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Are You “Standing in Your Power”?

If you are “standing in your power” your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned with your values and are leading you toward your goals and dreams.  You feel connected to yourself and your life.  You are clear on where you want to go and yourchoices reflect your priorities.  Even when life gets hectic you feel you are moving in the right direction.

It is not uncommon to realize that your are not “standing in your power”.  This is something you most likely will experience at different times throughout your life.  Maybe you followed a path based on what other people wanted or believed was right for you and one day you realized you were living out their dreams for you instead of your own.  Possibly you have been giving much of your time and energy to help others or possibly your employer, and one day it became clear that you were helping them live their path in place of moving forward in your own life.   Perhaps you started down a particular path and at some point it began to feel less right.  You never adjust because you felt guilt and/or feared the unknown.  Whatever happened, one day you woke up feeling a little lost and craving to feel more like yourself again.

This is not a lifelong prison sentence… you can figure out how to “step back into your power” again.  Being in your power, it is all about proactively making choices based on what we really really want.  You may need help seeing how your choices are creating your life, but the choices are always there.  Be prepared, and know, that everyone may not be as ecstatic as you are about your choices.   Sometime when you make changes, it may change a way of life that someone else is perfectly happy with.  Standing up for yourself can feel unnatural and scary at first.  It is common to feel guilty or odd about making yourself a priority.  This can be a big shift, as you may not be used to putting yourself anywhere but last on your list.  Many nurturing people are expected to take on the responsibility of caring for others and are left with no one to take care of them.  If you do not start creating the life you desire, who will?  If you continue down this path how will you feel about your life in 1 year, 5 years and 10 years?

Possessing the ability to express your needs is critical to “standing in your power”.  Being confident in what you want to say will enable you to have productive conversations where you calmly and clearly communicate your thoughts.  This will enable others to hear you and to understand your needs.  People will often do anything to avoid having “tough” conversations.  It may seem easier in the moment not to have them, but avoiding uncomfortable topics leaves people feeling: disconnected, exhausted and/or resentful.  On the flip side, figuring out how to have these conversations provides numerous long term benefits. Your sanity as well as your physical and emotional health top the list.

There is no way to change history.  Therefore it is helpful, and can be more productive, to focus your energy on how you can move forward into your desired future and spend less time trying to prove points regarding the past.   There are three basic steps that will help you have the conversations needed to “stand in your power”.  Start by getting really clear about what you want, then work through the emotions that surround what you want to say and be prepared to move forward no matter what response you get.

I suggest you work through these steps not just in your head, but on paper too.  Ideally you will discuss your thoughts with someone else too, as this will enable you to see things you can not see alone.  There are more details about the three steps below.

Are you “standing in your power”?  If not... What do you choose to do?


3 Steps to Help You Have “Tough” Conversations


Get Clear About What You Really, Really Want…

This seems like a no brainer but often we are so busy reacting to life that we don’t take the time to figure this out.  Most people are not crystal clear about what they really, really want.  It is not only important to know what you want, it helps to know why you want it.  What is the outcome you desire?  What will having that give you?  Give yourself time and mind space to think about this.

Suggested Action…  Ask yourself the question above over and over again.  Find 15 minutes everyday day for a week to and write down what comes up.  Once you are clear, check in with yourself on a regular basis (once a week or once a month) to see if anything has changed.


Release Emotions Prior to the Conversation…

How you express yourself is just as important as what you say.  After all, you want people to hear you right?  It is common to bring emotions, about the past and the present, into a conversation.  When this happens people tend to be so busy thinking about how to defend themselves that they do not hear or understand you.  It is critical think about how what you are saying will be received.  How can you avoid putting the person you are speaking to on the defensive?  How can you express yourself calmly and respectfully so you can be heard?

Suggested Action…  Practice what you want to say with someone who will be kind, objective and will be honest with you.  Have them tell you how they would feel if they were on the other end of the conversation.  Work through your emotions until you are able to release them enough to have a calm convesation. 


