Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had conversation with several of my clients and friends that have reminded me how easy it is for women to give up their power.
What do I mean by giving up your power? I mean letting someone else’s actions or words change how you decide to show up. Instead of fully being you, you wear a muted version of yourself. You ignore your inner wisdom, silence your voice, and dishonor the truth of who you know yourself to be.
After reflecting on these conversations I’ve discovered four places where you may be giving up your power.
Well-meaning family and friends
My client Lucy* has a challenging relationship with her mother. Lucy has put some boundaries in place but lately Mom has been manipulating her to get her to do what she wants. Lucy has stopped listening to her own truth and mom’s voice is overriding what her gut is telling her.
This scenario is not uncommon for a lot of women. The power of a parent or loved one’s voice is very strong and can easily result in you setting aside your power for the sake of making them feel okay.
But you are not responsible for other people’s emotions. They may want to make you responsible but that’s not yours to carry. You are responsible for honoring what you need to thrive. This includes eliminating toxic people from around you, even if they are people you love deeply.
Those in authority over you
Ava* is married with kids and her family is her top priority. Lately her boss has been hinting that Ava’s job may be in jeopardy because she’s not “committed to the company”. Despite Ava being good at her job and getting her work done, her boss is assessing her commitment based on her not staying late or coming in early like some of her colleagues. Time with her family is important to Ava but she also really loves her job and she’s unsure how to resolve this conflict.
As a woman in leadership it is very easy to fall into the trap of believing that what’s important to you has to be sacrificed for the sake of being a good leader. The company’s priorities become your priorities and your loyalty is judged by your willingness to “do whatever it takes”.
The problem with buying into this idea is that your sense of self gets wrapped up in the approval of a boss or another authority figure. Instead of being confident in who you are, your confidence becomes dependent on you doing the “right things”.
In this situation, it can feel like you don’t have much choice but to just deal with it. The truth is you do have a choice. You have the power to choose what kind of environment you want to work. If the one you are in isn’t working for you, then you get to choose a different one.
My client Karen* has a history of being in unhealthy relationships, both at work and in her personal life. She’s just beginning to do the work to understand and break those patterns but her past experiences have her convinced she can’t do any better. Karen is currently letting her past dictate her present and her future
You’ve made mistakes. If you’ve been alive long enough you’ve likely made some pretty big ones too but those mistakes will limit you only if you let them. When you choose to let the past control you, you give your power away and those around you miss out on the gifts you have to offer.
The past is what it is. Learn from it and then actively choose to move on. It will mean making different decisions but it starts with you knowing you have the power to choose differently. Your past may have taught you one thing but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn something new and have a different experience.
Old stories that no longer serve you
There was a time in her life when Nancy* was very overweight which allowed her to stay hidden in the background. Nancy isn’t overweight anymore but she continues to tell herself that she isn’t “good enough”. And instead of really showing up for her life, Nancy is giving up her power and playing it safe, all because of an old story she keeps telling herself.
I get how easy it is to hold onto an old narrative. It’s comfortable and familiar and you can pretty much anticipate how things are going to play out
But my question is how’s that working for you? I’m guessing not so well.
Giving up your power to an old story is akin to acting like a circus elephant. Elephants in a circus have been trained to believe they are tied to a post and can’t move the way they want. Long after the rope has been removed the elephant still believes it can only move a short distance and acts accordingly.
You are not tethered to that old story. You can move forward. The key, though, is realizing that the only power that story has is the power you give it. The stories that play in your head can either serve you or stop you; the choice is yours.
Here’s to you reclaiming your power and rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
If you recognize that you are giving away your power and you’d like to learn more about how coaching can help you reclaim it, schedule a complimentary call with me today.