I had a conversation recently with a long-time friend and former colleague who wanted to understand how I was able to make the life changes that I did. He thought it was very inspiring and not something that many people would do.
I thought about our conversation for some time after we hung up. While making the decision to quit my “day job” and move to Guatemala was not the easiest decision to make, I hadn’t considered that it would be seen as courageous or inspiring. Sure, it may take some trust and a leap of faith, but courageous and inspiring? What is courageous about following your heart?
I remembered a quote from Nelson Mandela:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
This could be the reason why so many people don’t follow their heart. We are afraid of our own personal power and what it requires. It is far easier to give our power away to another person or a situation than it is to be fully responsible for our lives – our actions, our mistakes, our successes and failures, our words and our interactions with others. Claiming and living in our individual personal power requires complete accountability to ourselves. We cannot blame our family and friends, our employer, the government, our religion or race or gender or sexual orientation for a less-than-ideal life that doesn’t bring us joy.
In my opinion, power is misunderstood in our world today. Many people think power means having a lot of money or being stronger than someone else or being able to boss a bunch of people around. I don’t define those things as power. As an example, think of a dictator. Some people would say that a dictator is powerful. I would disagree. Dictators are not connected to their own personal power. Instead, they increase their perception of their own personal power by forcibly removing personal power from other people through threats, abuse and domination – all designed to wear down people to comply while making themselves (the dictator) appear stronger and more powerful. This is not power. This is controlling and limiting other peoples’ power.
When we step fully into our own personal power we are stepping into our connection with our soul, Source and love. We see that we are limitless in our power and that there is more than enough power to go around for everyone. When we tap into our personal power we actually move away from ego, which has an inflated and inaccurate sense of where true power comes from. We do not look to take power away from others because we recognize the inherent strength in each other when we are filled with our own power.
From our place of personal power, we are then free to make the decisions – or not make them – that help us align more with our life purpose. We become a beacon for others who are looking to tap into their own personal power, and then can serve as a guide to help them find their own power and live joyfully with it, without our own personal judgments, expectations, or point-of-view getting in the way. We let the other person define what brings him or her joy and best aligns with their life purpose.
What is preventing you from stepping fully into your personal power? How can you move past that?