is not your friend, and it’s time for her to bounce.
You CANNOT beat up on yourself and expect to live an empowered life. It’s not possible. (Even if the beating is only happening in your head, and no one else sees it going down.)
You must evict your frenemy from your headspace. Happily, this is as easy paying attention. She’s just a bully, and we all know what happens when you confront a one of those guys. The coward folds, right? Yours will too.
Begin to notice when your frenemy starts yapping. Whose words are you repeating? (Many times, her voice will sound like an influential adult from your childhood.) What circumstances put you in mean girl territory? (Usually she rears up when you’re risking or thinking about going for something.)
I want you to start catching your frenemy in the act. I have a little game I like to play that makes doing it fun. It’s called Bestie.
First, imagine you have a best friend living inside your head. (If you can have an inside frenemy voice you can certainly have an inside best friend voice too, right?) If you’re having a hard time imagining her, you can picture your actual best friend, or you can imagine me cheering you on.
The goal of the game is to replace the voice of your frenemy with the voice of your best friend. It’s simple. In the moment when your mean girl rears up, meet her by saying, “Thanks, but I don’t want to play with you.” Then imagine what your best friend would say to help you feel strong, and say that.
We want to condition the process of replacing the warnings of your frenemy with the encouragement of your best friend. When you condition this practice, you’ll find that the voice of your frenemy eventually quiets and what you start to hear instead is the encouraging cheers of your best girl. (Take that frenemy.)
Step 2 – Speak on your own behalf.
This is the SAY part of our equation. What you say matters. What you don’t say matters, too. There are two components to this step. It’s about what you speak in your outside voice, and what you hold yourself back from saying in the outside world. Let’s take them one at a time.
Speak FOR yourself
First, let’s revisit that frenemy inside your head. You can’t let her use your mouth any longer. No more speaking against yourself or using your own words to keep you down.
That sounds obvious, right? Of course, you wouldn’t want to use the power of your voice to keep yourself down. That doesn’t make any sense when you read it written down, does it? But, I bet you do it.
How often do you talk about your shortcomings, deflect compliments, or make jokes at your own expense? These are all ways of speaking against yourself, and if you want to be empowered, you have to stop doing it.
You handle this step just like you managed your frenemy. You notice it. Catch yourself when you start to use your voice for bad. No beating yourself up when you do it. Instead, look at the situation and learn. What’s going on around you? WHO is around you? What’s causing you to doubt on yourself?
My grandmother used to say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Yours probably did too. Grandma was one smart cookie. Follow her advice. Catch yourself when you start to use your voice in a disempowering way. When you do, just close those beautiful lips of yours. And smile.
Speak UP for yourself
Ironically, the other part of this step asks you to do the exact opposite of closing your mouth. You see there are many circumstances in life that require you to open up and speak on your own behalf.
In fact, one of the most impactful ways you manage your power is through the use of your voice. It’s important for you to develop the ability to make requests, set boundaries, share your opinions, express yourself, and say no when you need to.
As you move through the lessons in this program, my goal is to help you reach a place where you’re no longer stuffing, repressing, pretending, or going along to get along. (That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?)
Here’s the thing, if you haven’t been speaking up for yourself for a while, your voice might be a little rusty. (Your courage muscles could be too.) That’s totally okay. You just need to start practicing.
To do it, I want you to play a little game called Thought Bubbles. You know how comics put those little bubbles above the heads of their characters so we know what they’re thinking? I want you to experiment with your own version of that. In our game, your thought bubbles are for what you would say, if you were going to speak up for yourself.
When you find yourself in a situation where you’re bothered, but not comfortable enough to say something in your outside voice, use your thought bubble to say it in your inside voice instead. (No big deal. No heaviness. Maybe even a little bit funny. Cussing totally allowed.)
Playing with thought bubbles helps you take baby steps towards the day when you’ll be confident enough to use your outside voice. It helps you practice finding the right words in the moment, and shines the light on the people and situations that repeatedly put you in situations that make you feel the need to stand up for yourself.
Step 3 – Behave for what you want.
At last, we arrive at the DO part of our equation. Guess what? What you do matters. What you don’t do matters, too. In fact, your behavior not only directs your power, it predicts your results.
You cannot behave in a way that conflicts with what you want and hope to get it. You always get the results you behave for. That is good news too, because it means that when you line your behavior up with the results you want to create, you will create those results.
There are two parts to putting the power of the DO to work for you. First we assess. Then we talk action. Assessment is a simple process. We want to take a look at your behavior, and see if it’s getting you closer to your goals, or pushing you further away from them. One simple question helps us assess.
Is what you’re doing getting you closer to what you want?
If the answer is yes, that’s what I call a Keep Going behavior. If the answer is no, that’s a Makeover behavior, which is just like it sounds. It’s something you’re doing that’s keeping you from your goal, so we want to give it a little upgrade.
The first time you assess, you might be a little bit shocked. There’s a pretty good bet you’ve got a pile of behavior that needs upgrading. No beating yourself up. (That doesn’t help you change things.) Upgrades are just about making small adjustments. Figure out where you need to adjust to move yourself forward. Then adjust. And celebrate. You’re getting more powerful by the minute.
In psychology there is a term called agency, which is defined as “the capacity, condition, or state of acting or of exerting power.” Agency essentially refers to your understanding of your own ability to impact your circumstances. Ironically, you behave your way into agency.
When you direct your behavior with intention, you begin to feel less like life is happening to you, and more like you’re in charge of what’s happening. As you apply yourself and create results, those results act as proof of your ability to impact things, and your sense of being personally effective (and powerful) increases. When you take control of what you think, say and do you develop personal agency.
That’s it for the week. Remember that I never want you to blindly take my word for anything. Only you know what’s right for you. I just happen to have a few coaching tools that can help you get closer to that wisdom. Give this lesson’s advice a test drive in your life, and let me know how it goes. There are three ways for us to interact.
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My mission is your empowerment. That’s why I’m here. If you haven’t already joined my community, please do it by entering your email (www.kimberlyfulcher.com). Until we meet again, know that life is happening for you.
And you got this!