I was recently facing a deadline for a client, but I wasn’t worried – I’d gotten a surge of energy that was pushing me quickly through the work. All of a sudden, the lights in the room flickered, then the lights went out completely!
As I gasped aloud, I found myself annoyed for several reasons: I hadn’t completed my work and was now going to miss my deadline. Not only was my electrical power out, but so was my internal power. A few minutes before, I’d had a burst of energy that propelled me through the work but, in a split second, I felt helpless.
Many successful, high performing businesswomen and leaders experience this surge of energy and subsequent loss of personal power. We tend to have difficulty re-igniting it after it goes out and, because we are so successful in our careers and aren’t used to power outages, we find ourselves losing ground in other areas of life as well, like being a great mom, loyal friend, exceptional partner/wife, or being effective with community activities.
There are many possible reasons for a power outage or an uneven power flow when the lights go out. When it comes to strong businesswomen like us, there are a few causes of a power outage or a loss of personal power that can be identified and caught quickly to avoid a total blackout.
1. Collaborate, Don’t Dictate
We’ve made it in our careers by staying focused, making tough decisions, and taking charge to make things happen. The daily grind demands that we are deliberate, strategic, and tactical; however, in personal relationships, our friend, partner, or spouse is not interested in our infinite wisdom for deciding what they want, need or desire and they certainly don’t live by our schedule. They are more interested in a collective interaction to resolve issues, challenges, and obstacles. We are not going to succeed in our relationships using the single focused tactical skill set. Dictating a solution to a partner is bound to go down like a ton of bricks!
Relationships require collaboration to be successful and hearing the other person’s point of view is necessary for it to work. Being too focused can limit our ability to learn from the wisdom of the collective. No successful person has ever done it completely alone. Key indicators that a power outage is around the corner are when we start having these thoughts: •I have to do it myself •No one is going to do it like me •I have to be involved/micromanage every detail of everything
2. The Power Struggle is Real
An electrical surge is caused by an uneven power flow. When we are in a position of power, if we have not mastered letting go of control, conflict is bound to arise and the fight for power begins. In personal relationships, there needs to be an even flow of give and take – where each party feels heard and validated for their thoughts, opinions and feelings – which means, letting go of control. Another covert way control may take form is through retreating and hiding. We won’t give the other person what he or she wants until we are ready or have figured it out – no-one can make a move until we do.
In business, there’s little room for growth of the company if we constantly seek to control everything. Control is often masked by justifications such as: “I’m the CEO,” or “I don’t trust anyone else to do it.” The power struggle can be external or internal. We might struggle externally with partners or employees by standing our ground and refusing to yield our position. Or we might struggle internally by giving in while stewing within about being right. The power outage is near when we are fighting to keep control!
3. You Don’t Need to Sacrifice Yourself for Others
Often, when we struggle with issues of power, we end up giving in. If we find ourselves in a situation we feel just can’t be won, we simply fold, and let things happen without any input. When that happens, we’ve sacrificed ourselves for those around us and frustration and unhappiness begin to set in. Our opinion, thoughts, and feelings are also valid and they, too, must be considered. The key is inclusion of all parties – including ourselves.
The reason for a power outage in our lives is caused by our own doing. Take a look the next time you find yourself powerless. It may just be one of these three things in play.
Find your way to a coach who can aid in your moving back to your rightful power seat. After all, you’ve become a success in your career, why not be successful in other areas of your life?