Throughout my career I spent a lot of time focused on getting ahead. I would watch the people who seemed to be moving forward, and try to mimic them. I would try to be more extroverted than I really am. I would try to suppress my sense of humour as I didn’t want to be seen as a clown. I would keep my mouth shut during some meetings, as I didn’t want to appear like I didn’t know what I was talking about. I would fight with situations in which I appeared vulnerable, or less than perfect. What I now see I was giving away my power to be me.
I started my career as a software developer. I remember one occasion in which someone called me out publically for some bad coding. The truth is I was fairly new to working in this language and I was learning. However, rather than approach it from this place of learning, I remember becoming very defensive. I didn’t really care about the code, it was more about me looking like I didn’t know what I was doing. I felt small in this moment. I pushed back in hopes of discrediting my colleague and to protect the perceptions around my abilities as a coder. It’s been a very long time since this incident, however, I think I was trying to protect the image of me as I was really focused on getting ahead. Unfortunately, in giving my own power to learn and grow away I ended up feeling more insecure inside. Talk about feeling small.
I’m an omnivert. In being an omnivert it means I have both introverted and extroverted tendencies. One of my introverted tendencies has always been the need for a little quiet time away from people to recharge my batteries. For a very long time, I would deny this as I believed being introverted was a weakness when it came to getting ahead in my career. I would tell myself introverts are weak, and I should be careful about what I say for fear of an extrovert making me look stupid. After all, at least in North American culture, it’s generally the extroverts who are perceived to be leaders. So instead of embracing who I am, I would fight it and work hard to speak up more which didn’t always go so well. In trying to be something I’m not, I gave away a lot of myself as I would fight with myself rather than connecting with people. Speaking up often came at a cost as I’m sure what I said didn’t always come across the best. Just not a good thing all around.
I’ve always been considerate of not hurting other people’s feelings, even if it comes at my own expense. Take Facebook for example. There are people I’m “friends” with on Facebook, for which I’ve become stressed or conflicted when I see some of their posts. I’m not talking just about a different perspective on a topic as I respect other people’s perspectives. However, when their posts condone racism, hatred or other such crap there’s actually stress invoked as I’m saddened to see someone I know support such things. (Yes I’m talking about Trump supporters). For a long time I haven’t wanted to unfriend them out of fear of hurting them. In these cases though, I’ve given them a lot of power over me as I am continuing to read there posts out of some kind of obligation.
What is this power I’m giving away
Several years ago I started to learn what it means to live Free, Powerful and at Choice from my friend Christopher Avery. Although my understanding of this phrase seems to shift as I grow, what I currently think of is:
Freedom is living fully as myself within my values, beliefs and with purpose. Freedom is always being true to my word, both with myself and those around me. Freedom is doing the only thing I know I can do well … being me.
Being powerful is only achieved when I am at first free. By living free, it means I can devote all my energy to what I am doing. There is no conflict, judgement or struggle to do something. I am able to just do it. When I am powerful it means anything becomes possible, and my impact on the world around me is significantly more.
When you’re both free and powerful, you are able to now be at choice. Being at choice means you do things because you want to do them. There is no perception of what others think you should be doing. You are doing them from your heart.
I claim my freedom!
A couples weeks ago I succeeded in a physical challenge I would never have done in the past. I’m sorry I cannot share any details of what that was, but let’s just say when it came time to do it … I just did it. I just told myself “OK … just xxxxxx” … and I did. It would be just like thinking to yourself … OK stand up … and you just stand up. No judgement, no question, no worry … I just did it. It was an amazing feeling!
Succeeding on that challenge happened because in that day I let go of something pretty big about myself, and fully embraced my powers. I was fully present with what it means to be Mike. Imagine if you could go through all of your life claiming all your powers, and just being you. I can tell you it’s one of the most powerful experiences of my life time.
So I am claiming my freedom and everything that goes along with that. My introverted tendencies. My sense of humour and how I can use it in service of a group of people. My spirituality which brings me a strong connection with the people and world around me. My emotions which serve me well as I interact with people on a daily basis. More than anything I claim my heart as it gives me such a strong sense of purpose and love of the world around me. I am claiming it all!
What are you ready to claim?
I know you have the power in you to claim your own freedom and stop giving your own powers away! We all do. However, you have to want it with all your heart.
Look at a place in your life in which you feel upset. Something that has been eating away at the inside of you. Now look at how you are allowing others to hold your power. The others may not even know they’re doing this as it’s something only you control. What power are you giving them?
- Is it allowing someone else’s opinion of you to keep you from taking a risk and being all you could possibly be?
- Is it allowing fear of the crap coming out of the Trump campaign to keep you from standing up for your values and beliefs?
- Is it hanging on to a friendship that causes you nothing but stress and conflict?
What are you ready to claim back as yours? When we do this we become a bigger player in the world around us. The world needs all of us to claim our powers. There is far too many people going around playing small, and as the world gets crazier this problem only seems to amplify.
I know you have it in you. You’re beautiful, and I want you to live free and powerful. It will bring a smile to your face.
See your power … claim your power!
Join us on retreat May 27-29, 2016
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