We all go through phases where we feel a loss of personal power. Those days or weeks when we feel pretty average. It might be because things haven’t been going our way. A job we expected fell through, or we’re working with someone we’re having difficulties with. Or we just feel blah. We find ourselves procrastinating, dithering or complaining. (Or all 3!)
To understand our loss of mojo, we look for explanations and reasons which usually boil down to 2 things: a personal hiccup (I’m just not feeling motivated), or a circumstance (when x happens, I’ll be inspired again). With the former we just hope the meh lifts, like a phase of the moon. With the latter, we believe that when the external situation shifts in our favour again, power will be resumed. Crisis averted!
While both these approaches work to varying degrees, there is a downside, because the return of your power is at the mercy of something happening outside your control. When the source of your power is seen to be outside you, you’re not calling the shots in your own life.
What if the first place to look when we feel disempowered is within, not without?
When I’m out of integrity – that is, not doing what I said I’d do, and not being who I really am – I lose power. So when I’m feeling flat, my integrity is the first place I look!
The idea of integrity is often held in a moral paradigm, where something is either good or bad. I’m not meaning it that way. For instance, not living your truest life can feel like an integrity issue after a while.
It’s helpful to think about integrity like a bath tub. After one bath the tub still looks clean. But after several, the scum builds up and all of a sudden its dirty. You can’t initially see it, but the accumulation of small particles leads to the dirty bath tub. The small things we walk over, the things we don’t say and do, is like this. The cost may not be noticeable at first, but it builds up over time.
So what to do, given we are all human, and perfectly imperfect?
Firstly, when you feel you have lost power, look to your integrity. Where are you being inconsistent with what you said, and who you know yourself to be? Where have you have not kept your word – to yourself or others? And don’t overlook the small stuff! There might be a list of things – that’s cool! Remember, this isn’t about right/wrong, or judgment and blame. This is about giving you your power back. There may have been lots of reasons for why this happened. It’s just that now you’re looking within for your part – and your power.
Secondly, when you find where you have not kept your word, make it right. Clean it up. Not with excuses, but with ownership and responsibility. It’s amazing how freeing it is when we acknowledge to the relevant person where we didn’t fulfil on our commitments and promises – including ones we make to our self.
Thirdly, if its something important, recommit. Don’t give up because “I tried it earlier and it didn’t work’. And if you need to, put something in place so you can keep your promise. In areas where you want to make bigger changes, get a mentor or someone to support you with this.
Integrity – it’s an old fashioned idea, but it’s the source of a lot of power. Lack of integrity can often look like small stuff over a period of time. When I say I’m going to go to the gym, or fill out my tax – and I don’t, something erodes. When I say I’m going to spend time writing or making those calls, and I don’t, it costs me. If I believe myself to be a person of principle but my actions fall short, then my power dwindles.
And when I work with my clients, I see this across the board for them too.