Our journey in life is to learn to become ever more empowered, and to do this when the world offers us multiple temptations, seductions and distractions, or when we are betrayed, humiliated and shamed.

In my annual review I have realised that my work is about supporting people and teams to manage their person power.  How do we build a base of personal power that is rarely able to be diminished no matter what the circumstances? This is where my work with people really counts. It involves and includes integrity, clarity, truth, insight, foresight, advanced listening and choosing intelligence (yes there is an intelligence to make wise choices), and many other things. Like radical self honesty. You know, the raw, real, hard stuff.

Pretty much anyone I know wants it…the ability to stay in their own power when their personal brand of devil comes a courtin’. And we all have our personal brand of devil.

I read a great quote yesterday…about being the kind of woman (or man) that when my feet hits the floor in the morning the devil says..”Oh crap, she is UP!”

So, lets jump into the four faces of power.

Power over

This is the ego run rampant. Our desire to be better than, to have superiority, to keep others small so we can feed our need to be BIG. Its ugly, nasty and the world is full of this. More and bigger guns/weapons/smarts/houses/cars/toys/things…..This type of power comes from pride, greed, hunger, vengeance (I want to hurt you because you hurt me and I will do that by showing you how much better I am than you…)
It can also be systems run rampant. (Systems designed by ego’s run rampant) The power over us as a collective in our money and value system, for example. Or our health care system. Our political system…education system…they are pretty much all in there today..
Power over can be overt, or covert. When we really dive deep into our psyche’s we all have some degree of hunger for power over. For example…when did you feel superior to anyone? Specific example..These things don’t happen to me. They happen to other people, but not me. (Illness, accidents, natural disasters…) Oh really, and those other people are what…not as good as you???
I have a very high power over detector. Often why people pay me. They know they can’t get away with their BS.

There are some instances where power over is a positive thing when handled with skill and care. A teacher needs to have power over a class room. Not to be a tyrant, but to ensure a bunch of rowdy 6 year olds do not run rough shod over her and the other children. This kind of power over comes from both power in and power with.

Power with

This is the principle of synergy. 1 +1 = anything greater than 2. Or, when two or more people come together in the right environment, the sum of the parts is always much greater than what one person has to offer as a solo. In truth nothing ever happens in solo, so this is a principle that we would all be wise to embrace.
If your relationships have negative synergy, then you need to seriously consider its viability. (Negative synergy means that 1 + 1 = anything less than 2.)
I play in this field with teams and clients in relationship with intimate/business partners…keeping everyone honest, real. It is quite extraordinary when power with becomes evident.

Power from within

This is the juicy stuff. When you are deeply seated in your own power. Your sovereignty, integrity, authorship. It is not a permanent state, just an FYI. Why? Because we are designed to evolve and grow, and as we do, how we manage power also evolves. Plus things happen that we do not expect, and our centre is thrown off. This is the deal…the reason why we want to be in partnership with people who can whiff from across the Universe when your power base has been eroded and will kick you back to consciousness lickety split.
Power from within is all about congruence…when head and heart and being are in alignment. To get to THIS place requires a level of consciousness that is rare. Many people state they want this kind of personal power, but in truth, they don’t. They have too much invested in staying in their woundedness. Or they are not willing to do the kind of work it requires to move in this direction.

Power as

‘Power as’ is an external force that influences us. The power of an archetype or a myth for example. The archetype of the mother, the hero, the warrior has ‘power as’ an archetype.
We give people ‘power as’. The policeman, the banker, the politician. In our times, the celebrity has ‘power as’. Or specific people like the President, Gandhi. There is also the ‘power as’ of God’s, deities, or even superstitions. Black cats, ladders.
Movements or institutions may have ‘power as’. Banks used to have ‘power as’, but that is eroding. The collective mind has ‘power as’. Mother nature takes our breath away frequently in her ‘power as’…
Often what we have given “power as” is unconscious to us. Many of us are unaware of our deep superstitions. We are under the influence of ‘power as’ archetypes without knowing it. Ruled by the victim, the child, the saboteur..wondering how we found ourselves in this same spot yet again.
We can also develop our ‘power as’. There is a caveat. To be real in our intention to have ‘power as’ and not power over. George Cluney has power as. I don’t know him (open to an intro..of course), but I suspect that he uses his ‘power as’ to do good things in the world. He can and will open doors. Are they the right ones for the right reason?

The more congruent you are, the more empowered you are, the more likely you will have ‘power as’.


This article was inspired by an article written by Tom Atlee.

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