Be Prepared to Move Forward…

It is the difference between wanting someone to hear and understand you and needing a specific outcome to occur.  When you are “ok” with the best case and worst case scenarios, this helps you move forward.  You can not control what people other people hear, do or say, you can only control yourself.  Think about what will help you move forward no matter what?  How are you looking for life to change?  What is most important to you?

Suggested Action… If you can, talk this through with someone who is kind, objective and will be honest with you. Think through the best and worst case scenarios.  Then, think about what life will be like in 1 year 3 years and in 5 years for both outcomes.  How will that affect you?  This will give you clarity about what you want to do.


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What Kind of Data Are You Gathering?

I am often asked how I was able to quit my job and travel around the world. I admit when the thought first crossed my mind it felt crazy and outlandish.  After all, who leaves a high paying job with a prestigious company to travel around the world in a bad economy?   Maybe someone with a sizable trust fund but not someone like me.  Taking a break was a foreign concept for me, I had worked three jobs for most of my life, and I was surrounded with logical data that supported the fact that this was insane.

Yet, staying in my current work situation felt as if I was walking the plank each day.  While there were many perks and it was hard conceptualize giving these up, the overall culture did not feel a healthy to me; it was all consuming and my boss’s actions were disturbing.  The stress and long hours were chipping away at my physical health and mental well being.

I started by exploring traditional options like: finding another job within the corporation, working for a competitor, looking for something completely new and outside of my industry etc…  but my heart kept returning to the possibility of quitting my job.  The fantasy of taking a break and taking a trip around the world to explore other cultures and figure out what would really “light me up” both inside and out kept pulling me forward.  I began to BELIEVE that I could make this happen and the data to support my decision started to appear.

Once I decided to take action and see where it led me, my intuition created a cocoon of calmness that helped me trust that I would figure out whatever came my way.   My logical mind kept sending doubts and fears but I held onto the belief that I could do this which enabled me to continually take action, find solutions and make it happen.  When my fears shouted “What in world are you doing?” and “Who do you think you are?”, I gathered more data to believe with more confidence that what ever came up I could figure out.  Serendipitous occurrences continued to reinforce my decision… like accidentally finding a fax which informed me of the exact date I need to stay to in order to get my bonus.  Without any magical powers, when I started to believe my heart and trust my gut and intuition everything started to come together.

Whether you think that you can, or that you can’t, you are usually right.”  ~ Henry Ford

This quote gives me goose bumps and reminds me that when you “truly” believe you can do something, you will move heaven and earth to make it happen.  You will go to great lengths to gather data to prove that, yes indeed, it can be done.  On the flip side, if you do not believe you can do something, you will also gather data to convince yourself that you cannot achieve what you want and block yourself from making it happen.

By February 8, 2008 I felt like a five year old on the first day of school, full of excitement and anticipation.  Walking out of my office that day I felt free!  BELIEVING and taking action changed my life..

Are you thinking about making a change?  If following your current path feels like you are settling, I urge you to BELIEVE you too can find what you are looking for.  Instead of gathering data about why you can not do something start to look for the data that shows it can be done.  It is out there.

Start to TRUST your heart and intuition and GO FOR IT!  Take ACTION because you can stall forever and deep down you know your next chapter is waiting to be started!   Have FAITH that whatever challenges arise you will figure it out. Check out the tips below to help.


Think About This When You Are Gathering Data…

It is common to gather data to support our decision to NOT take action.  Often the real issue are that you are afraid of failure, scared about how things might change, concerned about looking good, worried about taking a risk and falling on your face, afraid you might get hurt, etc… I can guarantee you that you will be able to find someone to agree with you that it is too hard and impossible to achieve your goal.  That is if you want reasons not to take action.

However, here is the dilemma; it is easy to find evidence for BOTH sides of the argument.  What would happen if you presented your fears as questions for a real debate?   Ask yourself if you have created an accurate picture when gathering your data or are you simply listening to the side that made you feel better about not taking action.

Ask yourself… “How true is that?”.  It may be easier to focus on what you want to hear but remember that it won’t help you reach your goals.

