When we are not flowing forward easily in our business, it’s because we are having an issue with power. Usually with our own. We just don’t like to think about it in this way.
We want to believe instead that having a thriving business is a result of us taking right action so the universe will deliver all the clients we need because, for goodness sakes, we are trying making the world a better place.
So why bring a conflictual word like power into it?
Well, many things associated with growing our business have to do with the Merriam Webster definition of power: the ability to act or produce an effect. A thriving business is one where the owner is able to find new opportunities, be well regarded in their industry, and create enough visibility—all while delivering flawless customer service, managing vendors well, and dealing with daily issues that arise.
Clearly, this entrepreneur is comfortable with her relationship to power.
Sounds good on paper but in real life for us sensitive types, enacting any of the above items can mean reaching out even when we don’t feel worthy, taking chances that make our stomach churn, stretching our skill sets past what feels tolerable, and growing beyond our current limitations in ways that feel like we are falling apart.
No wonder we shy away and convince ourselves that growing our business takes too much.
I believe that this happens because we soulpreneurs have all kinds of issues with power. We’ve gotten all tangled up in the secondary definition of power that is: possession of control, authority, or influence over others.
Since the dawn of time through today, we’ve seen this get badly handled and we are sensitive enough to want it to be different. But we cannot toss power aside in order to change how it’s used in the world.
Instead, we have to learn to use power well ourselves so we can model a different way.
Having a good relationship with our own power means being willing to find a version of power that matches our values. By exploring different notions of power, you can see that there are a variety of choices around power, not just the needs-to-be-retired-along-with-all-those-sad-people-who-keep-abusing-it kind. Consider how differently Wonder Woman handled power than Lex Luthor did and you get my drift.
There is no way that you will step toward having power if you believe that having it will make you selfish, controlling, insensitive to others or that it will corrupt you, make you less likable, or be too hard to handle.
My own version of power comes from studying a number of self knowledge type systems—Human Design, Enneagram, and astrology—along with training as a spiritual yoga teacher, a transformational leadership coach, and getting my masters in leadership and sustainable communities. All of these, blended with years of studying various self growth methods, have blended together and forced me to make choices over and over until I’ve learned to hold a tremendous amount of power and be comfortable with it. And let me be clear, it’s not because I “learned” a lot in the traditional certification/schooling sense. It’s because I’ve experienced a lot and grown a ton.
You, too, can study various methods or even different cultures and their versions of power to craft your own. But I’m betting you already have enough information, you’ve just never stopped to consider that by not owning your own power in your business, you are limiting your capacity to have the success you desire.
Here are four things I’ve learned about my brand of personal power that may help you in defining yours:
- She’s female: yes, my power is a she because so far, I’ve found that feminine styles of power fit better with my values. Seeing the whole picture instead of just its parts, understanding how actions will impact the entire group, and wanting relationships to be held in high regard are just a few of the ways I know she’s feminine. She’s a lass to be reckoned with though, because like the divine feminine, she’s resilient, patient, and wears all the faces of that which is female from maiden to crone, from innocent to wildly passionate.
- She’s magnanimous: this is a lovely word that means showing a lofty and courageous spirit that is generous or forgiving, especially toward a rival or less powerful person. Now isn’t that just yummy?! This one notion lets me hold as much power as I’d like without contradiction, because it’s also generous toward others and forgiving when needed (without diminishing my own power)—even to my frienemies. Now that’s one strong lady and I love her.
- She’s clear: Clarity is absolutely vital in my knowing how/when/where to use my power—and where not to. When I don’t have clarity, my first priority in exercising my power is to get clear. Wallowing in doubt, being a victim, or complaining non-stop are allowable for only short bursts of time that I call venting. They are to let off steam, not to live in. And I’ve built a community around me who lets me know when I’m overstaying in any of these areas so that I can leave them behind and find clarity. She’s a good friend to my power so I invite her over often.
- She’s wild: I love this one almost as much as I do the magnanimous bit. Almost. My power is all things that are natural to the feminine. She’s a mother, lover, warrior, medicine woman, and goddess. She’s fierce as can be when she or her loved ones (including my business!) are under threat. Then she’s soft and caring when they aren’t doing well or something needs to be nurtured. She’s not always logical but is always tethered to what my soul longs for. She’s as comfortable in the dark as in the light. And she feels no comparison to anyone else because she is wildly herself in all things. So I pretty much let her run the show because she’s awesome!
I hope this inspires you in some way to consider your own relationship with power. It’s my deep desire that all women, and especially those running their own businesses, step into their power. In this way, we can challenge the traditional power models and create a world that is good for us, for our businesses and clients, and for our communities.
Linda believes that small business owners can step into a better version of their business when they embrace authenticity and become more fully themselves. Her 25-year marketing career has included Kimpton Hotels, Jamba Juice, and Disney helping her clients win awards and placements in publications like The Wall Street Journal and TIME Magazine, as well as on the front cover of WIRED magazine. You can visit her website here: lindabasso.com or join her FB conversation.