It's a crap place to be, the back foot. Maybe your new boss is micro-managing you. Or Jeremy in the sales team is undermining your efforts and trying to take credit for your achievements, again.
Shame on you Jeremy.
Or it could be drama at home. We don't always like to talk about it but relationships can be a source of great suffering. Maybe nothing you do is right or ever good enough. And it's always "your fault." And now the constant arguing is taking its toll and whatever you're numbing yourself with, its not working.
Persistent conflict drains our power. Unless you're a narcissist, in which case it's food. But for everyone else it can leave us feeling pretty powerless in there.
You might be wondering "how the f*ck did I even get here?" After all you're a pretty well put together human being. You've always be strong minded and you're anyone's equal.
And you've come a long way. You've already overcome more than most. You had to, growing up life wasn't easy for you.
But lately being at the mercy of others and having no control, it's destroying you. And no matter what you do, you just can't seem to catch a break and get off the back foot.
And that's creating an almost palpable feeling of hopelessness.
Feeling powerless is more common than we care to admit. Expressing emotion is icky and awkward, and it still falls into the too hard basket. So we suck it up, bury it. Only eventually we hit full capacity of what we've been holding onto.
Life's becoming faster, more stressful and more challenging. We're being stretched in ways that can leave us feeling like we're sinking in quick sand.
There's really no condition more pathetic than a human being believing he or she is powerless. And I say that in the least offensive way, but we're inherently powerful beings. We have the power of co-creation and the ability to influence and shape our reality.
And when we lose sight of that, we become a shell of who we truly are.
Feeling powerless isn't just a personal problem. A lot of powerlessness happens in the workplace and when employees feel powerless they shut down. They stop giving their best. They retreat, complain, procrastinate, lose focus. The body shows up, but the heart and mind are else where.
Empowering people is like feeding them rocket fuel. Disempowering them is like turning on a tap and letting the life drain out. Nobody wins.
So how do we take back our power, and how do we lead others to do the same? Here are 3 key ways.
"The energy of the mind is the essence of life." - Aristotle
ONE: Where attention goes energy flows. Everything's energy and when we're feeling powerless it's because we're giving away energy through our focus. Jeremy may well be plotting your demise, but the more you focus on him the more power you're giving the situation.
You're feeding it; it's growing through your attention.
Here's what you need to do: stop giving a sh*t about Jeremy. You can't change him, for now. Decide to shift your focus away from what you can't control and back to what you can.
Where do you feel more powerful?
What can you hone in on that expands your power?
Focus on your wins. If Jeremy's trying to steal your thunder it's likely you've got more talent in your little pinky. Bring your attention back to your work, back to where you can shine.
Discipline your mind to focus on what you CHOOSE because the energy of your focus is determining your experience.
Go Deeper and Look for a Pattern: Is Jeremy part of a bigger picture? Do you have a pattern of feeling sabotaged or undermined by others? If the answer's yes, you're being shown a deeper level issue that needs addressed. Where there's a pattern, there's always a root cause. You need to find it.
"I cured with the power that came through me." - Black Elk
TWO: Use Your Body To Change Your State. I'm guessing there was a time in your life you felt amazing, strong, on top of the world. You'd hit a big goal, everything was in sync and you were strutting your stuff.
If you close your eyes and get still you'll notice just how different your body looked then compared to when you're getting berated by your boss - who btw may very well be a narcissist.
Here's what you need to do: the key is to change your body to emulate the way you hold yourself when you're feeling powerful as a pose to powerless. If you can keep recreating the same physiology that happens when you feel strong, you'll awaken your power and start to feel stronger.
You'll also discover that you can take control of your feeling states whenever you feel your power slipping. Let your boss rant, it's his own inner demons he's fighting, but you'll be standing tall when he does.
THREE: Find Your Fearless Self. You've lost your mojo. If you look back you'll see it's been happening for a while now. Maybe you can even pinpoint where it all began. The real key to getting off the back foot is to make change happen from the inside out.
When we feel powerless it's often because we're avoiding something in ourselves that's manifesting in our reality. We're staying safe in this powerless position, because a part of us fears stepping up. And whilst we consciously hate the scenario we find ourselves in, its familiar to the subconscious.
There's a pay off for us staying trapped.
Here's what you need to do: Ask yourself "what am I really avoiding?" "What am I not doing, putting off, shying away from that's keeping me stuck in this situation where I feel powerless?"
Give your mind a moment off, and just let your soul speak. Get still and the answer will come through your body and rise to the surface like a bubble.
The soul is always pushing for growth that the human being, through fear, resists. Feeling powerless is a signal that something's out of alignment inside. You're not being true to who you are. You're putting up with situations through fear. So, what is it you really want?
And what's really stopping you getting it?
Lack of clarity, boundaries, and operating from fear can lead us into situations that mirror back our own internal chaos and fear. If someone's rail-roading over us at home or at work, and we can see a pattern, we're the common denominator.
And what's presenting in our life is actually the catalyst that's pushing us for inner change.
If we follow the feeling of powerless back we'll find an original point where it all began. And if we're courageous enough to deep dive and get to know the internal workings of our hearts and minds, we'll nail the fear and crush the pattern once and for all.
"The way to have power is to take it." - Boss Tweed
We're never powerless. But we do give away our power according to what we're believing, avoiding and where our focus lies.
Power struggles typically happen through fear. It's important to realise that when someone's exerting power over us it's because they themselves feel insecure and need the illusion of control to feel ok. It's never personal, it's not our fault, but it is our responsibility to take control of our own power and take it back.
Feeling powerless shows us that we've drifted from our truest nature, because regardless of what we believe, at our core we are powerful beings. And if we look to those who've mastered their inner power we can see exactly what's possible.
We were created the same. You have the same untapped resources of power within you and you've got two feet. So get off the back one, and take back your power.
Dawn Lee is a Personal, Professional and Spiritual Intelligence coach™ with a passion for melding psychology and spirituality. Dawn's expertise is leading others out of crisis and into clarity to find happiness, love and connection, inside out. Her mission is to help shine a light of awareness in the world and connect others back to their truest, more fearless selves.