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Hope for Holiday Sadness

December 6, 1981.  There was deep sadness in my moms eyes when she woke me up and, trying not to cry, delivered the news that my brother Pat had been in an accident.  He didn’t make it.  I was twelve and my mind didn’t want to believe what she was saying.  Am I am still dreaming?  There must be some mistake!… were the thoughts I wanted to believe.  He was weeks away from coming home from his first semester in college to celebrate the holidays.

How do you celebrate any holiday when there is a hole in your heart and at your table?  That was 30 years ago and I still miss him.  I often wonder what Pat would be like and how life would be different if that drunk driver would have been smart enough to take a cab or drive home with a friend.  It took a while to come to terms with the fact that nothing could change what happened… I could not bring him back.  I believe the last thing he would want is for me to be sad that he is not physically here.

How do you handle loss as well as move on?  Birthdays, anniversaries and holidays are the consistent reminders that heighten your awareness of what you are already missing.  Although you can not change the past you can choose how you want to react to it.  Do you want to pretend it doesn’t bother you even though it does? Do you want to sink deeper into the sadness?  Or do you want to find positive ways to wake up from the nightmare that has become your reality?  Do you feel you can’t talk to people about it without being a downer?  Do you not know who to talk to because you don’t know who will understand?  Losing someone you are close to can leave an awkward gap that can leave you feeling uncertain about how to move on.

I wanted to know how to keep Pat close to my heart, honor him and feel good about moving on.  I knew people who went to grave sites to visit their loved ones, but I found this uncomfortable and more depressing.  It was a relief to learn there is no right way to remember someone.  It allowed me to discover alternate ways to express my feelings in ways that felt comfortable and meaningful to me.

A few questions that may help you find your path… What did this person want for you?  Before Pat left for college, he told me that I was never to even try a drug and warned if I did he would find out and kick my butt.  I promised him I would not and to honor his memory I never did.   What did this person do to make you feel special? It is often the small gestures that make the biggest impact, it could be as simple as being diligent about staying in contact.  How can you give to others what your loved one gave to you?   If you loved going over to their house, you may choose to create an environment that others love to visit.    Are there places you can go to remember the good times you had together?  We donated money to a park near our home in memory of Pat.  It was easier for me to visit and remember him in a positive environment filled with laughter.  Is there something you can do to help others avoid what happened to your loved one?  Maybe you could donate money to a cause or create an new environment that will help others.

Whatever you decide… I believe it is important to acknowledge that it is ok and normal to miss people as well as realize there are people you can talk to and people to whom you can express your feelings.  When you find uplifting ways remember and honor people it can allow you to move forward and enjoy life.  With all my heart I believe it is what our loved ones would want us to do.

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What Lights You Up?

Driving down the street during the holidays and seeing the trees glistening immediately boosts my mood.  I wanted to continually surround myself with this feeling so I added a small tree to our bedroom and my office.  It is one of the simple and effective ways I brighten my days with a burst of positive energy.  I find that it is really the little things that make a big difference.

Is there a song that you can’t resist to singing along to, or better yet one that inspires a dance break?  Do you have a inspirational or calming CD you can pop in between shopping stops or when you find yourself sitting in traffic?  Would a holiday movie help relax you as you wrap all those presents?

It can be a busy time of year, which means it is an even more important to find things that help keep you sane.  What lights you up?   What little things make you feel connected and bring you joy?  What will bring you happiness when you are starting to feel stressed?  How can you surround yourself with small triggers that make you smile?

Experiment with something and let me know how it goes!


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Are You “Standing in Your Power”?

If you are “standing in your power” your thoughts, feelings and actions are aligned...
article post
thumbnail The Chicago Bean article post

What Kind of Data Are You Gathering?

I am often asked how I was able to quit my job and travel around the world. I admit when...
article post
thumbnail Do You Love Your Life? article post

Hope for Holiday Sadness

December 6, 1981.  There was deep sadness in my moms eyes when she woke me up and,...
article post

What Lights You Up?

Driving down the street during the holidays and seeing the trees glistening immediately...
article post