What Is Power To You
How do we redefine power?
Last month, I was honored to give a talk at GLS and I spoke about some different parts of my book. I wanted to share a part of my speech. If you want to dive deeper into my book be sure you get yourself a copy of Take Back Your Power.
Who do you associate with when you think of the word POWER? Maybe you think of a political leader, a Hollywood executive, or the CEO of a multinational corporation. Maybe you think of a celebrity—an actor, an athlete, a rock star. You probably think of someone in a position of authority and with charisma, whose voice carries weight and who has the ability to move mountains.
Do you know who I’m willing to bet you don’t think of? Yourself. Rarely do I speak to someone who says “I have power”.
When was the last time you thought of yourself as powerful?
We have an uncomfortable relationship with power. We see it in others, but we rarely ever associate it with ourselves. That's because we feel like we shouldn't want it. We're embarrassed to seek it out, and we'll use whatever euphemisms we can think of before we actually admit to anyone, "I want to have power." We think that makes us greedy, or narcissistic, so we let it be this elephant in the room that we never really talk about.
So, let's destigmatize it and talk about it now.
What is power?
Its definition is simple: "the ability to influence the events and people around you." That's it. Completely neutral. Yet, somehow, we've allowed it to become taboo. We fear it because we feel like we don't deserve it like it's something that's meant for only a select few. But it’s the infatuation with power, and the misuse of power, that we should fear. Not power itself.
This is a common misconception and I once thought the same thing.
Chart your own course
Back in 2020, an email showed up in my inbox asking me to interview for a CEO role at a public company. I laughed. Me? A CEO of a multi-billion dollar company?
I thought it was so funny, that I took a screenshot and sent it to a chat with my husband, sister, and brother-in-law. We had a good laugh. I am not CEO material, I said to myself. I didn't have the experience; I'd never run a company. And I definitely am not what a CEO looks like.
I always imagined a CEO to be someone I definitely was not. And the statistics bear that out. The typical American CEO is male, white, and 60 years old. Someone who sits in a suit in a corner office and enjoys an afternoon martini. Someone with a deep voice that carries the full weight of his authority. You know, your typical Hollywood stereotype.
I responded to the email, mostly out of curiosity (and more than a little suspicious that someone, somewhere, had made a huge mistake). Just when I was starting to think it really had been a mistake, I got a response inviting me to come to speak with the Managing Director of the search firm. It slowly began to dawn on me that they were serious. I figured there was no harm in seeing how it played out, but I was still skeptical.
I found myself having dinner with Jim Citrin, a well-respected Silicon Valley executive recruiter, to discuss the opportunity. I remember asking him, "Why me?"
He replied, "Why not you?"
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