The Ten Secrets to Claiming Your Inner Power

The Ten Secrets to Claiming Your Inner Power

As I’ve said before, we have known what good leadership looks like for over 100 years but people don’t practice it. Why? One reason may be to do with poor self-leadership, or what might also be called, lack of character. 

Leaders – start claiming your inner power

So here are a number of qualities which I think support self-leadership and help you claim your inner power.  All of these qualities can be developed. Let me know if you would like to add to the list! I’ll explore each practice in more detail in a different post each week.

The first one is ‘confidence’. Lack of confidence is learned and can be unlearned. Confidence is vital for responsible leadership because responsible leaders need confidence to believe that their values are worth fighting for and that what they are saying and doing is valuable.  

The second quality ‘conscious self-awareness’. This means being tuned into your body and emotions and facing into difficult emotions in order to learn and grow.  

The third quality is ‘conviction’. This is about finding your purpose and connecting to it at a bodily level through your gut.

Fourth is ‘courage’. This is the ability to stand against the crowd and challenge the status quo. Lots of failures in leadership derive from cowardice.

Fifth: ‘Self-compassion’ allows you to take the journey into responsible leadership. We are all too hard on ourselves. We are human. When we learn to love and be compassionate to ourselves we can spread compassion to others.

Sixth is ‘compassion’ for others. We are all just human beings navigating the complexity of existence. Learning not to judge but to feel empathy is so important to responsible leadership.

Seventh is ‘curiosity’. This is the ability to learn. We are all subject to motivated sensemaking which means making sense of the world in a way that makes us feel good rather than in a way that honours truth. The first step is to know your defence mechanisms which stop you from learning. I have included a list of defence mechanisms below.

Eighth is ‘hope’. This is really important particularly today and amongst the young.

Ninth is ‘boundaries’. Learning to say ‘no’ and not getting caught up in somebody else’s agenda. 

Tenth is ‘modesty’. This is about addressing the fact that when we get power our testosterone goes up and our oxytocin (the love hormone) goes down. We can then fall prey to the dark triangle of hubris, narcissism and psychopathy.

So these are some of the elements of self-leadership or character and are key to claiming your inner power. We are all human and we all fall short in all of these areas. However, they can be learned. So which ones are you good at and which one would you like to develop further?

Guide to Common Defence Mechanisms

We all have defences. Defences are clusters of thoughts, feelings, sensations and behaviours which block out thoughts or emotions we feel we cannot handle. The defences developed when we were young children and most people are not aware that they have them. 

However, everyone has defence mechanisms. The best way of handling them is firstly, to identify which ones we use.  The following list represents the most common defences. Read this then decide which ones you use most frequently. Notice when you use them and then delve into the learning you are trying to avoid.

  1. Denial Refusing to perceive or face unpleasant realities.  Denying that unfavourable situations/facts exist.
  2. Aggression Discharging pent up feelings – usually hostility or anger – on to other, often less threatening individuals, e.g. if your boss shouts at you, you come home and kick the dog/shout at your partner.
  3. Blaming Refusing to take responsibility for one’s actions by claiming that the responsibility lies with others.
  4. Flippancy Being flippant and facetious. Using humour to deflect criticism. 
  5. Self Censorship Absorbing the values, standards and beliefs imposed by others.  Suppressing doubts about their ideas or beliefs and thinking to yourself: “I’m sure they are right and I’m not.”
  6. Rationalisation Keeping to rational explanations and denying the emotional content of the situation. E.g. if you don’t get offered a job you applied for, you say to yourself: “I never wanted the job anyway!”
  7. Withdrawal Going into your shell.  Reducing involvement and withdrawing in order to protect oneself from hurt. 
  8. Playing Victim Not taking any responsibility for anything that happens to you.  Seeing yourself as a victim of circumstance and helpless to respond.
  9. Illusion of Invulnerability.  Exaggerated belief in one’s abilities.  Believing that nothing could  go wrong or that you could never make a mistake.  Belief that you are always right.  Shutting other opinions down.
  10. Cynicism Channelling one’s anger, bitterness or disappointment into overly negative assessments of the situation or people around you. “I’ll never influence my partner, she’ll never listen and she’ll never change”.
  11. Stereotyping Classifying people in crude ways that deny their individuality.  Blaming these groups for problems as a way of denying personal responsibility.
  12. Projection Accusing others of characteristics that you have but which you do not like, e.g. you may like to gossip about others, so you accuse others of gossiping 
  13. Harmonizing Suppressing conflict by soothing people’s feelings; asserting that people’s interests are in complete accordance. 
  14. Confirmation Bias. Interpreting everything that happens as a confirmation of what you already believe, e.g. you use one politician’s unethical behaviour as proof of your belief that all politicians are corrupt.
  15. Regression Becoming child-like in one’s behaviour e.g. becomes clingy, dependent, avoids responsibility, wants constant support.
  16. Repression the unconscious blocking of unacceptable thoughts, feelings and impulses. Done unconsciously, so people have very little control over it.
  17. Introjection Internalizing the ideas or voices of other authority figures e.g. a dad tells his son “boys don’t cry” and the son absorbs this into his way of thinking.
  18. Intellectualization  Overemphasising thinking at the expense of emotions e.g. when given a terminal medical diagnosis, the person focuses on the details of medical procedures rather than expressing their sadness and grief.

About the Author: Karen Blakeley

Karen Blakeley

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