Posted 8 years ago
Confidence versus fear. Power versus powerlessness. Unless you’re a comic book super hero, you’re never entirely free from the emotions and struggles associated with total self-acceptance in business or personal life. In today’s blog entry on Platinum Rules for Success, behavioral analyst and V.P. of Education at the Robert S Hartman Institute, Pam Brooks offers some practical tips for taking back the power to be yourself.
Take Back the Power to Be Yourself
Have you ever envied that person who walks into a room and seems to have mastered the art of confidence? You know the one. They seem to be able to think on his or her feet, express their opinion with confidence no matter who else is there, and people accept it? People tend to gravitate towards them as if by being around them some of that confidence might rub off. They are not the ones that overpower others, or dictate their ideas, but have that ability to make those around them feel comfortable and valuable as well. Don’t you want that power for yourself? To be yourself?
In my work with people, executive teams, and even collegiate athletic teams, I find the dynamic of personal power to be an interesting force that plays into a person’s confidence, presence and enjoyment in what they do. What would you give to master this art of personal power and confidence? In Presence, her recent bestseller, Amy Cuddy notes that “many people go around feeling like they do not deserve to be doing what they are doing and feel that at some point someone will discover that they are a fake or an imposter.” I suffered from this for years myself. Why is it that we torture ourselves so and destroy our enjoyment for what we do?
I have assessed hundreds of people and find it fascinating that our old primal brain is still hard at work. Different things can trigger the fear response in different people. For some, it is being rejected by their peers. For others, it is a loss of control or criticism from others. Whatever the trigger point, the end result is the same: Anxiety and loss of personal power, because the critical gremlin in our mind takes over. The interesting flip side of this fear is that if we learn to harness it and feel more comfortable with it, it can become a great catalyst for self-improvement.
One of the first things I help people understand is that they are their own worst enemy. While fear is the driver of their need to improve, it is also the driver of their lack of enjoyment. Research on the brain is beginning to unravel fascinating secrets like the fact that the when we isolate ourselves or feel alone because of our fear of rejection, this registers in the same area of our brain as when we stub our toe. Who wants to stub their toe every time they walk into a room? No wonder most of us would rather hide! However, this type of fear also becomes an inhibitor of our ability to think clearly and leaves us powerless. We also tend to isolate ourselves more robbing us of even more personal power.
So how do we counter it? Embrace fear as competitive nervousness! Attack the negative thoughts before they take over! Find a person you feel comfortable with and share your debilitating thoughts out loud and have them help you come up with counter statements you can use! You can also use power stances as Amy Cuddy has discovered in her presence research, which will help you feel stronger and more powerful until you can believe in your own personal power from the inside out.
It is also important to work on developing the tools and resources we need that help us feel more in control of our environment. As a former athlete I learned to practice specific skills over and over and over until I mastered them and they became second nature to me. Then I knew I could call on that skill at any time, thus giving me a greater sense of control and confidence. However, the counter to this was that if there was a skill I had not felt like I mastered, that weakness being exposed could derail my performance and cause me to freeze, unless I took on the challenge of mastering it.
I would encourage anyone who feels powerless at times to embrace that feeling! Discover what specifically is making you think you are powerless. Then take the nervousness and anxious feeling to drive you to practice, find support from others who believe in you to master the gremlins in your head and to keep pressing on, until you gain the power over what has held you back for so long. Everyone feels powerless at times, we all had to start somewhere. The first time you master a fear you will begin to gain confidence. That confidence will help you gain even more confidence as you learn to conquer other fears.
Assessments can give you a better understanding of yourself. They can also help you pinpoint the source of your fears and potential limitations, and help you find a clear path to counter them. I have even used assessment to help people tap into their passions and ideal work environment. They can also help the person gain a voice to connect better with those around them and get the support they need to take them to the next level of performance. Take back the power to be yourself by embracing your passions, facing your fears, connecting with others, and learning more about yourself!
Pamela Brooks founded Cornerstone Consulting over ten years ago, out of her passion for understanding human performance and human performance potential. Her interest in performance started many years earlier as a collegiate athlete and collegiate advisor. She wanted to understand what drives people to succeed and then help them tap their strengths and confront personal obstacles so they could increase their potential for success
Pam is also the Vice President of Education at the Robert S Hartman Institute, where she coordinates their efforts on a global level. Her directive is to increase both the Educational and Research efforts of the Institute and plans on launching new directives to increase the application and teaching of Robert Hartman’s work in Value Judgment, ethics, leadership, World Peace, and the many other applications of Axiology.
Pam was also a member of the team that developed the Assessments 24×7 JUDGMENT Series assessment reports based on Robert S. Hartman’s formal axiology. The goal of that effort was to produce the premier HVP product available anywhere in the world.