Personal power is about staking your claim in the world and owning it. But how does that play when you have a proverbial boss who squashes your every idea? Or co-workers who don’t seem keen on your self-proclaimed brilliancy? Not to mention if you are an entrepreneur whose customers aren’t seeing your greatness? There is indeed a fine line between owning your own power and being egotistical.
All our lives we were taught not to brag, be overly confident or toot our own horn. For many this went beyond social etiquette and became something deeper, an erosion of self-worth. In my practice, worthiness is the number one issue clients come in to deal with. The root cause is usually found in childhood. The situations are varied ranging from an overly-critical parent or teacher, lack of praise from mom or dad or a specific event that rendered the child feeling unimportant and helpless. Needless to say, many of us come pre-wired into the world of work with a less than stellar self-image.
Suddenly when thrust into the shark infested waters of business we quickly realized that to get ahead, we needed to boast a bit, draw attention to ourselves, otherwise we might be relegated to the forgotten file. But where do you start and how can this NOT come off as self-serving or egotistical?
You can start by developing your character. Become a definitive individual with a set of values and qualities that make you distinctive and interesting. Ego doesn’t have to be a bad thing, if you view it as your character, your presence. With a strong character, there is no need to draw attention to yourself, because your presence is recognized by others in the way you live your life.
Here are some character-building ideas:
Honesty: See how honest and open you can be. If you can be brutally honest through self-reflection, working to continually improve, changes will already be in the works to be the best you can be. Stop pretending and hiding from others who you truly are, share your authentic self openly with the world.
Courage: Continually push yourself to face your fears instead of shrinking from them. If you demonstrate forthrightness in dealing with situations, your innate leadership will start to shine through.
Exploration: Experiment. Learn by trial and error. Step into the unknown and learn by doing. Develop an ego that loves to dive in and explore new things. Exploration feeds openness and creativity.
Service: Tune your ego in the direction of serving others, the stronger your ego becomes, the more you push yourself to help people. Make service to others a part of your identity.
Acceptance: When you accept yourself as having a strong ego, you’ll be more willing to accept other strong people into your life as well, instead of feeing you need to attack the strong in order to justify your own weakness.
Discipline: Develop an ego that identifies itself with good habits like regular exercise and solid productivity.
Allowing: Being open to the process and not being fixed to the outcome. Allowing things to flow without feeling like you have lost control.
Connection: Enhance your social skills so you can connect with others easily. Learn how to surround your ego with social support that helps to refine your positive character qualities while chipping away at your unwanted attributes.
Notice that since these are character qualities, they can’t be taken away from you. You may lose your possessions, job, relationships, etc., but your character qualities are yours to keep. As you continue to build your character, or simply become aware of the traits you possessed all along, you will begin to feel better about yourself and eventually even love yourself!
Loving yourself is not being egotistical, it is simply taking an assessment of your character and realizing all the positive qualities you possess and owning them. When we make strides to heal the wounded child within, self-nurture and make the child feel worthy, self-love is a natural next step. If you are unclear how to begin the healing process, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org or another professional who can assist with core wound/inner child issues. As crazy as it seems, even those who are at the top of corporations may not have healed those inner issues.
By developing a good character and loving yourself, you can present a positive, strong, confident self-image without being boisterous or narcissistic. And when you live each day with good character, continually demonstrating to others your core values, you will begin to own your own power and begin to stand tall in declaring your authentic self.