How We Lose Power & How To Get It Back

This piece was originally published on

As women are evolving, we are redefining what it means to be empowered in all areas of our lives. And while we have definitely come a long way in becoming aware of our individual and our collective inner glass ceilings, we still have work to do. The process of becoming self-aware is a life-long process. As we reach one pinnacle, another challenging journey comes into view. And with that new found knowledge comes a call to action – a call to transform newly discovered self-defeating patterns, disempowered behaviors, and self-imposed beliefs and limitations. As we look at our limitations in the context of our level of empowerment or more specifically, our inner glass ceiling to becoming more empowered, it can be really enlightening to look at the ways we lose power.

Like many women looking to fulfill their potential, redefine success and derive meaning and fulfillment from their lives, I am on a quest to become more empowered. I want to show up and step up so I can make a bigger difference in the world. And I want to do it on my terms in a way that feeds my soul. What I found is that when it seemed like things weren’t working or flowing, when I was stressed or distressed in some way, when I felt overwhelmed, or was experiencing challenges in relationships; I was losing power in some way. As I started to make note of the insidious ways I was losing power, I started to see similar patterns emerging with friends, colleagues and clients. With this awareness, I was able to stop losing power and the results were that I gained more personal freedom, happiness and success. And I learned to more easily navigate the challenging situations that are a part of life. By incorporating some power practices into our daily lives, we can break through our inner glass empowerment ceilings. These power practices will require discipline to change our behaviors and courage to face our fears, but the payout will be great.

So here are just a few of the many ways we lose power : 

1.       We Look Outside vs Inside

We are bombarded with a deluge of information 24/7 and this can make trusting our judgement or decision-making challenging. Ultimately, all the answers we need are inside. This is not to say that on occasion we might need the help of an expert or the feedback from a mentor.  But if you ask 5 people whether or not you should start a new business venture, you will get 5 different answers which will only add to your confusion. Enlist the services of a coach to help you find the answers within.

 Power Practice – Discover and Trust Your Inner Wisdom and Intuition

 2.       We Don’t Value Ourselves

Women get so many messages that we should be different than we are which can be part of the reason we don’t value ourselves. We also tend to greatly underrate our abilities and our talents. A lack of self-worth not only affects our self-confidence but it can affect what we charge for our products or services or what we get paid in the workplace. It can even affect how our time is valued and how we are treated in relationships.

 Power Practice – Know Your Value and Get It

 3.       We Don’t Speak Up

How often do you fail to speak up when your needs are not met, to avoid disagreement and conflict or because you fear your ideas may be rejected? To show up you must speak up. When we don’t speak up we are choosing to sit on the sidelines as opposed to taking the lead.

 Power Practice – Speak Up with Kindness, Assertiveness and Finesse

 4.       Competition vs Cooperation

Friendly competition can be useful in pushing us to do our best. But the belief that there can only be one winner is ‘lack’ mentality. And ‘lack’ mentality will only lead to bad behavior and more lack. So stop focusing on your co-workers or fellow business owners as competition. Remember the adage that a ‘rising tide lifts all boats.’

 Power Practice – Support Others and Allow Yourself to be Supported

 5.       Attached to the Outcome

When we set goals for ourselves such as becoming the CEO of a major corporation or generating a million dollars of sales in our 3rd year of business, it is definitely useful to put the time, energy and work into achieving those goals. However, if we become so attached to the achievement of those goals we will actually create a lot of fear around not achieving them. And that fear will prevent us from taking the risks that will be necessary to achieve those results.

 Power Practice – Surrender and Take Risks

 6.       Everyone Else Comes First

One of the primary ways women lose power is that we don’t put ourselves first.  Most every woman I know has difficulty with this one. But it is self-care not selfishness. Whatever we put before us is directing our life making us mere supporting players. When we can sit in the director’s chair, we gain so much in terms of well-being, freedom and success.

 Power Practice – Put Yourself First and Establish Firm Boundaries